Creating WMV Files from Final Cut Pro Projects

Posted on by Larry

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


Neil McLeod sent in this question:

We have produced an 8 min video using Final Cut Studio 3. For ease of use we have created an .mp4 version but the client is also asking for a .wmv file for those of his clients who are unfortunately stuck with PCs, and who may not have Quicktime on their systems.


The original has a “Motion” opening and when we export the whole movie in Final Cut using Export > Using Quicktime Conversion > Windows Media, only the “Motion” section converts.


When we removed the “Motion” section and ran the conversion again, only the first Final Cut clip converted. There are transitions between most clips.


We have tried the same procedure using “Flip4Mac” and also “MPEG Streamclip” with identical results.


If we export the .mp4 to an .avi it works in full but the file size increases. If we then try to convert the .avi to .wmv we again get the limited conversion only.


We raised this at the Genius Bar in the new Apple store here in Aberdeen but they are mystified.


What am I missing?

UPDATE – Jan. 2, 2010

Matt Davis writes:

Silly straight-up answer: if only the first 30 seconds of your movie is encoding, you may have not ‘upgraded’ the Flip4Mac license to something that compresses (e.g. Studio, HD). Right, now that forehead slapper is out of the way…


I would try using Export > QuickTime Movie, and make it self contained, using your editing codec (or ProRes HQ and up if you know why you need it). That gives you one perfect movie to work from.


Then take this through your choice of encoding software that uses the Flip4Mac WMV component and experiment from there:

– Compressor
– Episode
– Squeeze or even
– QuickTime Pro player (the V7 version, not Snow Leopard’s version)

One oddness I and a colleague have noticed which may be limited to our setups is that the WMVs appear to have a 3 frame sync issue, but checking them on a PC – even Parallels – shows that they work fine for the intended audience.


I’m a little leery of exporting movies for encoding which are not self contained, and also would not want FCP doing the encoding as there’s so much more one can do in a specialist app. Furthermore, even on a MacBook Pro, I can edit and encode at the same time.

Anneli Tofte, from Stockholm, adds:

In the last newsletter Neil McLeod wrote about trouble converting to wmv. In my experience it is often better to export the sequence to a movie file in its native format and open the movie file in Quick Time Pro 7 (in my case QT 7.6.4) and convert it from there. I have Flip4mac on my system but I think QT is more reliable than FCP when exporting to wmv.

Craig Moore adds:

I’m assuming that he doesn’t have the full Flip4Mac software/codec and thus only getting a 30 demo/test clip export.


It doesn’t matter what program you are using if you have installed Flip4Mac as they will default to using that codec (i’m pretty sure).


You could find a version of VisualHub and use that (it doesn’t use the flip4mac codec) but it uses a much older version of Windows media.


I’d recommend using a video share site like vimeo (plus) and use password protected uploads for viewing or even user restricted sharing on youtube if it’s not confidential.

UPDATE – Jan. 5, 2010

Clint Hayes writes:

Regarding Neil McLeod’s WMV conversion issue, it sounds like he’s experiencing the same thing I was last spring. Any WMV conversion I attempted would cut off at thirty seconds, regardless of the application I was using, be it FCP, Streamclip, or Flip4Mac. I finally learned that it was my trial copy of Telestream’s Flip4Mac that was limiting me. It says on the Telestream website:


“Flip4Mac WMV Player operates in trial mode until you purchase a license. During the trial period, all features are enabled but the components will restrict the duration of any export to Windows Media to 30 seconds. Importing a WMV file into QuickTime or QuickTime based applications and converting those files to QT compatible files will result in a video watermarked with the Flip4Mac trademark. Once a file is converted while in trial mode, the watermark cannot be removed.”


Once I purchased the full version of Flip4Mac, voila, I got full conversions. It appears those other apps use the Flip4Mac conversion for their encoding, because that solved the issue across all of the affected apps.


Hopefully that helps Neil, if you haven’t learned it from somebody else already.


As a note, a quick study of the features shows that anything less than Flip4Mac Studio Pro ($99) probably won’t be of much use to professional videographers. They should take a close look at the asterisks in the feature list before they decide on a package. They’re fairly limited in frame sizes and WMA9 export ability with anything less than Studio Pro.

Larry replies: Thanks, everyone, for writing.


Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Creating WMV Files from Final Cut Pro Projects

  1. Eric B. says:

    I am using Compressor 4 with Flip4Mac Studio.

    I purchased the upgrade and I can see that it says Studio in my system preferences. I also restarted like the install stated.

    When I try to encode from Compressor, it will only do the first thirty seconds.

    Is there something I need to do within Compressor 4 to have it recognize that studio is installed?

  2. cheesdown says:

    Avdshare Video Converter can convert any FCP directly exported video file to WMV, AVI, MKV, FLV, ASF, RMVB, WTV, TS, etc

  3. paulaadriananew says:

    I use iDealshare VideoGo to convert Final Cut Pro videos to WMV, AVI, MPG etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Larry Recommends:

FCPX Complete

NEW & Updated!

Edit smarter with Larry’s latest training, all available in our store.

Access over 1,900 on-demand video editing courses. Become a member of our Video Training Library today!


Subscribe to Larry's FREE weekly newsletter and save 10%
on your first purchase.