11 Replies Latest reply: Nov 20, 2012 8:41 AM by Luis Sequeira1
rundadrun Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I have a strong desire to use FCPX as a long-time user of FCE. I dl'd the trial and liked everything about it EXCEPT the unbelievable slowness of rendering. This was true when background rendering was used or not.


Something I am doing must be wrong becuase I can use the same footage in FCE, iMovie 11 and Adobe Premier and all render 4-8 times faster than FCPX! IN iMovie I don't even have to render at all I import, cut, edit and export.


I have read through many of the discussions here and searched on the wen and it seems to revolve around the input settings, the sequence settings and how they interact together- after that there seems to be conflicting information. In Adobe, you can drag a clip onto a "new" button and this automatically matches the new sequesnce with the settings of the clip so that they match=reduced or eliminated rendering.


I cannot find a feature like this in FCPX


I import from only 2 sources a Panasonic in AVCHD format and ocassionaly an iPad2


Im looking for an outline/workflow that I can incorporate to check


1. how do I confirm the settings of the footage I have imported?

2. how do I comfirm the FCPX new sequence has the same settings as the imported info?

3. What if they don't match? can I change either settings OR do I have to import the footage, then convert it to something else using MPG streamclip or similar before using?

4. What natice sequence settings in FCPX produce the least amount of rendering?

5. Why do some effects (which are supposed to NOT need rendering) still requiring rendering?


Are there any tips and tricks that your experieince would help me to define and speed up the processing?


I use a mac mini with 8 GB ram imported clips are always less than 1/2 hour if I can learn to reduce/eliminate the unnessecary rendering it would make the program useable- as I am using it now it adds to my workload rather than reduce it-




  • Luis Sequeira1 Level 6 Level 6 (8,375 points)

    If your clips play well enough, you don't need to render. Consider turning "background rendering" off completely.


    You say you use a mac mini with 8GB of RAM, but don't comment on what hard drive you use. If you are using the internal, then that is most likely the major cause for a slowdown - internal drives are not the recommended choice for FCP X, and for good reason; and it may be worse, as most minis have only 5400rpm drives.


    When you create a new project, instead of choosing the settings, let it so that the first clip dropped into the project timeline determines those settings. This way the project and clips will match.


    Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 2.01.49 PM.png

  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (18,855 points)

    Also, you are at a disadvantage with a machine that lacks a dedicated GPU. Here is a performance comparison using the latest Mini and a MBPr that may be of interest.


    By further way of comparison, I'm typing this on a 4 year old MBP with 4 GBs of RAM. Export speeds are acceptable…not lightning speed, but a lot faster than legacy FCP.


    No need to use MPEG Streamclip. Have FCP create optimized media.



  • rundadrun Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you Luis, I use an external hard drive at 7200 rpm FCPX resides on the internal hard drive.

    The clips appear to play fine, however the backround rendering is ALWAYS running...My understanding is that if the import is in the correct format the only rendering needed is specific effects, and I am needing to render ANY and ALL effects even those supposed to be native and not needing rendering.

  • Luis Sequeira1 Level 6 Level 6 (8,375 points)

    "Background rendering" as it is called in FCP X is a misnomer.

    Technically, there is no "background rendering" in FCP X.

    It should be called "idle rendering", because that's what it is: FCP X will render when you stop editing for a while, it is NOT rendering things in the background while you are editing.



    If you see an orange line at the top of your timeline this means that something "needs" rendering - it does NOT mean that something "is" rendering. Depending on your settings, it may stay that way.

    I, as some other people on these forums, chose to turn "background rendering" OFF.

    Of course, this also means that once an orange line appears, indicating that some section needs rendering, it will stay there all the time (unless I manually make it render - use Ctrl-R for render selection, or Ctrl-Shift-R for render all).


    So basically, background rendering cannot always be running (unless you are not editing).

  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10 (113,770 points)

    What's a native effect that doesn't need rendering?

  • rundadrun Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Even something like a cross dissolve starts the backround render process...

  • rundadrun Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    So, I will attach a screen sho...Simple input AVCHD iinto an event moved to a project...couple cross dissolves and a title...rendered it completely (why becuase I had to) opened project back up....Orange line no background rendering because I turned it off...My confusion is 1. why did I have to render it in the first place and 2. why does every small change (addition of a cross dissovle) place the orange line back above the project?

  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10 (113,770 points)

    Anything for which there isn't media needs to be rendered. The best thing to do I think is to switch off background rendering, rather than leaving the computer to needlessly render things you might alter. Many things that need rendering will still play in realtime, though with perhaps a dropped frame now and then.

  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10 (113,770 points)

    1. Because there is no media on your hard drive that is cross dissolve or title with video. Just because it has to be rendered doesn't mean you can't play it.


    2. Because if you change it the render file you created is no longer relevant and a new render file has to be created. Again you don't have to render for most playback. You don't even have to render fit export. It will be rendered into the export file.

  • rundadrun Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you Tom- I think my perception of what I was expecting got in the way- I like to render as I go about editing, thinking that I would save time at the end when I export the project. I did not realize that I was duplicating the work flow and that it would render at the tiime of export.


    I was actually able to use a couple clips today- quick question...I want to export the file into the .mov or .mp4 format- Idid not see that as an available option. I did see h.264 Prores422 etc... and others, but not those- am I missing something?

  • Luis Sequeira1 Level 6 Level 6 (8,375 points)

    I was actually able to use a couple clips today- quick question...I want to export the file into the .mov or .mp4 format- Idid not see that as an available option. I did see h.264 Prores422 etc... and others, but not those- am I missing something?


    mov or mp4 are "container" formats, while h264 and ProRes422 are "codecs". A mov file may contain a movie using h264, ProRes422 or a miriad other codecs.


    The default export creates a mov file; you get to choose which compression ("codec") to use. For a master file, keep the same format as your project (usually ProRes). For distribution, you'll probably want h264. There are a lot more options, but this should get you started. ProRes creates huge files, with high quality. H264 is highly compressed and has good or great quality (or lousy, depending on content and/or compression...)