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Converting Final Cut Pro Movie For Youtube

March 20th, 2007 · 49 Comments

I have a client that wants to convert an exported Final Cut Pro movie and upload it to youtube. Since she lives in Raleigh and I’m in Greensboro I decided to post this tutorial for her.

First thing is to right click, or if your mouse does not have a right click, control click, on the media file and from the pull down menu select Open With and again from the pull down menu select QuickTime Player.


If you don’t have QuickTime Pro you can purchase it at Apple store for $30 and they will email you a registration name and number. In Quicktime goto File and select Registration and put the new information and it should work fine.
Now assuming you have QuickTime Pro you can go ahead and export a smaller file either as a Quicktime movie or MPEG-4. For this tutorial, I chose MPEG-4 I now used Quicktime movie. Go to the top menu and click on File and select Export.


A new window will pop up and this the export save as window. At the bottom of the window you will see two pull down menus. Select the top pull down menu that says Export: besides it.

Select Movie to MPEG-4 Movie to Quicktime Movie


Now since we are uploading a relatively short media file we want to encode it as high as possible. Select the second drop down menu that says Use: below the Export menu, and select Broadband – High.

Now just pick a place to save it on your computer and let the software so it’s work. After it completes the encode go to Youtube and sign up for an account or if you have one go ahead and upload your MPEG-4 .mov file. Remember to tag it with keywords that will help google and other search engines to find your video. Any questions feel free you ask away.

Tags: Apple · Final Cut Pro · Software · Tips

49 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Youtube » Youtube March 20, 2007 4:30 pm // Mar 20, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    […] Converting Final Cut Pro Movie For Youtube After it completes the encode go to Youtube and sign up for an account or if you have one go ahead and upload your MPEG-4 file. Remember to tag it with keywords that will help google and other search engines to find your video. … […]

  • 2 Keith // Mar 31, 2007 at 2:13 am

    Can’t you just export it to MPEG-4 through quicktime conversion in FCP?

  • 3 Andy Coon // Mar 31, 2007 at 9:14 am

    Of course you can. I should’ve put that in there. Thanks for commenting.

    My client already had her project exported to a FCP movie file so I just wanted to show her how to do a shortcut instead of opening FCP and exporting it through quicktime conversion.

  • 4 bhupen // Apr 24, 2007 at 1:42 am

    Anyone here would suggest on how to use the H.264 for youtube ?
    or which export options would yield the best quality youtube video ?
    Please help. I have read this and that but still in vain. I just got quick time pro for my windows. Not very user friendly though, but seems to have lots of options for encoding. Having too many choices makes it difficult to make a decision…. What’s the choice under `export’ best for youtube ? Can anyone give me details on that please! I will give you a credit on a video if you like that. See some very bad quality videos in the channel..

  • 5 Andy Coon // Apr 24, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    I would suggest using

    Export… Movie to MPEG-4
    Use… Broadband-High

    and let er rip that should do a good quality video for youtube.

  • 6 Brian M // May 17, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Is there any conflict with AAC audio and Youtube? I saw they recommend MP3 audio but FCP doesn’t output that way, any suggestions?

  • 7 leon bugsy // Jun 22, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Hey . . .
    how do you use this method for any lengthed video? the limit on youtube is 100mb , does this method always ensure it is within this limit?

  • 8 Andy Coon // Jun 22, 2007 at 10:08 pm


    Youtube now only allows you to upload 10 minutes no matter how big your files are…unless you are grandfathered into the 100MB limit no matter how long the clip is. If that is the case and you can upload clips longer than 10 minutes you can do this.

    In the Export menu select the Export dropdown menu to: Movie to MPEG-4 and Use: Broadband – High

    Click the Options button on the right and MPEG-4 Export Settings Menu will open. Change the Data Rate anywhere down to 300. You will see the File Size: on the bottom of the menu change.

    I hope that helps.

  • 9 Andy Coon // Jun 22, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    Brain M-

    Don’t worry about what Youtube recommends go ahead and upload your video via Quicktime and AAC audio. It will work fine. Sorry it took so long for me to get to your comment.

  • 10 Leon // Jun 29, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Cheers . . .
    it looks damn good !

    check out my films if you’d like, Augustus Lullaby is the newest . . .

    thanks again . . .

