Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Final Cut Pro's Batch Export

Batch Export has been a lifesaver for an ongoing documentary I've been cutting. The project will likely last a few years as things are continually documented.

One neat thing about the project is that weekly it seems I'm handed some pretty old footage that no one's seen in years if ever, however much of it is on old videotape. VHS, Hi-8, Umatic, Betamax, etc… I never know what's going to be in the boxes I'm handed.

I load in the tapes usually at night when it's quiet so I can hear any tape crinkling up or snapping (some of these tapes are OLD, folks) or tearing inside since some long-dead bug crawled into it, died and stuck the tape together on the spindle. That was fun.

I just wanted to mention Final Cut Pro's Batch Export feature which I use a lot when as I do some preliminary organization of all this footage. There are two basic ways to use it:

Batch Exporting Sequences or Portions of Sequences

If you have several sequences with some stuff edited in them but only need to export portions of the timelines you can set In and Out points in the sequences and then in the Bin that contains the sequences, highlight the sequences and right-click and select Batch Export.

Batch Export (after you go through the various settings) will batch export only what's between the In and Out points of each sequence.

Things to keep in mind:

1. Make sure all your sequences in the Timeline are fully rendered.
2. In Batch Export's settings make sure to select "Use Item In/Out".
3. Make sure you've set Include Audio and Video and Make Movie Self-Contained according to your needs.
4. If you don't set In and Out points your entire sequence will be exported when you use Batch Export this way.

Batch Exporting Subclips

If you have more complexity when exporting things from FCP you can export subclips. It's not hard but there are a few gotchas to be aware of.

Basically, in the Timeline or Viewer set your In and Out points as usual and hit Command + U to make subclips. Name them something helpful to you.

Optional Step:

Once you have all the subclips you need to export, highlight them, then head to Modify > Remove Subclip Limits in the Menubar. This turns them into Master Clips and is a handy way to have more "handles" on subclips if the original subclip wasn't long enough or you want to tweak the In and Out points before Batch Exporting. It's not necessary for batch exporting them, however.

Select the bin containing them and right-click and select Batch Export.

Batch Export will export each subclip as a separate clip.

But what if you have a bunch of Markers set in a long video clip that you want to Batch Export? No Problem, it's in another post here.

Things to keep in mind:

1. Try and keep your subclips organized in one bin.
2. If you have your subclips in some order in your Timeline and want to retain that, drag them from there into a separate bin just to keep things organized and this allows you to highlight them all and export them separately simultaneously.
3. Select "Use Item In/Out".
4. Set Include Audio and Video and Make Movie Self-Contained according to your needs.


Eric said...

The "Remove Subclip Limits" is handy if you're editing with the subclips . But if you're using Batch Export on them, that step is pointless, as the Quicktime Movies that result will be set from the in and out of the subclip and will have NO handles.

Otherwise, a great tip. I've been using that since my days of cutting wedding videos from mini-DV tape. Pull in the tape using "Capture Now", subclip the 50 minute long clip, batch export to a firewire drive, and edit. Batch Export even preserves the reel number on each new file (if you assigned one to the original capture in the first place.)

Walker Ferox said...

Excellent point. I like to remove subclip limits so I can make any last minute changes before exporting. I should have mentioned that.