How do I export a high quality movie from Final Cut Pro (or other apps)?

How do I export a high quality movie from Final Cut Pro 7 or FCP X?

Click which program you’re using.

FCP X Logo


FCP7 Logo



Sharing is caring

In Final Cut Pro X, exporting is called sharing. There are two ways to get to the share function:

Either go to File > Share or click the Share button:

File > Share

FCP X File Share

Click the Share button

FCP X Share button

Even though they look a little different, your options are identical. Here are the two methods we recommend to get the highest quality video:

1. Share Master File

We recommend exporting a Master File for every project you do. This will give you the highest quality file possible.

FCP X Master File
FCP X master file menu

Why would you want a Master File?
The Master File serves as a mezzanine file, which is used to archive your project in the highest possible quality. This way, you can use encoding tools like DV Kitchen to transcode your mezzanine file to any current or future format.

Under “Settings,” check these:

Format: Video and Audio
Video Codec: Source
This will export a file using the same audio and video settings as the source footage, ensuring it’s the highest quality. In the case of the video in the screenshot, it’s Apple ProRes 422, but depending on what camera you used, the source footage may be a different codec.

FCP X Same as source

Click “Next” and save

FCP X Next Save

2. Share to the web

You can upload your files directly to Vimeo, YouTube, or Facebook using the Share function.

Select the web destination

FCP X Vimeo
FCP X vimeo

YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook

YouTube has slightly different settings options than Vimeo and Facebook, which are noted in the settings instructions. Other than that, they’re identical.

Sign in

Once you sign in, FCP X will post your video directly to YouTube, Facebook, or Vimeo if you are connected to the internet.
FCP X youtube sign in

Under Settings, choose these:

Resolution: HD 720p
YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook will allow you to post HD 1080p videos, but most people do not have fast enough internet to stream 1080p, especially if they’re watching on mobile devices using data plans, so HD 720p is a happy medium.

Compression: Better quality
Remember that YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook will compress your video again, so you ALWAYS want your Compression setting to be Better quality.

Viewable by: “Private” or “Unlisted” for YouTube, “Only Me” for Vimeo or Facebook
By keeping your video private, you can watch the video first and make sure it looks great before sending it out into the world.

FCP X youtube settings

Once you’re satisfied with the quality of your video, you can change your viewing and privacy settings following these instructions:

1. Go to your Video Manager
2. Find the video you’d like to change, then click the Edit button
3. In the “Privacy Settings” drop-down menu, select Public, Unlisted, or, Private
4. Click Save changes
1. Go to your photo albums and click Videos
2. Click the video you want to adjust
3. Click the audience selector in the top right
4. Choose an audience for your video

1. Go to your video on Vimeo and click Settings below the video player
2. Go to the Privacy tab
3. Make changes and press Save

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In Final Cut Pro 7, there are three ways to export a high quality movie.

METHOD #1. Reference movie

If you want to export a temporary movie as quickly as possible, export a reference movie.

1. File > Export > Quicktime Movie

2. UNcheck “Make Self-Contained”


  • Fastest export
  • The file size is small – it only contains audio and pointers to your video files and render files, no actual video


  • The exported file is fragile, and not portable. If any of the referenced video files (including render files) are moved, renamed or deleted, or if the reference movie is moved to a different computer, the reference movie is broken and will not open. This means you should use the reference movie right away, for example, to import into DV Kitchen to publish on the web.
  • This method is definitely useless as an archival movie to save for future use.
  • This method exports in the format of your sequence. If your sequence is in a low quality codec, like DV or HDV format, the quality of text, graphics and animations will be bad, so use another method.

Questions? Ask in the Final Cut 7 forum.

METHOD #2. Native format movie

If you want an exported movie that is permanent and self-contained, export a native format movie. (Native means, in the native codec of your sequence.)

1. File > Export > Quicktime Movie

2. Make sure “Make Self-Contained” is checked


  • If you’ve rendered your sequence, this is faster than options below
  • If your sequence is in a high quality format, like Pro Res, or Uncompressed, this export method will result in a high quality movie you can archive, and encode to many different formats later depending on what you need.


  • This method exports in the format of your sequence. If your sequence is in a low quality codec, like DV or HDV format, the quality of text, graphics and animations will be bad, so use another method.

METHOD #3. web-friendly MP4

This method will export a high quality, very compatible movie that will play on most any screen- desktop, mobile, smart TV, OTT box, etc.

Here are the steps:


In Final Cut Pro, go to File > Export Using Quicktime Conversion

In iMovie, go to Share > Export Using Quicktime

With other apps, look for something called “Export Quicktime Movie” or similar


Choose ”Movie to MPEG-4” from the “Export” menu


Screenshot 2014-07-21 18.48.59 copy


Click the “Options” button:

Screenshot 2014-07-21 18.48.59


Set the video options like this to export a 720p movie at about 1000 kbps (for video). (Obviously, if you want to export a different resolution, choose it here. Here’s some info on choosing a bitrate.

Screenshot 2014-07-21 19.13.11


Click the “Video Options…” button, and set it up like this:

Screenshot 2014-07-21 18.50.20

(“Baseline” means the movie will play on older Android devices. If you don’t care, set it to “Main” and get a little better quality.)



Click “Audio”, and set it up like this: (Choose 128 kbps for voice only, 256 kbps for high quality audio)

Screenshot 2014-07-21 18.50.50

That’s it!

Click OK and OK and your movie will start encoding and exporting. Unfortunately you will have to set this up each time, as there is no way to save a preset.

While your movie is exporting, check out the free 20 day trial of DV Kitchen!


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  1. Jake Kilgore 17 years ago

    Well, that makes since, however, would it not be super large, like if you where running a 30 minute film it would be easy 7 GB so, that will not really work for the web….