  • 11 Benny B // Jul 30, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    Howdy folks. This is a very informative column, however uploading in DivX and the mpg4 seem to be crappy quality? The file size is small- but why does the video look so pixelly and blurred? I tried using FCP QT conversion, and exporting the full DV and then converting via Quicktime…

    any help? some of my attempts are at

    (nice vids Leon- excited to get home and check them out with sound)

  • 12 Linko // Sep 17, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    Hi. You can export with the codec divx in FCP, export using quicktime conversion, in format select divx, in audio options select mp3.
    The codec divx download here:

    From the page of you tube:

    Uploading Your Videos to YouTube

    Once you’re happy with your final result, you’ll need to save the video in a format that YouTube can accept in order to upload. Unless you’re a professional video producer, we recommend that you save your videos as either QuickTime .MOV, Windows .AVI, or .MPG files? these are the most common formats and they work well within our system. We specifically recommend the MPEG4 (Divx, Xvid) format at 320×240 resolution with MP3 audio. Resizing your video to these specifications before uploading will help your clips look better on YouTube.

  • 13 pablo // Sep 29, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    How can I make anamorphic movies in Youtube

  • 14 Sabrefang // Oct 29, 2007 at 3:28 am

    Hello I am trying to find a good setting for youtube but I have a major issue that I can’t seem to get down. I would like to put the best quality on here but it seems no matter what I do I get these little lines that I notice show up on the raw clips and me being new to the Final Cut Pro world I have messed with everything but I can’t seem to get rid of them.

    The only resort I have will result a Generation Loss in the quality because it would require me using one of my windows programs because it seems that has always gotten rid of the lines.

    It is all I can really think of please can you help me with this I have a few videos I’m working on and I have been pressed for time into figuring it all out.

  • 15 Sabrefang // Oct 29, 2007 at 3:30 am

    Also I do realize that the cause of the issue in the first place is the cheap old Analog To Digital Converter I have.

  • 16 Andy Coon // Oct 29, 2007 at 1:19 pm


    Where are these lines located? If they are located at the top and bottom of your clips there is nothing you can do about it except crop the footage in FCP. I noticed if you import from VCR or TV analog, the top and bottom of the screen have a small buzz effect that you can easily crop out.

  • 17 Terry // Jan 17, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Where on the computer is the best place to save video?

  • 18 Andy Coon // Jan 18, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    The best place to save video is in a new folder for video.

    Create a folder and name it FCP Media

    Create another folder in FCP Media and name it whatever the name of your project is then save the video in that folder.

    That is just an organized way of saving things.

  • 19 Leo // Jan 28, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    when you de-interlace choose ‘lower even’, thats what got rid of my lines (top left)

  • 20 Sabrefang // Mar 8, 2008 at 6:31 am

    ok there is another problem I have this new HD camera I bought and I am using the SD video but the raw footage have lines all over the video whenever motion occurs is there any way to get rid of these I would like to be able to properly know what to do especially if I am working on big projects.

  • 21 Randall // Mar 24, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Anyone have any idea why I’m getting this “greyness” in the first second or two of my videos? Happened last year, and this year, too!

    Thanks! 🙂

  • 22 Andy Coon // Mar 24, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    I can make a rough guess. Every time I exported from Quicktime as an mp4 for youtube, the gray appears for the first couple of seconds. I would export with .mov instead of .mp4.

    Good luck

  • 23 Emily // Apr 22, 2008 at 2:58 am

    Hello I have two short films in mpg format that i made with fcp but in following your above steps I found that the video uploaded but not the sound. I did some digging around in the settings but can’t find the problem. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you in advance!

  • 24 Drew // May 7, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    I edited my movie on FCP but then had no choice but to upload it to YouTube using a PC. As long as the file you’re working with was exported by FCP as a Quicktime movie, it can be read by Windows Media Player. In this case, just “Save As…” in WMP, and type the “.mov” extension after the filename.

  • 25 Peter Crane // May 12, 2008 at 8:52 am

    I’ve got an even easier step for those of you who want their video ready for upload with minimal steps, straight for the timeline.

    Simply export your project to livetype. It’s that easy!
    File (or whatever it is – can’t check im on a pc)>Export to Livetype

    Make sure you uncheck the box that says ‘include markers… blah blah blah’, and you are good to go.

    minimal size, effort and decent quality for youtube.

  • 26 Todd412 // May 15, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Has anyone else had trouble getting audio in their youtube movies to sound good? I have tried numerous ways of exporting quicktime from FCP, but the sound is always horribly distorted when it gets converted to youtube!

