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NEWS & TUTORIALS

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Resize Images for Final Cut Pro To Decrease Render Times

Danny Greer
By Danny Greer
By Danny Greer

Want to decrease render times in Final Cut Pro (and Final Cut Pro X)?  Resize still images to an optimal size for your project sequence.

Although Final Cut Pro X renders in the background, it still taxes your computer’s processing power. Limiting the amount of necessary render time in both FCP and FCPX will have both you and your computer working faster!

One easy way to cut down on FCP and FCPX processing is to size your images to your project. With the proliferation of high megapixel digital cameras, I often see editors bringing photos into sequences that are unnecessarily huge.  Shrinking images down to 20 or 30% of their original size in FCP will be taxing on your machine and drive your render times through the roof.  Instead, run your images through an image editor (industry preference is Photoshop) and resize them before bringing into Final Cut Pro . Not only will you cut down on render times but it’ll will result in better looking pictures as well!

The trick here is to know the frame size of your video project.  

Most likely for NTSC the frame size will be :
720X480 (SD) or 1280X720 (HD) or 1920X1080 (HD)

If you’re needing to make big moves on your images or closely zoom in/out of them you’ll need to account for this when resizing.  However, for the most part if I’m doing a Ken Burns effect (subtle push and pan on images) I usually resize images to about 10-20% larger than the frame size of my video (this allows for some wiggle room when putting motion on the image).

To resize in Photoshop: 

  1. Open your image in Photoshop.
  2. Use the shortcut OPTION + COMMAND + I to open the “Image Size” window.
  3. Type in image dimensions (10-20% more than the dimensions listed above).  It doesn’t have to be an exact science, but you want to make sure your image size is close in size to your video frame size.
  4. In the “Image Size” window ensure that “Constrain Proportions” is checked.
  5. Resave the image and import into Final Cut Pro (X).

Be mindful not to decrease the size of the image too much!  Blowing up an image more than 100% in Final Cut Pro can also result in significant degradation of quality.

Take the time to resize! Bringing accurately resized images into FCP will save you time, allow your machine to run faster and your images to look a whole lot better!

Do you have any tips for working with images in FCP, FCPX, AVID or another editing application?  We want to know!  Please share your tips in the comments!