    • Josh Mellicker 11 years ago

      Once you’ve exported using this method, you can encode into any format with the best possible results.

      • Jay Stein 11 years ago

        Hi Josh,

        I’m new so, I hope I’m posting in the right area.

        Can you help us out?

        We made an independent movie about homelessness. A full feature. Running time with credits is 1 hour and 52 minutes.

        We built an ENCORE file from a QT MASTER (895 gigs) which was originally exported from a FCP MASTER.

        In the ENCORE “BUILD” there are white specks and black specks/artifacts, particularly where there is a higher level of bright light. i.e. when a headlight shines on someone’s face.

        These issues appear in the exact same spots every time. We burned a Blu-ray disc and they appear in the exact same spots as well. So I don;t think the issue is related to the cables or TV (because it is in the ENCORE BUILD as well)

        NOTE: 4 weeks ago, we had previously performed the exact same process, using ENCORE, with the same Blu-Ray burner and there were NO issues whatsoever. Since then we have added about 2 minutes of footage (including a 10 second green screened sequence) to the master FCP MASTER, which looks great (no artifacts) then exported to a QT Master, which also looks great (no artifacts), then built it on ENCORE. Now we have this issue with the specks/artifacts.

        These are the systems we used:

        MAC OS X 10.6.8 – 12 core, 8TB
        Processor: 2 x 2.66 GHz 6–core Intel Xeon
        Memory: 24 GB 1333 MHz DDR3

        ENCORE: Adobe Encore CSS Version 5.0.0

  2. Daniel Wilson 16 years ago

    I’m trying this method right now but I have a question. Are you saying to export to this uncompressed format, then take that into Compressor to make the m2v files or are you saying avoid Compressor and take the uncompressed files directly into DVDSP and let that encode the m2v files?



  3. Josh 16 years ago

    Daniel, you can do either, the quality is the same. Try both and see which you prefer.

  4. Josh 16 years ago

    I have done what you said with the exporting process within FCP, and the file is 80+GBs. When I import it into DVDSP and starting encoding the file, the video bit-rate was too high came up. I went into preferences and lowered the minimal and max size to 5mb/s and 7mb/s and it still did it. Any ideas?

    Thank you

  5. Josh 16 years ago

    The longer your video, the lower you have to go with your bitrate. Try a bitrate calculator (there are many on the web)

  6. JD 16 years ago

    Using your settings, my export from FCP went up from 45minutes to 7 hours for a 110min video.

  7. JD 16 years ago

    Turns out it eats up a lot more disk space (well, duh). I ran out space, so I can’t report back about my results.

    I will run a short test using the new settings and compare it to the old settings.

  8. larry 16 years ago

    I tried burning a disk using IDVD with the source being uncompressed Quicktime 4:2:2 8 bit… and have field image break ups. Does IDVD (consumer verison included in “I Life” package) not do uncompressed video?

  9. francisco 16 years ago

    I’m digitizing 8-bits uncompressed and encoding with compressor to mpeg2 dvd best quality 90 minutes… DVDSP4 gives me the error… I import the Uncompressed file to DVDSP4 and let it do the encoding, and still gives me the error…

    i little help would be nice! thanx!

  10. Josh 16 years ago

    What error?

  11. Daniel 16 years ago

    Thanks a lot for this tip!!!

    It´s works fine !!

  12. Edward Reyes 16 years ago

    Hi, I read your suggestion and I try it, but that’s waht happend I capture some test clips like 45 seconds, from a mini Dv panasonic camcorder usin the easy setup from FCP 5, DV-NTSC (match the sequence to that settings) and exported using the current settings method then I used you’r method, then I view the two exported clips in quick time and I was very happy with the cuality of the titles in the 8 bit format there were great. Then I make a DVD using iDVD and when I look the clips in my TV the DV look good and the 8 bit look like crap, so I re-capture the clip using the 8 bit uncompressed settings (match the sequence to that settings) and exported using the 8 bit uncompressed make another DVD in iDVD and the titles still look bad in my TV. I’m doing something wrong?

  13. exithp 16 years ago


    i’ve been trying your suggestion and i’m quite satisfied with the result.
    i used idvd after exporting my video clip in uncompressed 8-bit.
    after burning it’s all fine.

    but now my question is, i need to give the file to my boss and he will himself include the clip to a final dvd.
    when we export using quictime movie, the file is using FCP application to play it but i don’t really know if they are using FCP or Premiere. is there an export that still keeps the same quality but become a quictime file so they can use it with different players other than just FCP.
    it need to be as good quality as possible and i’m working with Dance video so there’s a lots of fast movement.

    i would really appriciate if you can help me since i’m fighting with this exporting since ever!!!

    other wise if i’m burning the dvd myself it’s just perfect and i thanks you again for the tip.

  14. billy 16 years ago

    I’m reading that it’s better to export to dvd-r 4x or lower for good results. Is this true? What’s the difference between 4x and 16x?
    Also, a very basic question (first time exporting to dvd) – does my project remain as it was in the fcp timeline even after export – that is, am I exporting a duplicate of the project or the actual project?.
    I have about 86 minutes, shot on mini dv PAL & need to create dvds for film festivals and tv braodcast. Please, explain it to me as if I were a child!!!

  15. rich 16 years ago

    I am tring to export my final project, it is a wedding so the video is 1hr.58min. and i have been tring to export as a mov or in comppression now i am working on hd formate i understand that it is a huge file etc. what is the best setting in hd to export from compressor, and when i did the project it compressed at 20 gig. i know that is to big but i did a test and tried to import into dvdspro 4 and it says incompatible file, everytime…HHHEEELLLPPP

  16. Fernando 16 years ago


    I followed the procedure. My movie is 17:41 min. long anamorphic (2:35:1). When I export uncompressed as suggested the movie gets cut off at 14:10 min. I tried opening in both FCP and Quicktime. Same result.

