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How to export video fast from FCP 7 for roughcut or final product

posted 27 Mar 2012, 10:45 by Ben Edwards   [ updated 27 Mar 2012, 10:47 ]
OK, this may be a bit late in the day as FCP 7 is on its way out but I recently did a conference where I had to export multiple videos for showing in the evening.  I have also been very frustrated that is it not possible to export a roughcut quickly. 

The answer is to export a reference file and use MPEG Streamclips to do the encoding.  A reference file is a small quicktime file (.mov) which simply points to the original media without having to render anything, it is generally quite small. As it is pointing to the media files can only be used on the computer it was created on.  MPEG Streamclips is an excellent piece of free software that can encode video quickly.  It can Q up a number of files in a 'batch' and even process multiple files simultaneously.  Below I will go over the steps necessary.

To create a reference movie.
  1. Load up the sequence you want to export and mark In and Out points.
  2. Select file->Export->Quicktime Movie... (or simply type CMD+E).
  3. in the window  that comes up make sure 'Make Movie Self-Contained' is not selected and click on OK.
  4. You will then select where you want to put the file, creating it will take between a few seconds to a few minutes depending on the length of your video.

Encode the video using MPEG Streemclips (single files at once)

  1. Downloading and installing MPEG Streamclips is easy, just go to http://www.squared5.com and install the program.
  2. Once installed run MPEG Screanclips and drag the file created above into the main window.
  3. To export file select File->'Export to MPEG-4...' (or 'Export to  AVI...' or whatever option you want, MPEG-4 is a good format to use, AVI will work on older computers).
  4. You will get a window pop up, the defaults are generally good. If you want to create small high quality files you may want to use the 'Limit to Data-rate' option.  For HD-720 2000 is a good data-rate, for HD-1080 3000 is what you should use (if you are using AVI not MPEG-4 add 50% to the data-rate).
  5. Click on 'Make MP4' (or AVI) and select file.
  6. It will encode files significantly quicker than FCP 7 and you will probably be able to continue editing (depending on how powerful your computer is).

Encode the video using MPEG Streemclips (multiple at once)

  1. Downloading and installing MPEG Streamclips is easy, just go to http://www.squared5.com and install the program.
  2. Once installed run MPEG Streamclips and select List->'Batch List' (or CMD+B) to get the batch list window.
  3. Click on 'Add Files...' and select the files you wish to compress (if you have all the reference movies in the same folder you can easily select them all.
  4. Click on the 'To Batch' button to add files to list.
  5. You will get a pop up to select what format to encode to.
  6. Select 'Export to MPEG-4...' (or 'Export to  AVI...' or whatever option you want, MPEG-4 is a good format to use, AVI will work on older computers).
  7. Click on OK.
  8. Select folder you wish to put the output files (generally it is a good idea to use a different file from the reference movies'.
  9. Click on Select button.
  10. You will get a window pop up, the defaults are generally good. If you want to create small high quality files you may want to use the 'Limit to Data-rate' option.  For HD-720 2000 is a good data-rate, for HD-1080 3000 is what you should use (if you are using AVI not MPEG-4 add 50% to the data-rate).
  11. Click on 'To Batch' button and Q file.  The files will be added to the Batch Q.
  12. To start processing click on Go button.
  13. There is a drop down that 'Simultaneous Tasks' which allows you to select how many to process at once.  On a modern laptop you should be able to do 2/3.  Experiment, watch the CPU usage in 'Activity Monitor' and as you add tasks both should go up until you reach 100% CPU or the maximum disk throughput.
  14. It will encode files significantly quicker than FCP 7 and you may be able to continue editing (depending on how powerful your computer is).
Hopefully this is useful, any questions just ask,
Ben
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