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Render Status In Final Cut Pro HD

The dreaded R word just won't go away! Rendering is the liver and onion sandwich that we all have to take a bite of, so in that case, lets make sure that we all understand the color coded render status bars in Final Cut Pro and what they signify.

First of all, if you're new to the editing game, rendering is the process of joining video and audio files with effects. Those effects could be transitions or filters which in turn create new files named render cache files, allowing you to play back those effects in the timeline. In contrast, if you had a timeline filled with sequences that use straight cuts, theoretically, you could view them without rendering.

Above the ruler in the timeline, there are two render status bars. The top one is for video and the bottom, you guessed it, is dedicated to the audio track.

Color Codes For What Does Or Does Not Require Rendering In The Timeline

Dark Gray: No rendering is needed.

Steel Gray: This has already been rendered.

Bright Green: This is a real-time effect, but will need to be rendered when you plan on outputting back to tape.


Dark Green: This is a real-time effect that can be played back and kicked out to video at full quality without rendering

Yellow: This effect will play in real-time, but without certain parameters. An example would be a wipe that has a soft edge. You would see the wipe, but the edge would not be soft until it is rendered.


Dark Yellow: The rendered effect's quality and frame rate have been reduced from the settings located in the Render Control Tab.

Orange: The effect has exceeded your systems ability for realtime playback, but are still enabled due to the selection of unlimited RT. The Unlimited RT option increases the chance of drop frames ocurring during sequence playback.

Blue: Signifies areas of playback where drop frames may result due to the presence of unsupported real-time enabler files.

Red: Realtime capablities have been exceeded and you must render before playback or export to tape.


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Final Cut Pro Capturing was the previous entry in this blog.

Unlimited RT in Final Cut Pro 5.1 is the next entry in this blog.

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