    Everything has been rendered. If I export using Quicktime Conversion iinstead, at HD DVCPRO 720p60 at 24fps I don’t have any probleems and the movie will get exported in its entirety.

    I have a 24 inch Intel Core Duo Mac with 1 GB RAM. 23 GB available in hard drive (after movie has been exported), using FCP 5.1.4.

    1. What happened with the remaining footage? Why is the movie getting cutoff?

    2. Also, when exported uncompressed, why is the movie not in anamorphic format?

    3. Will I get a similar result (in terms of quality) if I export using HD DVCPRO 720p60 instead of uncoompressed?

    Any suggestions will be very much appreciated.


  17. Luke Luoh 15 years ago

    Just to clarify, did you guys turn on the “High Quality” toggle (apple-J in quicktime pro, inside video track) when viewed in Quicktime? It’s normally turned off, resulting in bad image “viewing” quality. However it should still look fine once you put it into DVDSP and rendered.

    IMHO, DV’s good for 80-90% of the applications out there… while 8-bit uncompressed is only for “ABSOLUTE” pro work. Even then, if your original source was DV then you are just decompressing them, recompressing them, and then compressing again (DV -> 8-bit -> MPEG2). This is redundant, time consuming, space-hogging, and the resulting quality isn’t that much better.

    The only reason for me to use 8-bit uncompressed is if my original sources where Digital-Beta from film or something, and I’ve captured it uncompressed to begin with.

  18. Josh 15 years ago

    Only titles, graphics and animations will benefit (quite a bit, as seen above) from exporting uncompressed. DV footage won’t look any better.

  19. tj 15 years ago

    As long as you render the titles, graphics and animations in a uncompressed timeline.

    If you render them in a DV timeline quality still gets lost.
    So if you’re working DV/HDV render your fx/titles to 8 bit /10 bit SD or ProRes. Export quicktime movie uncompressed. And encode in application of choice.

  20. Randy 15 years ago

    How can you do this for Final Cut Express? When you choose to export to quicktime, it does not offer any settings options!

  21. Jermaine 15 years ago

    I’m with Randy on the FCE question. I’m having a horrible time exporting a decent copy of my game footage.

  22. Josh 15 years ago

    With FCE, you could output with QT Conversion, then choose PJPEG at 75% or better.

  23. Jason 14 years ago

    I did the png export with a 24p 16:9 project, following the directions here precisely. The titles look great but when I create a dvd in idvd using the 16:9 setting, it seems to be letterboxing it. I do not have the “preserve aspect ratio with letterbox” checked. It doesn’t seem to matter if I convert from the original fcp movie to h.264 or use the fcp movie (which is beautiful quality 16:9 and not letterboxed in QT). As soon as the dvd pops out, it will only play on the pro monitor correctly with the 4:3 setting. On the 16:9 setting, it is stretched. I have successfully made 16:9 dvd’s using the regular dv export from FCP but at the cost of my titles looking bad so I don’t want to go backwards. Any idea if there is something in the png codec that maintains the 720×480 aspect regardless of the aspect of the actual project? Is there a fix? Am I missing something? I am baffled. Any thoughts would be helpful. Thanks.

  24. Josh 14 years ago

    Did you create a 16:9 project in iDVD?

  25. Jason 14 years ago

    Yes. This is why I am baffled. Everything seems to be set up correctly but the mysterious letterboxing still occurs.

  26. Josh 14 years ago

    Hmmm… can you post your question in the forums? People who use iDVD a lot than me are there…

    Here is the link:

  27. Tom 14 years ago

    I’m currently trying to import a Qtime movie created in FCP into DVDsp. it wont allow me to import as an asset claiming unsupported format. i understand i need to convert my original film in FCP using Export-Qtime conversion- then putting the format to Mpeg2… in my format drop down menu i have no Mpeg2 option only Mpeg4. Any ideas??

  28. Josh 14 years ago

    Just export using the procedure in the article above, then let DVDSP encode your assets.

  29. Guy 14 years ago

    I performed the test using a 60i timeline with DV footage. I did a test

    1. Using export to compressor and
    2. export with PNG as you stated above.

    Then I used compressor with 90 min dvd best quality on both sources. I then created DVD using DVD Studio Pro.

    The method using PNG creates much more artifacts and interlacing issues when there is motion in the video vs export using compressor via dv. Any thoughts?


  30. Josh 14 years ago

    Both those methods will output an interlaced movie if the footage and sequence were interlaced.

    Are you saying when you export to compressor your video is getting deinterlaced?

    Do you want your video deinterlaced?

    Where are you seeing interlacing, DVD preview? On a TV?

  31. Guy 14 years ago

    Sorry Josh for the lack of clarity. The footage is DV 29.97/60i footage. It is on 29.97 ntsc timeline with DV codec.

    As far as the quality of the footage…..when the comedian (in this case) moves quickly on the stage you see much more of an “interlaced artifacts” (like more lines in the footage) vs the footage that was exporting using the DV codec. So I dont know how to answer the question of do I want it deinterlaced or not. I want the best footage. The PNG footage is not as “smooth” during motion as the DV codec. I see this issue both in the quicktime movie and when I go to DVD. I am viewing on Plasma monitor.



  32. Guy 14 years ago

    ….Using a burned dvd

  33. Josh 14 years ago

    If your DVD looks “jittery” this is probably the cause:

  34. Guy 14 years ago

    I’ll check it out. But once again I burned two copies one using PNG and one using DV codec (directly to compressor). I used the DVD 90 best quality setting in compressor for both. The DVD without using PNG worked fine. It is the PNG version that is jittery but only on rapid motion parts.


