Creating Multiple Output Files

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the April, 2009, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Jim Mitchell writes:

Your training has been fantastic and I enjoy the newsletter. I am bringing in 10-bit uncompressed clips from digibeta through an AJA Io and re-purposing those clips. Each clip (and there are thousands) has a unique clip number. I sweeten each clip in FCP.


Then, I want to output each clip from FCP in the following formats:


– Output back to digibeta through the AJA with no watermark for archiving
– Output DV quality of the same clip with no watermark to our on-line server
– Output MPEG4 of the same clip with a unique water mark to our on-line server
– Output MPEG4 of the same clip with a 2nd unique water mark to our on-line server


In all, each clip gets re-purposed 4 times.


Question: Is there any sort of batch export that one can do to output all these different formats simultaneously or must each format and each unique watermarked clip be brought out individually? These uniquely numbered clips must be kept separate from one clip to the next but all four formats bear the identical clip number for cross reference in the database. This means I can’t drag them all to the time line and make one big movie. Each clip must remain separate and unique unto itself so it can be loaded with its appropriate meta data into the database of the server in all the various formats and two watermark configs. What would you do?

Larry replies: While you can’t do this in one step, you can do it in four:

  1. Output to DigiBeta (i.e. record to tape)
  2. Export a high-res file (i.e. 10-bit uncompressed) to your hard disk using the naming convention of your choice.
  3. Create a droplet in Compressor that creates the three file versions you need: DV and MPEG-4, with and without watermark.
  4. You could automate this further using Automator to watch a particular folder and automatically start compressing a files as soon as it is done exporting from Final Cut Pro.

The benefit to using Compressor is that it does batch processing, format transcoding, watermarking, and FTP transfer all while running the background.

Here is an article on creating droplets: Creating A Compressor Droplet

UPDATE – April 2, 2009

Robert Croy asks:

I have been trying to [follow your step #4] but have the problem that if it is a folder action it will fail because the action wants to start as soon as the file is being written or downloaded. So how would you do this?

Larry replies: Rob, when I have been working with Automator, I have read that there is a setting in Automator that says “wait until file download is complete.” But, I am not an Automator kind of guy, so while I know it is there, I haven’t used it.


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