Avoiding Final Cut’s Rendering

October 5, 2010

Posted by Michael Murie, http://notesonvideo.blogspot.com/

Officially, Final Cut Pro doesn’t support the media files produced by DLSRs like the Canon 7D or Nikon D90. That’s not entirely true; you can import those files into a Final Cut project without doing conversion, and add them to a Timeline quite happily. The annoying part is that no matter how you set up the Project, Final Cut will want you to Render the Timeline before it will play it back in real time in the preview window. If you simply play it back in the preview window, you get a blue screen with a “Needs to be Rendered” message.

But there are ways to work around this.

  1. You can force Final Cut to playback footage that needs rendering by using the Option-P [play all] command instead of the regular play command.
  2. or you can open the QuickViewer and view the project there (the QuickViewer is under the Tools menu.)

Neither will play your project at actual speed, but they will play! It’s a great way to see what a simple change does without having to wait for Final Cut to render the sequence.

Adjusting the RT options in the sequence can also help whether Final Cut will play footage without rendering (see the article: Unlimited RT vs. Safe RT.)

A final note for those using Final Cut to edit DSLR footage. If I’m doing a quick assemble edit, I generally just drag the native files into the Project and live with the fact that Final Cut wants to Render things. But if I’m going to do extensive editing, I either use the Canon plug-in for Final Cut, or MPEG Streamclip to transcode to ProRes LT and then edit with those files.

One thought on “Avoiding Final Cut’s Rendering

  1. I kid you not but last week I cut an entire sequence using native files from DSLRs on my MacbookPro using FCP6 and it didn’t require rendering. It was jumpy from time to time but didn’t impair my ability to cut right there and then.


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