  35. Josh 14 years ago

    Because you use the word “jittery” my guess is that Compressor is reversing the fields.

  36. Guy 14 years ago

    Not a great defintion – I know. So i googled some more and came up with a way to describe it which actually came from one of your posts 🙂 –

    ” interlacing artifact called “combing” on the blue circle, because it was moving between fields. Combing is also referred to as “interlacing artifacts”, “serrated edges”, “the jaggies”, “weird horizontal lines” or “mice teeth.”

    That, above, is what I am referring to. Once again this happens where the person is moving quickly in the footage. Compressor 3.0 is not the issue. Field dominance is set to automatic, which is the same compressor setting used for the footage created file-export->using compressor…. So my point is for me, I do not get a better quality DVD using the PNG method stated above. I may try uncompressed and see if that is a problem.



    • Josh 14 years ago

      You will only get better quality using PNG on titles and graphics, not footage.

  37. Michel 14 years ago

    Hi there,

    When I’m exporting an edit from FCE with the H264 codec I Loose contrast and saturation. And checking the Internet I’m not the only one with this problem.

    Will the workflow at the beginning of this topic solve this problem and will I get the colors, saturation and contrast like I see/edit the footage in FCE?


  38. Michel 14 years ago

    I did the steps with FCE. And then used DVKitchen. But the film is looking the same as exporting directly to QT (H264). More washed out and loosing saturation. And I though that this problem would be solved with DV Kitchen.

    I’m I doing something wrong?

  39. Michel 14 years ago

    Now I see that I have to choose de X264 encode en not (ofcourse) the H264. Didn’t see that on the bottom of the menu the first time. Now it is working fine with the colrs and saturation I edited in FCE. Great.


    • Josh 14 years ago

      Great, glad to hear it.

  40. Michel 14 years ago

    I Used PNG in FCE. Is it better to use JPG >75%


    • Josh 14 years ago

      I like PNG better because it is lossless, and preserves the gamma- JPEG makes the image a little darker.

  41. Michel 14 years ago

    Now I did a test (yes its a very short film..) and in FCE I used the x264 codec directly, with the same settings as I used in DV Kitchen. And now it also looks like in FCE. So at this point it looks like there is no reason to go through DVkitchen? Or am I overlooking something?


    • Josh 14 years ago

      You can do this, but you will have to set up the same settings over and over and over every time you export. Soon you will want to throw your computer out the window, which is not good for your computer 🙂

      Also, to find the best settings, SampleLab is the only efficient way to determine the best bitrate. And without DV Kitchen, you lose all the other features, uploading, HTML page and code creation, shadowbox, Flash and WMV encoding, the bitraterate budget calculator, and so on.

      I designed DV Kitchen so that I would never have to go through these nightmares again. And now, you don’t have to, either!

  42. julia 14 years ago


    i am exporting my movie and it says that the quality is “medium.”
    will this quiktime movie look good when projected on the wall and played by a DVD player?

    • Josh 14 years ago

      If you follow the procedure above there is no quality slider. Are you sure you set compression type to “PNG”?

      • Lorenzo 13 years ago

        You’re right, there is no quality slider, but, for me as well, it shows the quality as medium and I’ve done everything like you’ve stated above. Any thoughts?

  43. doctorforward 14 years ago

    i’m experiencing exactly the same problem with my png file as Jason back on sept 3rd 2008
    i’m importing my 16:9 film into a DVDSP 16:9 project
    as i say, the symptoms are exactly the same –
    the original file is definitely 16:9
    the simulator in DVDSP shows the film as 16:9
    the end dvd is stretched horizontally when played on a tv at 16:9
    (no stretching occurs when played as 4:3, but much of the screen is not used)
    i’ve never experienced this problem before
    it has cropped up only with the use of the png file
    it is a problem i would love to resolve, as the picture quality of my films is greatly enhanced using the png format
    any ideas?

    • Josh 14 years ago

      Weird! Maybe try Animation codec?

  44. Chase 14 years ago

    This worked GREAT

    Thank you

  45. Nikki 14 years ago

    Hi, I followed the suggested method of exporting my FCP movie to PNG settings and the quality looks great. However, when I moved the file from my Mac to my work PC to view it, it wouldn’t open. The file size was almost 7 G on my Mac and when it appears on my PC the file size appears as 0 KB. Do you know why this is? Also, if I want to keep the same quality movie file, how can I get the file not to be as big without losing the quality. I could not even burn it onto a DVD without using IDVD. I dropped the PNG file in IDVD to create a menu and also to have the movie play once you inserted the DVD and it worked fine on my Mac but once again, when I tried playing the DVD on my work PC it would not play automatically. Confused in Massachusetts, help!

    • Josh 14 years ago

      There is some problem copying the file to your PC.

      To create a DVD, you must convert to MPEG2 with iDVD or another app.

      Maybe your PC cannot play DVDs.

  46. dave 14 years ago

    I am having the same problem with out of sync audio and video. and the only solution i see at the moment (other then going through the dvd studio pro [dsp] timeline to manually attempy to sync) is to export a native ntsc standard video because this is what has worked in the past.

    The problem i have is this: i have exported each chapter of a movie into its own HDV movie. sync is perfect, each is tested to make sure. compressed using compressor for SD ntsc (bitrate set for 120 minute movie) DVD. The audio and video is not synced. I have in the past for the same movie exported a NTSC SD movie via fcp, taken into compressor with no issues. Personally I am not a fan of HDV and I would easily blame the issue on this although I cannot varify this at the moment.

