Final Cut Express Exporting Best Quality, Smallest Size?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by svoboda, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. svoboda macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2012
    Hello MacRumors!

    I'm brand new, so please excuse any forum-faux-pas.

    Here's the skinny: I've edited some HD (720p) videos on Final Cut Express, and now I need to export them. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to do it with any quality. And if I do export with quality, the file is HUGE.

    I have movies (hollywood) on my hard drive that are two hours long, look great, and are under a gig. Yet when I export my 10min video with Final Cut, it's either huge (read 3gigs) or stupid-small (read 30megs) and looks like total garbage.

    So here's what I'm looking for a ten-minute video:

    • File size under 200 megs
    • Mpeg (preferred), avi, or mov all cool, whichever is best
    • Maintains 720p
    • Doesn't look like garbage

    What settings should I be exporting at? Should I be using a external software (aka mpegstreamclip)?

    Thank you for the help!!!

    To the left, "Export Quicktime Movie" - 10min long, 3 gigs in size
    To the right "Export Using Quicktime Conversion" to mpeg - 10min long, 52megs in size

    Attached Files:

  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    The big file is probably using Apple Intermediate Codec as codec, which is an editing codec, thus every frame is stored, thus the size. The small file probably uses some old codec (did you specify one codec, or did you just took whatever was set?) or newer codec (H.264) with bad settings.
    If you can provide the settings you used for the small file, we may be able to help you more there.

    As for MPEG Streamclip, you can open the big file in there and Export As QuickTime (.mov container) and use the H.264 codec as Compressor, limit the data rate to around 200 KB/s and choose the MPEG-4 AAC codec under the Sound drop down menu. Also deselect Interlaced Scaling and select Multi-Pass (and set Quality to 100). See if that helps.

    Was that understandable?
  3. SJSwains macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2012
    Extra Help

    I just read your reply to the best quality, smaller size question and the MPeg Streamclip tip is a great suggestion. I'm going to try that myself. Thanks.

    I tend to use Export>Quicktime conversion. Select MP4 instead of quicktime in the drop box and then play around with the settings. I use MP4 (improved), H.264, 2500 bps and that turns out ok. Might not be good enough for you, but if you're compressing it to such a small size you're going to have to make some kind of sacrifice. A lot of patience and trial and error tends to produce a suitable solution.

    I have a small problem myself. I've imported a video file that has been stored onto a DVD as mp4. Normally I use MactheRipper, but it won't detect the mp4 file, so I just copied it onto my hard drive. I play that file in VLC player and the quality is good, but as soon as I import any part of that file into FCE it becomes pixelated and blocky. I've tried converting it numerous ways, but no joy. There is obviously a setting in FCE that I need to change, but I'm a bit stuck as to know what that is. Any ideas?

    I hope you don't mind me butting in on this thread! Thanks.
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    MacTheRipper and similar ripping applications are for copying content off a video DVD (the ones you buy with films on and usually put into the DVD player for your TV), they are not needed for copying content off a data DVD (the kind of DVD, that stores applications or other data someone put onto it).
    Finder will suffice in that case.

    As for the .mp4, it is probably using H.264 or x264 as codec, which are not meant for editing, especially in FCE, which only supports .mov files using the Apple Intermediate Codec as video codec without rendering every single frame again and again.

    Thus I propose, you open the .mp4 file in MPEG Streamclip, press CMD+E and select Apple Intermediate Codec as Compressor and Uncompressed as Sound. Leave the scaling as it is (unscaled) and either deselect Interlaced Scaling or let it as it is, depending on the source.

    The resulting .mov file be bigger (11 to 48 GB per hour depending on the resolution), but that file should be make no problems in FCE, unless you have some settings checked, that shouldn't be checked.
  5. BethParker macrumors newbie

    Feb 23, 2012
    Disclaimer-I do not represent the company who makes Stomp.
    I always export my movies in the highest quality format so i have a perfect, 'master copy', then use Stomp compressor software to compress to the smallest yet highest quality that I think is acceptable. The Stomp software has seemed to taken all kinds of experimentation and guesswork out of the whole compression issue for me. I can also very quickly convert the master movie to various compatibility formats like 'iphone' or a simple 'half size' which is gorgeous but just that, 'half the size' file size. Stomp was worth every penny and relatively cheap. I never have to worry about compression anymore and its very quick to experiment with various compression levels.
  6. Doctor23 macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2013

    Sorry I'm new here. I am having a similar problem with final cut pro. I've tried exporting in a lot different formats but every time my file size is huge. just the regular .mov is 15.91 GB. I've used the program on another computer before an I don't remember ever having this problem. Any thoughts?
  7. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Then what settings did you use for exporting the file?
    In order to find out, what may be wrong with your video, you can use the following three applications to analyse a sample video file.
    When done, you can use the "Report" (VideoSpec) and "Export" (Media Inspector) button to export a report,
    attachable to your next post via the [​IMG] button.
    In MediaInfo you have to go to the Menu Bar, select View > Text and copy the text via CMD+A > CMD+C and paste it via CMD+V into your next post.

    You could also use HandBrake with the 16 GB .mov file to create a much smaller and more compressed .mp4 or .m4v file using one of the available presets.

    Video Compression
    Why It Matters & How To Make The Most Of It

  8. peterpan33 macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2013
    Melbourne Victoria
    video codecs

    Hi I'm new here and to video processing and this conversation has been helpful however I'm not sure how to apply to my case
    I have video footage avi files taken at 640x480 and I want to minimise pixelation during editing.
    It seems I can possibly convert the format prior to importing to FCE
    or is it easier to import original format and export which format to minimise pixelation?
  9. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Those .avi files probably use a very compressive codec, that needs to be rendered during use in FCE anyway, thus use MPEG Streamclip to transcode those .avi files to .mov (QuickTime) files using the Apple Intermediate Codec as Compressor and Uncompressed as Sound setting.
    Use the following guide as guideline:

    If you have several video files, you can use MPEG Streamclip's Batch List:
  10. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    720p at under 200-300 megs won't look great no matter what you do at 10 minutes duration. I would use compressor with a constant bitrate which will give you an estimated file size. My suggestion is the following:

    Export from project as ProRes 422 LT
    Use compressor at an constant bitrate to find the right quality setting for your video, use the estimated file size to adjust bitrate to the correct amount giving you the filesize you need.
    Compress it to a .mov using h.264 and viola.

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