Problems Uploading to YouTube From Final Cut Pro X

Posted on by Larry

Recently, I’ve had a lot of emails from editors with problems uploading (Sharing) files to YouTube directly from Final Cut Pro X.

So, I did some checking and discovered that the problems were caused by Google.

In early April, Google changed the APIs that control uploading to YouTube. These changes broke all automated upload systems – meaning uploads originating anywhere except a Browser – including Final Cut Pro X.

Then, on April 19, Google changed these APIs back to their original settings. This meant that YouTube exporting works again inside FCP X.

Hopefully, Google will leave things alone for a while.

On a related note, I’m getting periodic reports of problems with Vimeo uploading and DVD burning. These settings have not changed in FCP X 10.0.8, so they should still work.

However, my general preference and recommendation is to handle Sharing in three steps:

  1. Export a Master File ( File > Share > Master file). This provides the fastest export with the highest quality.
  2. Review that master file to make sure it looks and plays OK.
  3. Compress, or transfer, that master file as needed using Compressor.

Yes, this process takes a couple of extra steps, but I have found the results to be consistently higher quality and most reliable. It is also the fastest way to export.

BIG NOTE: As FCP X shares (exports) a file, it creates a file name with the word “TEMP” at the end. This means that the export is continuing and, for some projects, that export can take a long time as FCP both renders and exports a project. Do not do anything with a file that has TEMP at the end of the file name. Wait until the export is complete, and the word TEMP disappears before moving, renaming, or compressing the exported file.

As always, I am interested in your comments.


15 Responses to Problems Uploading to YouTube From Final Cut Pro X

  1. Brad says:

    Using Compressor gives you higher quality videos for YouTube? I thought that Compressor might make you lose some quality in the interest of a quicker upload.

    • Larry says:

      Not true. Most video files are far too big to upload to YouTube without some compression. Compressor has a specific YouTube setting which reduces the size of the file while minimizing compression artifacts.


  2. Eric Peacock says:

    I agree 100% on doing the master file export, then encoding a master H.264 file for uploading.

    I’ve been doing this for years with FCP 5,6,7 and now X. Every time I try to use the shortcuts I end up regretting the quality.

  3. Tracy says:

    Agreed. I seldom use FCP X or 7 as a compressor. Actually, I am still using Quicktime 7 Player to compress finals. Guess I should really learn Compressor, but it seems so unwieldy.

    • Larry says:


      I found that taking the time to learn Compressor is worth it due to MUCH faster encodes, higher quality and more flexibility in compression settings


  4. says:

    I wonder if all compression jobs goes through the same engine, but the compression settings for YouTube, Vimeo, etc are just a mediocre balance between speed and file size. This is my assumption.

    I keep track of optimal H.264 data rates, the core of which are:
    1280×720 either 3Mbps or 5Mbps
    1980×1080 either 5Mbps or 7Mbps
    I’ve heard Vimeo 1080p is about 7Mbps.
    If you want to give Vimeo the highest quality for *them* to compress, I’d go as high as 12 or 14Mbps. This is also good if you want to share footage, as people can download the 14Mbps version. For context, I think a Canon HDSLR shoots at 6Mbps.

    If you learn Compressor you can make Sharing Destinations, ie. export settings presets – for FCPX. This becomes the route for sharing all files. Especially handy if you work with 2.4:1 dimensions for cropping masters. Also great for creating various web settings for Vimeo, low res editing viewers for Dropbox, etc. It saves doing the settings repeatedly in Quicktime.

    • Larry says:


      Your assumption is not quite correct. YouTube ALWAYS recompresses your video to create all the different formats that they need for playback. Because of this, all good YouTube presets are designed to create video that can be recompressed with limited loss in quality. For this reason, the file sizes of a file prepped for YouTube are FAR larger than a file to be posted to a local website.

      Your local website won’t recompress the video – and the settings you list above are fine for the final version. YouTube will. You need to give it plenty of extra bits to throw away, or the final YouTube version will look terrible.

      You are correct in that you can create a custom Compressor setting which can be directly accessed in FCP X.


  5. Craig says:

    For those interested YouTube’s recommendations.

    Note they mention for 720 5000kbps standard and 30,000kbps high quality for “creators.”

    Compressor targets 10,000kbps in HD720 for Video Sharing services so it’s certainly above YouTube standard. If you want to get closer to high quality and have the upload bandwidth just duplicate and increase the data rate.

    Missing from Compressor is the ability to use High Profile and CABAC entropy which can help the quality a bit more

    If you want, you can add MyCometG3 x264 Quicktime Component for even better H.264 encoding. It works inside Compressor when you select Quicktime Components, gives you a nicer codec and some additional controls.
    Note that development stopped early 2012. That’s probably because Apple is moving away from Quicktime Frameworks and to AVFoundation CoreMedia.

    Because of that I can’t help but think Compressor is going to get an upgrade around the time OS 10.9 is released this summer.

    Key takeaway is the Compressor’s current preset is already double the “standard” and you can easily improve on that by either raising the data rate and/or adding the FREE x264 component. Compressor is very flexible that way.

  6. Dwayne Ford says:

    Larry, I have the latest version of FCPX and Compressor. You spoke earlier about using Compressor’s settings for exporting to Youtube. I don’t know about you, but my version of Compressor has a Youtube/Vimeo setting that has neglected to add “hinted streaming” so that if you use this pre-set, you will get a humiliating, computer generated message when you upload that your settings are not as good as they should be.

    You have to duplicate that setting, add the hinted streaming then save as.

  7. Steve G says:


    In FCP X 10.0.8, I use File > Send to Compressor… then use DVD Studio Pro 4 to burn my project to DVD. Are you saying that exporting a Master File and then opening it with Compressor will produce a higher quality result?

    • Larry says:


      Not necessarily. However, a number of users are reporting problems when burning DVDs. Consider this to be an alternative approach.


  8. Zack says:

    I have a problem where whenever i try to export my file it gets stuck at 50% and won’t move past it? I’ve tried everything i can think of any tips?

    • Larry says:


      Can you export the file using File > Share > Master file?

      If not, then there’s a problem with the media in your file somewhere around the middle. Delete stuff until it exports, then decide how to fix the media that’s broken.

      If it exports OK, then there’s a problem with the YouTube transfer. Try exporting the file, compressing using Compressor, then transfer to YouTube manually.

      If it doesn’t compress, you most likely have bad media in the middle of your project.

      Take this in small steps. See where it breaks down. Try different ways of exporting, or just exporting portions of the project, until you find the bad media or render files that are causing problems.

      Generally, stock footage is the first culprit. After that, delete all generated media (File > Delete Generated Media) for your project and re-render.

      One of those should fix it.


  9. Angela says:

    I have tried everything to fix my issue. Each time I try to share anything on FCP 10.3.4 it crashes and the version before. I’ve tried making new libraries, deleting preferences/generated files – all the fixes I can find. I have reinstalled my os 10.11.6 (can’t update as I have an early 2008 macpro). I love this programme so much, but I have given up…unless you can help please?

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