    And another side note… to import into dsp you need a file that will fit into the program, not a 7 gb file. It has to be the file size that will fit onto a dvd: 4.7 gbs. And to be more specific, the a/v file should most likely not be more then 4.3 gb because you need buffer space for the extra data that will be burned onto the dvd (give or take for whatever authoring files you include.

    • Josh 14 years ago

      1. Try exporting as HDV and bringing directly into DVDSP. Is that in sync? How about iDVD?

      2. How are you ascertaining whether the resulting movie is in sync?

      3. You are incorrect in your last paragraph- you can bring a 200 GB uncompressed 2 hour movie into DVDSP and DVDSP will compress it to fit on a 4.3 GB DVD.

  47. Steve 14 years ago

    Hey, I havn’t seen the results of these settings yet, it’s saving now. But like Julia said, it says the quality is “medium” after I changed it to PNG. It changes in the options menu from high quality after you press ok in the compression settings. Should that be changing? Does yours change? Does that thing know what it’s talking about? Or does it just assume it will be normal with the different settings?

    • Josh 14 years ago

      The quality will be perfect. Disregard the “medium” setting.

  48. Tafa 14 years ago

    I cannot export to dvd with imovie HD. I tried converting to Quicktime but the quality was so poor. Any suggestions on what i could do? I tried exporting to a .mov file but the quality was horrible. Any suggestions for settings under the advanced tab? Please respond asap!!!!! thanks.

    • Josh 14 years ago

      Did you export using the process in the article above?

      • Jose 13 years ago

        Hey! I am a new guy on the block. I am working on a project and found a huge problem – quality! I created a few video clips in iMovie with the following compression settings:

        H.264, Rate: 29.97 fps, Quality: Best, Data Rate: Automatic; Size Settings: Dimensions: HD 1280 x 720 16:9; Sound Settings: Format: Linear PCM, Channels: Stereo (L R), Rate: 48.000, Render Settings: Best, Sample size: 16 bits, Little Endian (checked).

        I really liked the quality of these video clips. But now, I want to put them together with chapter marks using Final Cut Express, but when creating the “one” video, the quality is reduced significantly. By doing this, am I compressing those video clips again? Is this the reason why I get very poor quality with FCE. What am I doing wrong? How do I fix this problem? How can I keep the quality presented in the video clips previously compressed?

        I am really lost and any help would really be appreciated. I just don’t have time for trial and error. Rendering these videos take hours! I start feeling frustrated.

        Please help!


  49. Hayne 14 years ago

    I recently followed the instructions above for a high quality movie.
    AMAZING quality when coupled with DV Kitchen to a quick specs!

    To try something different and use the png in DVDSP…
    I followed all png export directions to the “t”… but when I dropped the png file into DVDSP… the video on burned disc was very poor quality and the sound was even a bit warped. I tried another disc and had the same results.

    Should I just drag the png into DV Kitchen and encode it to DV NTSC Widescreen?

    • Josh 14 years ago

      What bitrate did you use? Try increasing it.

  50. Trevor 13 years ago

    Is there a way to export a highest quality version, but keep the chapter markers?

    • Josh 13 years ago

      You could do METHOD #1 and include markers, then extract that track and add it to your other high quality movie… what format is your footage?

      • Trevor 13 years ago

        Thanks for responding so fast,
        They are Quick Time Movies, just imported from a DV tape.

        I exported with Method #1, and have also exported a high quality PNG movie.
        How can I extract the first track and add it to the PNG movie?

  51. Jason 13 years ago

    I got an error
    “Unable to export movie
    The movie could not be exported because an error occurred. (-2125)”
    Any help???

  52. Guillermo 13 years ago

    When exporting 20 min of a 90 min film the exporting crash about 30% of working. telling me Error:file too big. I don´t know the problem because i have a 500 gyga bytes free space in my external hard disk its only 20 min im exporting. Whats wrong?

  53. Nick Hansbauer 13 years ago

    I’m following these stpes, but when I filmed my short film, I used an HD (AVCHD) camera. –it’s 1920×1080. when selecting size, should I still use 720×405 or should I select 1920×1080 HD?! PLEASEEEE SOMEONE ANSWER ME! YOU DON’T KNOW HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS!!! — it would be great if you replied directly to me at!


  54. Sam G 13 years ago

    Awesome stuff but is there no way to make the file size a tad smaller?

    • Josh 13 years ago

      It’s a big file because it’s lossless. You could try PJPEG codec at 90% and see if you’re happy with the quality.

  55. Greg O 13 years ago

    Tried Option #3. Worked great for the photos and titles in my FCE project but seems to make the video quality poorer (choppy). It is just regular DV footage. Anything I could be doing wrong ?

    • Josh 13 years ago

      The video quality is fine, it is just not playing smoothly on your machine, but the file is meant as an intermediate, not to be played directly. Run it through DV Kitchen to play from your hard drive or the web.

  56. Jared G 13 years ago

    I’m converting old VCR tapes to DVD. I have iMovie 06 HD, iMovie ’08, FCE 3.5, and I’ve just ordered FCE 4.0.

    I have a 1.5 TB external HD – Space is NO issue. I don’t care how big of a file(s) I create, I just want the best quality I can get from a VHS tape, to the DVD. I can burn 4.7 and 8 gig disks.

    Is there any way to record onto the mac, edit, and then convert/render/burn/whatever onto a disk with NO Compression? I’m willing to do up to one hour on a 4.7 and just under 2 hrs on a dual layer. I care if 4:3 or 16:9, I don’t care how big files are, or how much time it takes to render, etc. These are older home movies that I can’t replace, I need to save in the highest quality for the family (weddings, births, etc)

    Any recommendations or settings I should do?

    I am using iMovie HD for editing (sound won’t port over to FCE 3.5) and then iDVD 08 for burning in Professional quality. I always keep it well under limit of space.

