Retaining Chapter Markers

Posted on by Larry

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

Ben Balser writes:

I’m trying to export videos to H.264, or MPEG-4 Video, or some format for download, that will retain chapter markers. I can export my original DVCPRO-HD 720 masters that retain chapter markers in QT Player. I can export for iPod with chapter markers, but the screen size is too small.


Is there any listing that shows which codecs retain chapter markers from FCP and which don’t? I’m running lots of tests right now, and the results don’t always seem to be consistent, depending of it I export from FCP to self-contained QT, then recompress in QT Pro, or from FCP via Compressor.

Larry replies: Ben, this is a good question and I don’t know the answer. If any reader does, please drop me an email.

UPDATE – April 2, 2009

Zach Mull adds:

Regarding Ben Balser’s question about chapter markers in H.264, I experimented for a minute and found a workaround, but I’m not sure if it has any bad side effects it causes.


I can compress an H.264 file, bring that back into Final Cut Pro, edit it into a sequence and let FCP automatically adjust sequence settings to match the clip. Then I can add chapter markers, export it as a QuickTime movie, and and retain the chapter markers in QuickTime player. I don’t believe that FCP has to recompress any of the frames if I don’t apply filters or change anything in the motion tab, so I’m assuming there isn’t any quality dropoff. I should note that bringing the clip back into FCP limits your audio options.


I tried this with an H.264 QuickTime clip using AAC audio, and FCP brought it back to uncompressed PCM, I’m sure, since the file size increased significantly. So this method works, but I bet there’s a way to add chapter markers directly in QuickTime Pro.

Larry replies: Zach, very cool! Thanks.

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