I just finished a commercial project that had a lot of high res still images. Anyone who’s used FCP for even a short period of time knows how terrible it is with images and .psd files. We started getting Out of Memory errors and due to the extremely long hours and tight turnaround, the editors were going crazy and letting me have it. As the builder of the edit systems, it was my job to make sure they ran smoothly, even if they ran into FCP bugs that are completely out of my control.
So the dreaded Out of Memory error. Only slightly more specific than General Error. The Out of Memory error doesn’t mean that you’re out of RAM. Yes, you may have 8GB of RAM (or 12 or 16, and FCP as a 32bit app can only access about 3GB in total), but this has to do with FCP’s still image buffer, which is pitifully small, and was original designed for DV resolution. But in this case I was able to find a fix that works 100% of the time:
FCP wants all of it’s still images to conform to the following specs:
– Resolution: No one dimension can have more than 4000 pixels. 2600 x 3800 is OK. 2800 x 4200 is not.
– All images must be in RGB color space and not CMYK.
To reduce the size of your images, you can open them in Preview (Tools > Adjust Size, keep Proportional checked) and make sure no one dimension is more than 4000 pixels (I go for a max of 3800 just to be safe), then Save As.
To change from CMYK to RGB, you need any version of Photoshop. Open the image in Photoshop and in the window bar it will say whether the image is RGB or CMYK (or something else). If it’s not RGB, go to Image > Mode > RGB. Then Save As.
If you need to change both the resolution and color space, do them both in Photoshop. To change the resolution in Photoshop, go to Image > Image Size. Make sure during this whole process you use Save As and not Save. You don’t want to overwrite your original still image. You want to retain CMYK for any non-video use of the image.
Another option is to create all of your still image movements in Motion, and roundtrip the Motion projects into the FCP timeline. This will depend on your editor and their knowledge of Motion. Most editors I’ve worked with have never opened Motion.
If you’ve made these fixes and you’re still getting Out of Memory errors, dig into your timeline deeper. You might have missed an image, or you have a nested sequence. Try closing all open timelines except the one you’re trying to watch or render. If all that fails, copy the timeline into a new project. If all THAT fails, you might have a different problem altogether, eg, corrupted media.