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How long a movie can FCP X make?

348 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Jan 17, 2013 7:53 AM by BenB RSS
dgbmunger Calculating status...
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Jan 16, 2013 2:11 PM

What are the limiting factors of Final Cut Pro X? Where do I find a statement of time limit, gigs, etc?

I can't find this for iMovie '11 either. Where is it?

Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (12,945 points)
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    Jan 16, 2013 2:38 PM (in response to dgbmunger)

    I thought this recently came up in another thread, but I couldn't find it.


    Presumably there is a theoretical limit, but AFAIK, there's nothing published by Apple.


    As a practical matter, it's a different story. Depending on the complexity of the project and how robust the hardware is, as project length increases at some point  FCP's responsiveness will decrease. At point there are a number of strategies that can be used to complete the job.


    Are you just curious or were you contemplating something specific?



  • dastoelk Level 3 Level 3 (650 points)
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    Jan 16, 2013 2:41 PM (in response to Russ H)

    Russ is right. It is a factor of hardware, not software. RAM, CPU speed, GPU speed and amount of media storage. Most of us break up long form projects into 20 minute segments.

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)
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    Jan 16, 2013 2:47 PM (in response to dgbmunger)

    I have not seen anything published, but architecturally, FCPX will make a much longer movie than iMovie.


    iMovie will do all rendering in one pass, when you share the project.


    FCPX can and does do multiple renders, so while it can do much more complex editing and effects, the load on your processor, graphics card, and memory can be much lighter than in iMovie, so you can do much longer projects.


    In iMovie, you have to juggle all the balls in the air at the same time. In FCPX, you can jusggle a few balls at a time until you are done (and this is all handled by FCPX - it is nothing you have to worry about.) 


    The only decision you have to make is whether to allow background rendering, so rendering starts whenever your processor is idle for a few seconds, or to wait and do your renders at the end.

  • dastoelk Level 3 Level 3 (650 points)
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    Jan 16, 2013 5:08 PM (in response to dgbmunger)

    No problem. You actually join ALL those segments together into one project just before you export.


    This is just to keep things from slowing down DURING the editing process. Once you are finished, it's quite okay to make one big timeline / projext.


    BTW: You can add chapter markers before bruing to DVD.

  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (12,945 points)
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    Jan 16, 2013 5:15 PM (in response to dgbmunger)

    Depends on your authoring tool.In DVD Studio Pro, Encore, iDVD, Toast et al, you can do multiple tracks and have links to those tracks. Make each a separate chapter.  If you make your DVD in Compressor or FCPX, you'll need to cut and paste to a master sequence because those programs are one-track authoring tools. If you want them to be individual chapters, inset a gap clip between them, and then put in chapter markers.


    Your project isn't unusually long. You may be able to do it in a single project.


    Good luck,



  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (12,945 points)
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    Jan 17, 2013 7:37 AM (in response to dgbmunger)

    One more thing…apropos your original question, here is an interesting and informed thread.



  • BenB Level 5 Level 5 (7,535 points)
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    Jan 17, 2013 7:53 AM (in response to Russ H)

    Proper workflow is that you never make hours long timelines to edit in.  Not even Hollywood editors do this.  You break your production up into Scenes.  Do one Compound Clip per Scene.  When done, drop all of the Scenes into a Project timeline for assymbly and export.


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