Exporting Videos With Final Cut Express

New to Final Cut Express

I’ve been teaching Photoshop to photography students for about 12 years.  When a recent student asked for training videos to supplement the instruction, I decided it was time to make some.  Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I went out and got a copy of Final Cut Express 4.0.  And so the fun begins.

Final Cut Blurries

After reading a few sections of the manual that comes with FCE, I was able to assemble a few mp4 video clips into a sequence.  However, when I tried to export the sequence to get a final video result (also an mp4), I hit a roadblock.  The resulting video was quite blurry and in a dynamic way.   That is, text in the video would sometimes be crisp and sometimes become a blur.  It was as if someone was pouring water over freshly painted watercolor. The blurriness would flow around the image.   I assumed that this was some kind of compression artifact, so I tried using different parameter settings during the export to fix the problem. No luck.  I finally concluded that there must be a bug in FCE’s processing of mp4 files.  So, I tried a different output format.  When I chose the Quicktime Movie format (an mov file), things started to work much better.  With the right settings, I was able to get clean, crisp output.  In this post, I’ll take you through the settings that I found to work, so you can get high quality exports without a fuss.

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