Quicktime is plagued with a number of serious problems too long to go into on this list. It's OK for the web and youtube, but is a not a good choice for professional-grade output, its metadata is unreliable and it has a gamma shift to name just a few. Many of my clients are going away from QT for this and other problems it creates as they ramp up and invest in real file-based workflow solutions. Apple is aware of these issues and yet will not fix them – probably because FCP is a very small portion of their annual sales.
My advice is to stop using QT or expect many more issues down the line. Look into Adobe CS5, it really is superior now and handles native H.264, R3D, and others formats right into the timeline and plays back in real time. Just my 2 cents. I happen to know the folks who work on it at Adobe and can say they really care about the quality of the images they are producing, their new CS5 is proof.
PS – when you screen a movie you may be better off showing a DVD than a compressed HD file off a laptop (also, DVD's are more reliable). Bitrates are tricky, try not to ever go under 25 MB/s. Best advice is to watch them all side by side if in doubt. Here is a nice blog on the subject of quality in the compressed world: http://www.pagetable.com/?p=484
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Is anyone else out there having this issue with FCP. Whenever I got to export out of FCP, I use EXPORT USING COMPRESSOR. I get it all set up and start the process only to have FCP crash during the process. It is happening more often than not lately. I use to be able to at least do a short export, but today, not so much. So then what I do is just use export using QUICKTIME MOVIE and then take that into Compressor and all works well. It is just an extra step of compression that I was trying to avoid. Thanks for any input.
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