Final Cut Pro Export Error: Why it Occurs

Final Cut Pro

We sometimes export several Final Cut Pro projects on a single day. When we are not careful enough, we see an export error as shown in Screenshot 01. Once, we saw this error message after waiting for Final Cut Pro for 7 to 8 hours to finish compressing a video. That really hurt our schedule.

Apple Final Cut Pro export error
Screenshot 01
Apple Final Cut Pro export error
Screenshot 02

A few months ago, I saw a post at Apple Support Discussions for Japanese users ( where one said that a cause of an export error might be a wrong file destination and/or a wrong volume where project files are stored. This post seems to have been since removed. Anyway, that’s unlikely to be a direct cause. We have all Final Cut Pro projects stored on an external FireWire-powered hard disk drive. In many cases, we export QuickTime movies to this volume. We even export final QuickTime videos to a USB disk in some occasions. And we have never seen an error message caused by the file destination or storage volume.

By the way, we intentionally caused an export error shown in the screenshot. We knew the cause whenever we saw an export error. 

One simple reason for an export error to occur is space shortage. For example, if you expect a movie to be 500 MB in file size, then you should have at least 500 MB of empty space on the volume at the export destination. The size of an export file is 4 kilobytes until the last minute. When the progress bar reaches 33% for the first sequence (The case applies when you use the batch export mode.), then Final Cut Pro will gradually finish writing the final file. That’s why you won’t see the error message until the very end of the export process.

Apple Final Cut Pro export error
Screenshot 03
Apple Final Cut Pro export error
Screenshot 04

Another reason for an export error to occur that we can think of is how Energy Saver is configured. As shown in Screenshot 03, you can find Energy Saver preference pane when you open System Preferences. Don’t let your Mac to go sleep while Final Cut Pro is working. I’m sure you know that.

Also, don’t let the destination drive to go sleep while Final Cut Pro is working. If you have an external drive to which you want to export QuickTime movies, then you need to disable the option for hard disk sleep. (See Screenshot 04.) We format the internal hard disk drive of the main machine and reinstall OS every three to four months. Whenever we reinstall OS, we forget to disable this option. It’s a simple cause, which we always forget after reinstalling OS.

Final Cut Pro is a product of Apple, Inc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.