Reference Movie

“What is a reference movie in Final Cut, and how is it different from a self-contained movie?”

A reference movie or non-self-contained movie will only play on a computer that has access to the media and render files that make up the sequence. It basically plays the video sequentially from your hard drive together with a stereo audio file. A self-contained file is a single, separate QuickTime file that can be moved from machine to machine and will play on machine or application that supports that format of QuickTime. Reference movies are generally much smaller files and much quicker to generate. They can be dangerous however. They will only work if the media is available, including the render files necessary to play back the sequence. If you make a change to a sequence in FCE that loses or rewrites a render file the reference movie will become unplayable.

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