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Final Cut Pro Advanced Technique: Working with DivX

DivX is an excellent compression tool for all kinds of video delivery, be it the Web, DVD, handheld and portable devices By Heath McKnight

DivX is known for its excellent codec, which can compress video file sizes down while maintaining a high level of overall image and sound quality. DivX Pro for Macintosh is an affordable software application ($19.99 USD) that gives the Final Cut Pro (FCP) user the capability to make fantastic-looking Web movies, DVDs (both standard definition [SD] and high definition [HD]) and full-resolution movies that wont clog up your hard drive.

When you purchase DivX Pro for Mac, youll get the DivX Player, Web Player, Converter (a standalone app for compressing movies) and Codec (part of Converter, found in FCP and QuickTime Pro [QT Pro]). Using DivX is very easy, and Ill show you some easy tips to get started.

Using DivX Converter
Lets say you have some QuickTime Movies youve already made for the Web. Open DivX Converter, and youll see the simple graphical user interface (GUI). Drag one of your QT Movies into the application and click the Convert button. Youll then be prompted to select a Profile level of compression, if ?Custom is selected, which will result in a file and frame size perfect for what youre looking for.


The settings for DivX.

The Profiles include: Handheld (cell phones), Portable (DivX-compatible devices like MP3 players; I usually select this for Web movies), Home Theatre (DivX-compatible DVD players), High Definition (again, for any DivX-compatible device, including your computer), and 1080HD (only for fast computers, thus far). Ill provide a link to the DivX-compatible DVD players and other hardware devices in the ?Viewing DivX Movies part of the article, near the end.
I havent tried it yet, but I am sure you could upload a movie compressed using any of these Profiles to the Web, but keep in mind, even with DivXs amazing compression capabilities, selecting High Definition or 1080HD may be too large a file for someone to patiently wait to download, even with broadband.

You can also add more or less compression by selecting what your target file size will be.  Select Advanced Settings, and you have full control of what will happen. Changing the frame size is a cinch, too. You can choose 1:1 for the Aspect Ratio (wont change at all) or maybe 4:3 or 16:9. However, setting the frame size to larger than your original movie will stretch the pixels. You also have control of the Codec (keep Encoding at 2-Pass) and the Audio. Unfortunately, its either no audio compression or MP3. But, if its on the Web, I highly doubt MP3 will matter. The audio sounds great, no matter what you select.

Once youve selected your settings, hit OK and the movie will begin converting and compressing, resulting in a great looking DivX movie.

Using DivX Codec in Final Cut Pro and QuickTime Pro

Once youre ready to export your FCP project via the DivX Codec, put an In and Out point on your timeline of either the section youd like, or the entire project.  Go to File, Export, Using QuickTime Conversion. Then select Format to change it from the default QuickTime Movie to DivX.

Creating DivX movies in Final Cut Pro.

Next, click Options to bring up the familiar settings list, and select which level of compression, frame size, file size, etc., best fits your project. Hit Okay, then select which external or non-boot hard drive you wish to save it to, then click Save to start compressing.

Creating DivX movies in QuickTime Pro.

In QuickTime Pro, you can select File, Export and choose Movie to DivX (under the ?Export), then click on Options to change settings. Note: QuickTimes Export to Web doesnt include the DivX Codec.

Viewing DivX Movies
Watching DivX movies requires the DivX Player, or the Web Player, which will allow everyone to see your masterpiece, either on computers or on the Web. DivX offers this as a free download at www.divx.com. Wherever I put up a DivX movie online, or a link, I always include a separate link to download the player. Even two to three years ago, Id have to put up links to download QuickTime Player wherever Id upload my QT Movies on the Web.

DivX Player

To see what hardware is compatible with DivX movies, visit www.divx.com/products/ to view the list. Youd be surprised how many DVD players are compatible, including Hi Def players (not Blu-Ray or HD DVD, keep in mind).
DivX For Windows

For Windows users, theres DivX Pro ($19.99 USD), which is the same overall as the Mac version, plus theres DivX Author, which allows even more control. Its $19.99 USD, and does everything DivX Pro can do, but also allows these great features: Edit together nearly all formats and frame rates into one DivX movie; Photo slideshows; and, the kicker, create DVD-style menus with chapter markers, special features, etc., for your DivX movie. 
In my opinion, if movie studios and companies pushing movie downloads were to include special features, like on a DVD, sales and rentals of downloadable movies will skyrocket.  (Of course, broadband needs to be more universal and much faster, including in remote areas.)

DivX is an excellent compression tool for all kinds of video delivery, be it the Web, DVD, handheld and portable devices. At $19.99 USD for the Mac and Windows versions of DivX Pro, and DivX Author (Windows-only), its too good a deal to pass up. In my next article, I will talk about DivXs Stage6 site, which allows you to upload and share your DivX movies even easier.  www.divx.com

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Heath McKnight is a filmmaker and author who has produced and directed several independent feature and short films, including Hellevator, 9:04 AM and December. He is currently web content manager for doddleNEWS. Heath was also a contributor to VASST's best-selling book, "The FullHD," and has written for TopTenREVIEWS and Videomaker.

Related Keywords:DivX Pro , video editing, compression, web video,

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