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FCP Quicktime -50 Error Troubleshooting Guide

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Olivia Courant
FCP Quicktime -50 Error Troubleshooting Guide
on Sep 16, 2013 at 8:09:00 pm

I just spent a whole week solving this problem I’ve never had throughout two years of Final Cut Pro use. After fixing it by clearing all render files, rendering, and then copy pasting the entire sequence to a new project file, I collected all of my research below.

If you experience the Quicktime -50 error and come across other solutions please comment.

Quicktime -50 Symptoms:

1) Sending to Compressor and Exporting results in a “Quicktime -50 Error.”
2) Looking at the Compressor log file reports a “Processing service request error: QuickTime Error: -50” near the bottom.
3) In addition to Compressor not working, direct export to QuickTime from Final Cut Pro results in a “codec error” message.
4) You are able to export your project in separate pieces, but for some reason exporting the entire sequence as a whole results in an error.

Reported Causes & Solutions Across Various Forums:

- The project’s render files are corrupted.
Solution: Delete render files (Tools >> Render Manager >> check boxes and delete).
Render your project again and attempt export to Compressor. If this still fails, attempt direct export to QuickTime from FCP. Uncheck "Recompress All Frames" and check "Self-Contained Movie." The resulting .mov file can be sent to Compressor and it will be the same as if you had exported directly from FCP.

- Something is wrong with the project file itself.
Solution: Clear your render files (see above), render your whole sequence and then copy the entire timeline. Start a new project and paste it. Save the new project and attempt to export.

- The project has corrupted or incompatible media.
Examples: Pictures with a width or height exceeding 4000 pixels, clips with different formats/codecs/extensions/frame rates, pictures that are CMYK, audio that is not AIFF or WAV, media with permissions/theft protections such as things downloaded online or through iTunes, clips that are pointing to the wrong file location and need to be reconnected.

Solution 1: Download the 15 day free trial of Corrupt Clip Finder (part of Pro Maintenance Tools) and the program will search for incompatible media for you. Otherwise, manually check your media. A red bar even after you've rendered is a good (thought not only) indication of incompatible media. Convert any unusual video with MPEG Streamclip. Convert audio with the website. Convert and resize still images to PNG - use “get info” in Finder to check file properties to make sure images are indexed as RGB and not CMYK.

Solution 2: Right click on any suspect clips and choose “Reconnect Media” to make sure files are pointing to the correct locations. Sometimes exporting audio to Soundtrack Pro can cause the exported audio/video clips to reference the wrong file locations.

- The audio of the timeline extends past the video portion, which can sometimes cause Compressor to fail.
Solution: Either trim your audio so it ends when the video does, or put a black matte into the video track to cover the extended duration of the audio.

- The export process is struggling with the video codec.
Solution: In Final Cut Pro, change your sequence codec to Pro Res 422. Render your project again and attempt export.

- The export process is struggling with clips that have a different speed setting (for instance, you set clip speed to 50% or 200%)
Solution: Independently export those clips at the desired speed to QuickTime. Import the new .mov files and replace the original clips in your project.

- Generated media in your FCP project is causing Compressor to crash (usually a slug issue)
Solution: Recreate the effect you want natively in FCP. In FCP X for an all black screen, the "Gap Clip" is what you should try using. [added by David Mallin]

- A watermark or logo over your video is causing the problem.
Solution: Remove the watermark, render, and attempt export. If this works, copy and paste your entire sequence to a new emtpy project file. Add the watermark back in, render, and attempt export.

- You closed Final Cut while Compressor was processing the video.
Solution: Leave FCP open.

- You are storing your media on a hard drive that is incompatible with Final Cut Pro, or the hard drive is corrupted.
Solution: Move all project files to a different hard drive or the computer's internal hard drive. Attempt export with the files in this new location.

- Your hard drive or disk does not have enough memory.
Solution: Increase memory by deleting old render files (Tools >> Render Manager >> check boxes and delete). Use an external hard drive with sufficient free space.

Additional Solutions:

- If you are able to directly export to QuickTime without error but not send to Compressor, export to QuickTime. Send the resultant video to Compressor instead of going through Final Cut Pro.

- Turn off background rendering and auto saving. (Final Cut Pro >> User Preferences >> uncheck Auto Render and Autosave Vault)

- If you’re experiencing the error with a large project, split your timeline in half. Export each half directly from FCP to QuickTime. Bring the completed halves into a new FCP project. Export that project to QT or send it to Compressor, whichever you prefer.


Producer of The Bright Side, a Michigan TV show.

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David Mallin
Re: FCP Quicktime -50 Error Troubleshooting Guide
on Oct 2, 2013 at 4:58:32 pm

Great compilation of posts. I tried several of them! After fighting through this issue for about a week myself, I will tell you the solution to the problem I had.

In between the fade-out of my project and the beginning of the credit roll, I wanted some black. In Final Cut Pro 7 I would have inserted slug. Here I used a generator to create an all-black clip. That generator was causing the issue. (I discovered this by removing all the elements in my credit roll individually until I found the one making Compressor fail.) When I replaced it with FCP X's version of slug, the Gap Clip, then compressor output started to work again. Go figure.

David Mallin, Cinematographer
Film Program Director, Old Dominion University

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christian svanes
Re: FCP Quicktime -50 Error Troubleshooting Guide
on May 4, 2016 at 2:52:20 pm

thanks, olivia, for posting this!

it's been a long time since i've last encountered a Quicktime -50 error but it happened just last night, repeatedly, and your post saved me hours of trial and error and probable hair pulling.

for me, clearing the render files, then copying the entire timeline and pasting it into a new sequence, with the sequence codec set to ProRes 422, seemed to do the trick. for what it's worth, i never re-rendered the files on my timeline before sending the sequence to compressor.

additionally, i turned off the "auto-saving" feature, as well, and, to make sure none of my hard drives inadvertently went to sleep, i de-activated "put the hard disk(s) to sleep (when possible)" in system preferences.

thank you again!

. . . . . . .

"climb mountains to see lowlands."

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