    For Recording, I have the Canopus ADVC 300 on firewire 400. Quality is cleaned up a bit from it. It’s burning and viewing where the disappointment comes from. Looks really grainy.

    BTW, I’m not sure, but I take it we can’t buy iDVD pro without buying FCP, right? I wish there was a really good Pro-sumer version of iDVD like there is a Pro-sumer of Video editing (FCE).

  57. Jared G 13 years ago

    Sorry Typo:

    … I DO NOT care if it’s 4:3 or 16:9 ratio…


  58. Ben 13 years ago

    Hi, I have a 6 and a half minute long music video which i need to export both onto youtube and onto DVD for examiners (this is for my A-Level coursework). It is shot on 3 seperate domestic DV cameras, 2 of which were 16:9 aspect and 1 was 4:3. I cancelled out the changes in FCE by just scaling up the 16:9 footage to 135% so it filled the viewer slug with no widescreen bands at the top and bottom. I followed the steps above exactly to try and export with high quality and as promised, the LiveType animations at the beginning are higher quality, but the video has lost its contrast and has become very ‘liney’- it has many small horizontal lines which seem to worsen with movement. Fast movement such as a drumstick is also lagging slightly, so the image appears to have a trail, and the audio has slightly gone out of sync.
    Is this something that i’ve done wrong, or is there anything that i can do to fix it?
    Any comments/answers would be greatly appreciated, and as my deadline is fast approaching, time is a factor!

  59. dpayne 13 years ago


  60. JSI 13 years ago

    I have a 9 minute video in FCP 7 and the sequence is rendered. When I go to export the video with the first option the file still takes about an hour on my brand new MacBook Pro. I also tried to do the same thing before I rendered the sequence and it was the same amount of time. Not sure what is the problem, but I just can’t believe how long it takes. I also tried to convert the file in Compressor for 1920×1080 H.264 so I could upload the file to Smug Mug. I am not using any of the frame controls or anything frame rate conversions or anything and it says it will take almost 6 hours. I did go through the Compressor trouble shooting files and cleaned out everything. I even ran the Compressor Fix program that has been mentioned online at several forums and I also checked the permissions and everything I could find to check. But the program is still just really slow. Am I missing something here? Are there presets you can download somewhere for Compressor…new presets that handle straight FULL HD conversions for the newer video sharing sites that actually take 1920×1080 files in H.264? We have several computers here at the office and one of them has the Adobe Suite. I took the MOV intermediate over to the PC with CS4 and ran it through the Adobe media tool. It took about one an half times real time or about 16 minutes and the file looks great! This would be a real pain if I have to do this every time. We do a lot of long form edits, but I have not had to put those online yet. I cannot imagine going through all this for a 30 or 60 minute video in HD. I think the new version of Final Cut will be out before the file finishes rendering out of Compressor.

  61. Anwari 13 years ago

    Hi, i’ve tried this method and is happy with the quality, though it seems to be interlacing my cross dissolves. Any suggestions on what I should do to solve this?

    • Josh 13 years ago

      You could set your sequence to progressive by setting Field order to “None”.

  62. kevin 13 years ago

    hey, i did the lossless PNG method for a project i plan to put on dvd. (i just ordered ilife 09 and some verbatim dual layer dvdrs) the quality looks good but my project is less than 30 minutes long and the file came out as 18.89 Gigs, which i will never be able to fit on a dvd. my stuff is pretty edit heavy so i guess that is why it is so big?
    im relatively new to this so i dont necessarily understand much about compression. basically i have six of these 30 minute or so projects shot in full HD (avchd) and they are heavily edited and i need to get them on DVD, looks like i will need a separate one for each project and im okay with that, but not thrilled. any help?

    • Josh 13 years ago

      The file is just an intermediate and size doesn’t matter – it will be encoded to MPEG2 to go on the DVD and will be much smaller. You can fit 90 – 120 minutes of video on a DVD at fairly decent quality.

      • kevin 13 years ago

        ahh thanks. i will put two approx 30 min videos on each dual layer dvd. is there a way to import the chapter markers using PNG? if not its not a big deal. thanks again

  63. Mari 13 years ago

    (I’ve looked at the forum for similar issues but I guess there’s none posted…)

    So I did everything for the high quality export and for a 20 min vid- it took about 3-4 hours (can’t remember) and resulted in a 16GB file (somewhat jerky..)
    but after I’ve used Compressor (lower field dominance selected to smooth the jerkiness) to a Mpeg-2 and I got a Final-MPEG-2 6.2Mbps 2-pass 16/9 video file and an AIFF 48/16 and Dolby 2.0 sound file both equaling about 1GB together the compressing bitrate was definitely below 8 (maybe even lower than 7. I did not change the notches at all so I know it’s not peaking..)

    I’m a first time Studio Pro user –
    but after I’ve finished all my menus, links, etc. I try to build and format the dvd and this error message comes up when trying to format the DVD:

    !Warning: The file VOB_DATA.LAY found in the VIDEO_TS or HVDVD_TS folder will not be included in the final disc.
    !Warning: The file WITHOUT_REGARD.layout found in the VIDEO_TS or HVDVD_TS folder will not be included in the final disc.

    Without_regard is my DVD name..

    Any idea why or how I can fix this problem?? I’m trying to burn stuff by WED!

    thanks, Mari

    • Mari 13 years ago

      nevermind – I went to my college’s Video Prod center and they just told me to build/format to my hard drive as a .img file – then I used disc utility to burn to a DVD.

