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Final Cut Pro QT export too big for DVD

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Holly Morris
Final Cut Pro QT export too big for DVD
on Apr 29, 2014 at 7:28:17 pm

Long time lurker and I finally have gotten desperate enough to ask for help -

I volunteer at a Hospice Organization and recorded 3 hours of a gentleman's life story for his family. Unfortunately I was using my 5D (I thought it was only going to be 30 min) so the converted footage is about 100 GB into ProRes 422 LT. Editing then exporting it from FCP 7 to Quicktime (not QT conversion) made an 86GB file (ugh). I tried compressor (which I am not familiar with) and got a 6GB MPEG 2 file. It opens but won't play - and the time code has only 40 mins. I am guessing my best way is to compress the 86GB QT file further? What is the best way to maintain the resolution? I've been trying to convert the QT to MPEG4 through MPEG streamclip but it doesn't finish - could this also be a memory problem? I've been trying out all the solutions I have found online this past week - but nothing works.

I have a lot of experience making 10 min shorts - but nothing this big. I've always just dragged the quicktime export to iDVD. This is a volunteer situation so I'm trying to avoid spending any additional money. His family is eager to see it, so hopefully someone can steer me in the right direction. It seems I know just enough to do everything wrong - bleh. Thanks for any advice -

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Shane Ross
Re: Final Cut Pro QT export too big for DVD
on Apr 29, 2014 at 7:52:50 pm

#42 - Quick and dirty way to author a DVD

Shane's Stock Answer #42 - David Roth Weiss' Secret Quick and Dirty Way to Author a DVD:

The absolute simplest way to make a DVD using FCP and DVDSP is as follows:

1. Export a QT movie, either a reference file or self contained using current settings.

2. Open DVDSP, select the "graphical" tab and you will see two little monitors, one blue, one green.

3. Select the left blue one and hit delete.

4. Now, select the green one, right click on it and select the top option "first play".

5. Now drag your QT from the browser and drop it on top of the green monitor.

6. Now, for a DVD from an HD source, look to the right side and select the "general tab" in the track editor, and see the Display Mode, and select "16:9 pan-scan."

7. Hit the little black and yellow burn icon at the top of the page and put a a DVD in when prompted. DVDSP will encode and burn your new DVD.


NOW...if you want a GOOD LOOKING DVD, instead of taking your REF movie into DVD SP, instead take it into Compressor and choose the BEST QUALITY ENCODE (2 pass VBR) that matches your show timing. Then take THAT result into DVD SP and follow the rest of the steps. Except you can choose "16:9 LETTERBOX" instead of PAN & SCAN if you want to see the entire image.

Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

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Mark Suszko
Re: Final Cut Pro QT export too big for DVD
on Apr 29, 2014 at 8:00:19 pm

Standard single-layer DVD's are only 4 gig capacity or so. Dual-layer disks exist, and DVDSP can make them, but that requires special dual layer media and a burner that's dual-layer capable.

You could divide your timeline into two, 4-gig parts, and follow the method Shane describes to make two independent DVD's, a part 1 and a part 2...

Or, you can export an h.264 file of the entire FCP timeline into a DVD-R and maybe fit the whole thing on one, single-layer DVD-R, but it will only be playable from a computer, not a DVD player. On the plus side, that file will look nicer than the standard-def DVD.

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Holly Morris
Re: Final Cut Pro QT export too big for DVD
on Apr 29, 2014 at 8:12:58 pm

The best scenario is to burn it onto 1 DVD they can play on PC or TV - I think they are going to make copies for all of his family members/grandchildren etc.

Can you recommend the best way to compress this down to 4GB from FCP?
I've never had any file larger than 3GB and this sucker is an 86GB quicktime -

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Mark Suszko
Re: Final Cut Pro QT export too big for DVD
on Apr 29, 2014 at 8:59:04 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Apr 29, 2014 at 9:15:21 pm

Well, it's an 86 gig Pro Res file right now... that's not the final format.... to put it into a DVD that plays on TV's and computers equally well, it has to be transcoded into an MPEG2 transport stream, a much smaller file, which is something that Apple Compressor will do for you with some simple presets. By adjusting the data rate of that MPEG 2 transcode, you can trade visual quality for smaller file size. I know you can cram 8 hours onto a single-layer DVD, because I have a machine at home that transfers VHS tapes to DVD in real-time, and that's what it can do on it's maximum setting... but the visual quality at the 8-hour "speed" is pretty poor.

Really, it's not any harder to make two DVD's, a part one and part two, with higher data rate and higher quality, and that's personally what I'd do, since blank disks are just around 2 bucks or so.

But if one disk is what you desire, then go into Compressor, or Mpeg Streamclip, find the pre-set with the longest playback on it, then adjust the data rate down until the file size is under 4.5 gigs. Render the mpeg 2 file, then follow Shane's quick and dirty method to author the disk.

A list of data rates used on the vhs-to-DVD dubber I use at home>

DVD Recording:
XP (high quality): Select when audio and video qualities are important, time: approximately 1 hour (on 4.7GB disc), data rate 8 Mbps

SP (standard quality): Standard quality, time: approximately 2 hours, data rate 4 Mbps

LP (long mode): When long recording time is required, time: approximately 4 hours, data rate 2 Mbps

EP (extended mode): Longest recording time, time: approximately 6 or 8 hours (selectable), data rate 0.8 to 1.2 Mbps

So, if you have an 8 hour long timeline, to make it an 8 hour long single-layer MPEG2 DVD, the MPEG has to be encoded at a data rate of less than 1.2 megabits per second, with mono audio. Beware: at that low of a data rate, some cheap DVD players will experience drop-outs and skips and there will be considerable pixellation.

Many modern flatscreen TV's have a USB port on the back: an H.264 file, copied to a thumb drive, can often be plugged into these to give a nice HD playback.

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Holly Morris
Re: Final Cut Pro QT export too big for DVD
on Apr 29, 2014 at 9:34:48 pm

ok thanks -
That's what I've been doing in compressor but the MPEG has been no good.
I think I may be having a memory problem with my laptop.

Thanks for the info -
At least I know I am on the right track.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Final Cut Pro QT export too big for DVD
on Apr 30, 2014 at 1:19:36 pm

You may want to go thru the A/V drive(s) and trash files, /actually empty the trash, to open up some room for the renders and the pro res files.

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Eric Strand
Re: Final Cut Pro QT export too big for DVD
on May 1, 2014 at 3:47:58 pm

Using Ken Stone's bit budget, if you wanted to get 180 minutes onto a standard 4.7GB DVD your average bit rate has to be 3.2 in Compressor. You can compress just a section of the video and see how it looks.


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Brent Dunn
Re: Final Cut Pro QT export too big for DVD
on May 5, 2014 at 7:21:21 pm

If you have adobe Encore. It will compress it for you when you set up your project to DVD.

You can also export your video to 720p or 480 to make a smaller file. It doesn't need to be ProRes, just an MOV if it's going to iDVD.

I would cut it up into maybe 3 one hr. segments or 2, 1 1/2 hr. segments and put it onto two DVD's.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
Video Marketing

Sony EX-1,
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with Final Cut Studio Adobe CS6 Production

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