Choosing the Type of QuickTime Movie to Export

You can create two kinds of QuickTime movies with the Export QuickTime Movie command—a self-contained movie or a reference movie.

Exporting a reference movie saves time, since you don’t have to wait for every frame of your edited sequence to be duplicated. It also saves hard disk space, since pointers to other files require little space. Reference movies are particularly useful when outputting your sequence for compression using a third-party compression utility.

However, reference movies are not very useful as a means of delivering video files to other people. If you give someone a reference movie, you must also give them the original video files associated with that movie, which can be complicated since you may not know where all the referenced media is stored on disk.

In general, exporting reference movies increases the risk that the movie may not play back. Reference movies are best used when you have short-term uses for the exported movie file, and you only plan to use them on the system you exported them to.

Exporting a Self-Contained Movie Without Recompressing the Media

If you choose to export a self-contained movie, you have the option to not recompress the media in your clip or sequence. If you deselect the Recompress All Frames option and choose Current Settings from the Setting pop-up menu, Final Cut Pro simply copies frames from existing media files into the new file with no recompression. This is a convenient way to export your media without subjecting it to recompression artifacts. However, any media that must be created from scratch, such as a transition between two media files, must be recompressed.

Important: The option to turn off recompression is unique to the Export QuickTime Movie command and the Batch Export command. If you choose the Export Using QuickTime Conversion command, every frame is always recompressed.

Determining Processing Color Space During QuickTime Movie Export

The color space (RGB or Y′CBCR) used for processing during QuickTime movie export depends on what you select before exporting:

  • A sequence in the Browser, the current sequence in the Timeline, or a sequence clip: Color space is determined by the settings in the Video Processing tab of the Sequence Settings window.
  • A clip in the Browser or Viewer: Clips in the Browser or Viewer do not have video processing settings in the way that sequences do. When a clip’s media file and export codec both support Y′CBCR color space, the clip is processed using Y′CBCR color space. For example, if you export a DV clip in the Browser to a DVCPRO HD QuickTime movie, Y′CBCR color space is used because both the original and exported formats support this color space.

    If any step of processing requires RGB processing (such as effects or the source or destination codec), the export happens in RGB color space. This is true even if the destination codec uses Y′CBCR color space.