      Thanks anyway 🙂

  64. maqui 13 years ago


    I’m editing a 4 min. music video on Final Cut. I shot the videos with the Canon 5D Mark II at 1920×1080 HD.
    1st question:
    If I do the exporting as described on your method at 720×405 everything looks perfect!
    But when I try to do it at 1920×1080, or even at 1080×720, I cannot see the video normally on my computer, it stops every 2 sec. Maybe the file is too big for streaming on my MacPro but it make no sense as I can watch perfectly other files with similar weight not processed, originally from my camera canon 5D mark II.
    2nd question:
    The studio that’s going convert my clip into several formats (DVD, AVI PAL for Tv Brodcast and Beta) asked me to send them the file at 4:2:2 10bits, pro-ress 4:4:4 or DVCPro50/HD.
    Can I just send them the converted file as described on your method 3 or is it too small comparing to what they are asking me for? I tried exporting at the 4:2:2 10bits non compressed and the file is too large (33GB), contrast and pixels are worst than the PNG compression and I cannot watch the film correctly on my computer as described before.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Josh 13 years ago

      The exported file may not play smoothly, but it’s just an intermediate, so no big deal. You can export in any of the formats you mention using the process above, just choose a different codec.

  65. Reece Lynch 13 years ago

    This is the most helpful article ever!
    I was exporting for film festivals, and the quality was so shocking! Now you have taught me to keep all the quality, and the film looks great. Thank you so much. You have really helped me.
    I also found the Exporting Reference Movie helpful. For referencing it is actually brilliant!
    Thank you so much!!!

  66. Dave 12 years ago


    I followed the steps above to maintain the quality of a PNG file I wanted to use in a short video I put together. When I export the video, however, the audio and video is out of sync. There are no issues with the video, and the PNG file looks better, but I can’t figure out how/why the audio is messed up in the Quicktime file I created. I am not looking to convert this onto a DVD, but rather put it on YouTube. What can I do to fix this?

  67. Marcelo 12 years ago

    I have an 80 minutes movie and I want to create the best quality dvd possible.

    I will export as PNG as described on the method above, but after that, is it helpfull to use DVD-9 in order to reduce the compression? or you recommend to use a simple DVD-5?

    Has Dvd Studio Pro these two options?

    (and sorry for my poor english)

  68. Miska Karabova 12 years ago

    GOOD IDEA” … today i did test of one quit complicated video … i had source of hd readz quality but bad cameraman …. so video had many bad movements also in important places of material / i needed that part of footage / so i decided to make quick movement of videosource and use adittive transitions and cross dissolves of one lazer to another following one …. very good kind of dissolve conecting graetly all kinds of changing scenes … i tested your png export …. and made choise of the quality with png versus H264 / best quality settings / … and the result is …. H264 … very smooth quick movement and dissolve transitions, but static moment not so sharp and not so briliant coloured as in PNG … PNG unfortunately not as smooth movement of quicker scenes and layered dissolves, including layered preview of live type documents, BUT REALLY EXCELENT COLORS AND SHARP PICTURE WITH BRILIANT RESOLUTION OF QUALITY ….. so i hope one day we will get combination of the best parameters of PNG and H264 export formats …. i have heard about JPEG 2000 that it is also good quality export format … what do you think about it … thanks for great advices …. anz other opinion about good export quality in FCP ?????? :))))) … Miska

  69. Miska Karabova 12 years ago

    now i red message above me … Marcelo … hmmm i dont have answer but what i have is … hhe 🙂 basic question … what is the best quality export format for web … how to work with it ? … eport in png and then make compression … how to compress it the best way in lossless quality, with small file-size for web distribution …. how to compress it for presentation on big TV with high resolution / HD-TV, PAL SD-TV ? / … how to compress for storing my moviefile on external archive harddisk ? is apple Proress 422 good idea ? is better idea uncompressed export of raw quality material ? … in my opinion the best way to store material is to keep source and saved project in one file, and opened the version of project i need, and let final cut to drag the sourse material to complete project, then export …. if not having enough space on archive storage disk … keep only needed sources of material in actual project, i do it using Consolide Project of Media Manager / it should be in Edit tab of basic FCP menu i think but i am not sure / ….. another thing to understand is …. export in layers from Live Type, and FCP …. and export in layers on tranparent background in these both softs … but it has nothing to do with mean theme …. good quality FCP export, i know i know 🙂

  70. Miska Karabova 12 years ago

    the last question … i promise 🙂 … what exactly makes export … it compress and finds the best choise of quality parameters ? … ok then what exactly makes copression of exported file ? … it compress more with absolutely lossless quality ???????? i worry about quality all the time … i give so much energy to make a good movie then it should be the best quality ! it should have at least the raw quality parameters, it should look like original, if not i am always confused ….. but the trend is small filesize, but for me …. quality should decide !!! quality is n.1! ….. what can i do ??????????

  71. Josh Mellicker 12 years ago

    Should be all good now.

  72. alioshka 11 years ago

    hello! great information!
    I have a question!
    I exported either HDV1080 25 p timeline, as a png copy as suggested with the aim of importing it to IDVD.
    It looked good but I lost the 16:9 shape for a 3:4 so everything looks squeezed.
    What did I do wrong?

  73. RN 11 years ago

    Hi, thank you for this. I have been exporting PNG since I read this, but the option is no longer available with Lion. Do you know of a workaround/alternative for a lossless export?

    • Josh Mellicker 11 years ago

      Are you editing with Pro Res? This is probably the best export format.

  74. Brett 11 years ago

    When I export my scene I lose color and image quality. How do I fix this? I have made sure my sequence is in the same format as my clips. And my export is the same. I still get pixilation. Help me!

  75. Oskar Velazquez 11 years ago

    How should I export if I want the best quality. The best possible. I have the entire FCP studio and a Canon 5D. Thank you.

  76. Sarah 11 years ago

    What a fantastic forum.