    When I use the “options…” button within quicktime pro, it says my soundtrack is in AAC format, which seems like it may be the cause of the problem, but how does one convert the soundtrack of a FCP-exported QT movie to mp3 or another youtube-friendly format? Thanks!

  • 27 ezso // Jul 31, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    The best recipe for HQ YouTube movies is simple. Forget H.264, forget 320×240 format.
    Upload Your movie at:
    480×360, H.263 codec (the best results gives XViD) 1000 kbps, MP3 audio 96 kbps.
    After uploadnig You will see an option at YouTube: WATCH IN HIGH QUALITY

  • 28 Jacqui Krizo // Sep 25, 2008 at 1:31 am

    I have been making movies for a Western agriculture weekly newspaper. I use FCP, and when they receive my video it looks fine. When they put it on YouTube, for every frame played it skips several frames, thus looks very jerky and bad. Do you know what my problem is, and how can I fix it??

    thank you!!

  • 29 Howard // Sep 25, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    What kind of movie file are you making it into I know there’s a lot of issues with MPEG I usually make them into Quicktime at the highest quality possible without making it over 500MB

  • 30 Jacqui Krizo // Sep 26, 2008 at 1:25 am

    When I sent it to the newspaper it was 64.4 mb, because I was told YouTube won’t take more than 100mb. I sent it in QuickTime. It was 3/35 minutes. The last 2 turned out jerky like that. One before did also, but they had a tech person who somehow ran it through iMovie and that fixed it, although the quality was v e r y low. I don’t know how to do iMovie and would prefer sticking with FCP and quicktime.

    thanks for your attention!

  • 31 Steve in DC // Oct 20, 2008 at 11:36 am

    I’ve tried using Mpeg 4 to export my videos in FCP, but its always pixelized….even when I use Broadband high. Any recomendations? Are there formats that work better than Mpeg 4 for youtube?

  • 32 Andy Coon // Oct 20, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Steve don’t use MPEG-4 use quicktime movie as an export. That should clear things up.

  • 33 Steve in DC // Oct 20, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Great! Thanks…just to be sure…quicktime movies are supported by Youtube correct?

  • 34 Andy Coon // Oct 20, 2008 at 11:48 am

    yup. always has taken it

  • 35 Adam in Oz // Nov 24, 2009 at 2:55 am

    Thanks mate! Great advice.

  • 36 Allison // Dec 17, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Hey … this advice got me a little bit closer to finally getting my video on youtube but not quite.

    I made a 4 min video project on my school’s mac computer using Final Cut Pro. I’ve been trying to use my USB to take the file home and upload it to Youtube on my home PC. I’ve tried converting it to every file possible (AVI, MOV, MPEG etc) but when I get it home the file is empty. Now I know it is possible because when I first tried this it actually worked and I was able to watch my video on Youtube, however it was the wrong version. But ever since that first video, I have been unable to completely upload any videos.

    If anyone knows a solution please please help:)
    Thank you so much for the site!

  • 37 Alex // Dec 20, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Why not just upload them from your school’s Mac?

  • 38 Dr Lou // Feb 5, 2010 at 2:53 am

    I’m trying to get my 4000 dollar imac and FCP to export /render (what evert they call it) movies in HD over to You Tube…
    It says I can use 1-or 2 GB movies. Rendering takes between 20 mins and never….
    Uploads are really slow and any 1.x gig files just error out on upload with no clear reason.
    I have one that is a .MOV file, says its H.264 and it’s HD but have no idea how to build it…
    If I just export, then it hangs for ever, if I say export using quick time conversion, then it is a shorter time, but the output of MPEG4 is terrible quality, and the mov files are all around 1.x gbs…
    I can use the share tab but pushing to youtube hangs or fails, and to just share to disk is turning out all kinds of sizes except the 300MB one that I have already in there.
    Any ideas to help would be great- My sony vegas is sooo much easier, but the functions of FCP are better…just need to have the stupid Mac work fast for a change….Steve Jobs and the commercials about reliabilty are just plain LIES>..

  • 39 dkl // Feb 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    @Dr. Lou. The easiest way to explain it is: PEBKAC or PICNIC. (Google it) Instead of complaining that it is all the fault of the computer try taking a class or buying a book with tutorials.

  • 40 Leo // Feb 27, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    I got Quicktime Pro and opened my FCP file, but it still cannot play it. When I try to export it it fails and has an error message. Why won’t it play/export with QTP?

