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Export best quality, smallest file size - to stream on YouTube HD

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Tom Jenkinson
Export best quality, smallest file size - to stream on YouTube HD
on Sep 22, 2011 at 10:52:22 am

Hi all,

I'm relatively new to editing and FCP and I need some advice to get the best export output.

I'm editing footage from a couple of different formats including Sony EX1 XDCAM footage (XDCAM HD 1080p25 and 1080i50) and Sony Z1 HDV 1080i50.

The films I'm editing are between 2 and 5 minutes and I need the exported files to be no larger than 150mb. To get this size I lose a lot of quality.

Can anyone guide me to getting crisp HD quality with this size file?

I would really appreciate the help, and tell me if you need more info.


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Nate Tam
Re: Export best quality, smallest file size - to stream on YouTube HD
on Sep 23, 2011 at 5:18:03 am

Export a version from Final Cut using Export to Quicktime (NOT QUICKTIME CONVERSION)

Don't touch a single setting. Final Cut reads the sequence setting and exports it as high quality as you're gonna get.

Save to whatever destination you see fit.

If you don't already have it, download MPEG Streamclip.

Open the export you had just made from Final Cut in MPEG streamclip, then go to file/export to other formats (quicktime works as well IF YOU'RE ONLY USING A MAC), then in the window that pops up, select options. that will bring up another window. Under format, select h264. Use the pertinent frame rate, and select fast encode. Under sound, i like to use IMA 4:1. DONT TOUCH ANYTHING ELSE. close out of that window and back to the previous one. Select the desired frame size. select "better downscaling" if you're downscaling at all. If you shot progressive, then deselect interlaced scaling.

Last but certainly not least, towards the top of the window you'll see a "limit data rate" checkbox. CHECK IT. than type a number in (most likely to be in the thousands or ten of thousands) until the file size indicator to the right is at the size you'd like it to be. ALWAY UNDERSHOOT. MPEG Streamclip tends to export things larger in file size than it predicts.

hit OK.


Be happy. :)

Nate Tam
Freelance Film Editor

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Thomas Morter-Laing
Re: Export best quality, smallest file size - to stream on YouTube HD
on Sep 23, 2011 at 8:13:13 am

IMO send to compressor is a better idea. Better integrated and marginally better compression.

In FCP- Click File, Send To- compressor. Compressor will open.
Compressor has a great Youtube preset to be found in 'Other Workflows, Web, youtube sharing. As a default it is 720P.

-If you want full '1080p' then you need to right click on the youtube sharing preset, then click duplicate. It will create a copy.

Then Just click on the little button in the inspector which looks like a bunch of shapes (one to the left of the small cog thing) and then where it says 'frame size' just choose the 1920x1080 option.

Then drag and drop that setting onto the video at the top and hit submit.

Tom Morter-Laing
Freelance Editor,
Certified Apple Product Proffessional, 2010

Sony Z5, with Rode NTG2.
iMac 27" intel i7 2.93GHz, 12GB RAM, ATI HD5750 [1GB GDDR5], 2TB Int. SATA with 2TB External HDD; (FW800), with Elgato Turbo H264HD.

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Tom Jenkinson
Re: Export best quality, smallest file size - to stream on YouTube HD
on Sep 23, 2011 at 8:18:15 am

Thank you both very much.
I tried compressor yesterday with the HD DVD 90 mins setting and it works well enough.
I'm gonna test out both your methods though and see which works best.
I'm thinking Mpeg Streamclip might save me a little time.

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David Eaks
Re: Export best quality, smallest file size - to stream on YouTube HD
on Sep 23, 2011 at 10:02:40 am

I suggest a combination of the two pieces of advice given so far.

As Nate said, Export a QT (File> Export Quicktime, current settings, self-contained). This is the best starting point IMO.

And as Thomas said, bring that into Compressor and use the YouTube setting, the tab he refers to for adjusting frame size is the Geometry tab. What version of compressor?

Like MPeg Streamclip, you can fiddle with the data rate in Compressor as well. In the Inspector window, under the encoder tab, in video settings. Do this if the default setting gives you an undesirable file size.

I never liked "send to compressor" as it ties up FCP while compressor is working with your file, thus stopping me from working on something else. FCP "hands off" each frame one at a time for compressor to deal with, as I understand it at least. That and a generally poor experience with "send to compressor" over the last couple years spent getting to know and renovating a family businesses around, my dear old friend, the legacy... FCS 3. RIP.

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