    My students are using HD video (it records as AVCHD 1080 x 1920) and we’re also using final cut express.
    When creating the project I just want to make sure I’m selecting the correct format. I’m getting students to select HDV Apple Intermediate Codec 1080i50 from the project set up menu.

    IS this right?

    Second question: When exporting how is PNG better than H.264? I’d like to keep the good quality, the 1080 x 1920 and as smaller file size as possible.
    I read that a PNG movie has a huge file size. So which is better for my needs?

    Much appreciated!

    • Stan 11 years ago

      Where is the video destined to end up? On YouTube or maybe a DVD? The format you export in would depend on that.

  77. Jo 11 years ago

    Hi, please help me to fix my problem in FC….this is a movie in 1hr and 45mins
    I cannot export in high quality that i need to play in multimedia and TV

    My proj. is in this case….
    From P2 camera in SD card that format in .MTS
    then i convert it in xilisoft HD converter software in .mov format
    format: HD mov
    size: 1920×720 (HD 720)
    then i edit but i need to export…but how?
    what will i choose in this:
    – quicktime conversion save as…
    -format: quicktime movie
    – video option
    -compression type: ???
    H.264 (????)
    HDV 1080i50???
    …and so on
    frame rate: ?? fps
    key frames: ??
    quality: ???
    data rate: ??

    what will i do? hope you help me…thank you and God bless you 🙂

    • Stan 11 years ago

      H.264 is probably the best format if you’re playing it on any set top box or media player (PS3/Xbox,PC)

  78. Gln 11 years ago


    Small question I have. Iam a new user of iMovie and I made a project of my kids rehearsal about 16gb hd movie plus hd photos. i followed the steps you mentioned to make it ready for burn dvd. But actually the dvd has a capacity of 4gb.

    Question: how can I zip the 16gb project and write on a 4 gb dvd as a movie ??


  79. Russell Ford 10 years ago


    I previously followed the instructions above and exported high quality (but large) PNG movies in the .mov container. I am trying to export a movie now, but can’t find the PNG option – am I going mad or has option been removed, and if so, what is the next best option? Altho the footage is dv and not the best quality, from the options I have tried I still end up with blocking in dark areas and the titles which are sharp in iMovie are soft and dull when exported. The options to increase bit rate, etc are greyed out in most options also.

    Many thanks

    • Josh Mellicker 10 years ago

      What is the destination for the movie? DVD or web?

      Try Pro Res.

  80. 10 years ago

    Thanks, but the only export options in iMovie are are h.264, dv, Animation and mpeg4. I can’t find ProRes as an option. I am looking for highest quality for DVD and archiving. The H.264 compressor option seems to be the best quality so far but it is not at same standard as PNG. Do I have to accept this as a limitation of iMovie?

    • Josh Mellicker 10 years ago

      Ah, I see…

      Try this:

      Go to “Share > Export Using Quicktime”
      Click “Options”
      Click “Settings” in the Video pane
      Click the “Compression Type” menu

      Can you send a screensnap of that list? (Cmd 4, then spacebar)

      Do you have Photo-JPEG?

      • Russ 10 years ago

        Under the compression menu there 10 options including 5 for DV, AIC and Photo-JPEG. I have the screenshot, but am not able to attach it. I am sure that previously there were far more options under this menu.

        Thanks for your help.

  81. June 10 years ago

    Hi Josh,

    Thanks for this article!

    I have a short film that is 768 x 576 and I used your instructions and it works well.
    My video is about 3 minutes long and the size of the Exported File is around 130 MB now.

    Now my Question: Will this file be good enough for a Projection on a Big Screen? Because I am sending it to a Film Festival! Or should I export the film differently in this case?

    Also, the Festival asked the filmmakers for:
    “HD files – H264/1080P/25fps”

    Is there a way for me to get it to 1080P? Or is it impossible seeing that my film’s size is 768 x 576?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you 🙂

  82. Uday 10 years ago

    Hi Josh,
    I export using the same settings atleast thrice a day. Is there anyway I can save quicktime converstion settings as a preset.

    • Josh Mellicker 10 years ago

      Sorry for the delay, but there isn’t a way in FCP7 to store QT export settings.

  83. Mariana 10 years ago

    Hi Josh, i have a problem with my mov. It exports well with the option of make movie self contained, and the it runs well (bit it makes other files that says nameofclip-av1, 2 and so on). When i re run it all clips stop at min 4:10 or 4:15. I checked up all settings and they are good. I made an export from the mov to a flv and the flv runs good. What is happening to the mov’s? Can you help?


    • Josh Mellicker 10 years ago

      Mariana, it sounds like your disk is formatted so that it can only contain a 2 GB max file size. What disk are you exporting to?

  84. Sebastian Leitner 8 years ago

    also, don’t forget that fcp7 gives you way more control over render quality than fcpX! open your sequence settings and go to “video processing” tab. you can there select “10bit YUV rendering” which takes twice as long but extremely improves the final quality when using many effects or working with real 10bit material. also there is an option to set the quality of the “motion” tab to “best”. recommended for any scaling!

    fcpX has all of that built in and does everything by the books. the only thing you can really choose yourself is the quality of retiming effects (“optical flow” being the utmost best but longest to render). it lacks the codec options though. for example setting the automatic gamma adjustment of ProRes to “None” is gone.

    i somehow preferred the legacy controls of the export process and somehow feel like fcpX only gives me “youtube options” in export. even the “master clip export” has no real settings. adobe’s premiere for example features all the fcp7 settings and more (eventough you need to to a little bit of fiddling to make it work with all the quicktime codecs, ssay the ProRes family in both import and export). as a paranoid quality-fetishist (i do lots of cinematic DCP processing) i prefer having those options but fcpX has other advantages. you can always use compressor for the export process.

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