  • 41 Jack // Jun 20, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    So I’m using Final Cut express 4 hd, and when i export, the file is a .mov, and i clicked “Get info” and it said it was a quicktime file, but youtube says it does not recognize the file type. What do i do?

  • 42 Angela // Jan 15, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Ad on here is horrible ( – promoting violence (as usual equating sex and violence) – please remove or I won’t be back.

    I’m saving my video as a quicktime movie using H.264, but even if I put it on ‘medium’ setting, it’s too big – it’s only 6.5 mins – how do I save a smaller file but still maintain quality – thanks.

  • 43 Andy Coon // Jan 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm


    I understand why you feel that way but it is a little deeper than sex and violence. I created that ad for Corporate Assassin (an original creative idea) as a way to mock the ads you see on Myspace and other popular sites that promote the cute girl looking into the camera playing with males to join. I consider those ads as spam and playing with males weakness of oh wow, she is waving at me…let me go sign up. The Corporate Assassin is a dark comedy that is not for everyone. Safe to say it is not for you.

    You have an option, you can either get the answer for this question here with the ad up or you can go elsewhere and find someone that takes their time to answer editing questions from complete strangers. I’m sure you can find it elsewhere, best place is at the Final Cut Pro discussion forms.

  • 44 Clinton Waller // Apr 9, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Here is how to export a video from Final Cut Express v4.01 for best results with

    make sure your video sequence is highlighted and then:

    File->Export->Using Quicktime Conversion…
    Format=Quicktime Movie
    Click the “Options…” button
    Make sure Video checkbox is checked
    Click the “Settings…” button
    “Compression Type” pulldown menu=H.264
    Go with the default settings here
    (or set Quality to “High” and encoding to “Best quality (Multi-pass))
    Click “OK”
    ignore the “Filter…” button
    Click the “Size…” button

    (because it really does matter)

    “Dimensions” pulldown menu=”1280 x 720 HD”

    (tip: don’t use “HD 1280 x 720 16:9”)

    “Preserve aspect ratio using”=clear checkbox
    “Deinterlace Source Video”=clear checkbox

    (shoot your video in progressive scan for internet, or deinterlace it if your video was shot interlaced else you’ll have lines running thru your video all the time when it’s viewed online)
    (just go progressive.. it’s the future, baby!)

    Click OK

    Sound checkbox is checked
    Click “Settings…”
    Format=Linear PCM
    Channels=Stereo (L R)
    Rate=192.000 kHz
    Sample size=32 bits
    Little Endian=checked
    Floating Point=cleared

    (tip: your video might end up silent if you select 64 bits or floating point.. it seems to break YouTube’s encoder if you go beyond 32 bits)

    “Preview” button is broken, don’t bother
    Play Source=cleared
    Click OK

    “Prepare for Internet Streaming”=clear

    (tip: your choice.. i’m still experimenting with this option but clearing this checkmark always yields consistent results so that might be the best option for now.)

    Click OK

    enter a filename that delights you
    Click the “Save” button

    You’ll notice your movie starts rendering quickly until about 9% and then it seems to hang for a long time.. don’t worry, this is “normal” for Final Cut.. go make some coffee and mow the lawn or something.

    It will take about 20 minutes to an hour to render most likely, so be patient.

    The final product is a very sharp looking 1280x720p movie compressed/encoded with H.264 and very crisp audio quality that works well with

    Good luck!


  • 45 kathy // Jul 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Thanks, Clinton! it looks fantastic! however, i told it 1280 x 720 and those are the dimensions, but it looks like it is 16:9 even though i did not select that.

    the quality is very sharp and the audio is excellent.

  • 46 Clinton Waller // Jul 25, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    1280×720 is a 16:9 aspect ratio =)

    One tip I’ve learned since my previous post — go ahead and check the box “Prepare for internet streaming”

  • 47 Rebecca // Aug 23, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    You are most helpful indeed 🙂

  • 48 Pushpal // Mar 26, 2012 at 3:52 am

    I have edited a commercial in FCP (timeline setting are XDCAM EX 1080i50 35 mb/s VBR) ,the footage is in hd format as well. Now i have to export it for you tube downloading purpose in HD format. What should be the dimensions and other setting to get max quality but less size. How about the mp4 conversion?

  • 49 Mik Aidt // Jul 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm

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