FCP X: 5 Tips to Faster Exports

Posted on by Larry

A question I get asked frequently is how to improve export speeds from Final Cut Pro X. This varies, depending upon a variety of conditions, but here are five tips you can use to speed things up.

1. Optimize media. Renders and exports are significantly faster when using optimized media (which means it is converted into ProRes 422), rather than editing camera native formats (like H.264 or AVCHD).

2. Finish rendering. When the time comes to export, if rendering is not complete, Final Cut will render all remaining clips during export which slows things down.

Final Cut Pro X Tips

3. Export using ProRes 422. This format matches the format you used for optimizing – FCP X doesn’t allow you a choice. By exporting in the same format, you avoid wasting speed in transcoding from one format to another. And, from an image quality point of view, you won’t be able to tell the difference when looking at ProRes 422 vs. ProRes 422 HQ.

4. Export a Master File. I always want to view my exported file to make sure it looks and sounds OK before compressing it. This allows me to verify that everything is good. So, I always select Share > Export Media to export my files.

NOTE: Here’s an article with details on how to export a Master File.

5. Export to a different hard drive. When you export to a different hard drive than the one containing your Event folder, the computer can copy the media from one hard drive and record it on a different drive which is much faster than reading and writing to the same drive.

Yes, it is easier to share everything with one click, but it isn’t faster, and you lose the ability to spot problems with your file before wasting time compressing then.

This is the system I use and it works well for me.


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53 Responses to FCP X: 5 Tips to Faster Exports

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  1. cristiana says:

    Hi Larry,
    I appreciate all your answers, so maybe you can help me with a trouble:
    we exported from FCPX a master file with Italian subtitles of our project (it is the working copy of a 90′ movie) but the director decided a little change in the color of two clips. So we rendered the project and re-exported the master file, but this time we forgot the Italian subtitles…
    The third time we exported the Master file in the same way and in the same HD, but the exporting after three hours (the time taken by the first two exporting) is not arrived to 40% … What could it happen?!?

    • Larry says:

      Cristiana:

      I don’t know for sure, my first guess is that one of your hard disks is getting very full – either the boot drive (which FCP X uses for work files) or your external drive.

      If that isn’t it, quit FCP X and restart your computer. This will flush RAM and reset all files. That often fixes things. If that doesn’t work, read this article to see if the ideas it contains can help:

      http://larryjordan.com/five-step-trouble-shoot/

      If all this doesn’t help, its time to call Apple Support.

      Larry

      • cristiana says:

        Thanks a lot, it worked!
        Just restarting the computer…
        So we shouldn’t call Apple Support.
        And the projection was perfect…
        Thanks a lot again for your always useful answers.
        Cristiana

  2. Rudah says:

    Hi, thanks for the tips, but….. I said: “Export to a different hard drive. When you export to a different hard drive than the one containing your Event folder, the computer can copy the media from one hard drive and record it on a different drive which is much faster than reading and writing to the same drive.”

    Is it really true????? OMG
    All my life i thought that exporting to another HD would be slow because you depend from the mb/s transfer of your USB port…..

    Even in a SSD? Even if my port is 2.0 USB, export to external HD is better?

    I can’t believe this… =) But if you are saying, i will trust you

    • Larry says:

      Rudah:

      Well… this is definitely true when you are copying from one spinning hard disk to another spinning hard disk, because you don’t need to keep repositioning the heads; they just stream data.

      With SSDs, things are more complex. However, in general, it will not be slower.

      Larry

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