Quicktime: Export as H.264 16:9

Quicktime: Export as H.264 16:9

This guide will give you step-by-step instructions to exporting your video as a widescreen (16:9) Quicktime movie using the H.264 codec.

You should use the H.264 codec when you want good quality with a small file size. It is ideal for playing from a memory stick or uploading to the web. However it is not a good codec for re-editing.

Note: This process should be used with video that already has a widescreen (16:9) aspect ratio. If you use these settings on a standard (4:3) video, then it will get stretched horizontally to fit the 16:9 frame size.

How to access the Quicktime Export Options:

  • Final Cut Pro/Final Cut Express - File > Export > Using Quicktime Conversion
  • iMovie HD - Share > Quicktime, then choose Compress movie for: Expert Settings
  • iMovie 08/09 - Share > Export using Quicktime
  • Quicktime Pro - File > Export


  1. Choose QuickTime Movie for Format/Export and click Options:
  2. Under Video, click Settings and set the following options. Click OK when done:
  3. Under Video, click Size and set the following options. Click OK when done:
  4. Under Sound, click Settings and set the following options. Click OK when done:
  5. Check the summary is as shown below. Click OK when done:
  6. Name the file, choose where to save it and click Save.


  • You can reduce the file size by using a lower frame rate (e.g. 12 fps), using a lower quality setting or restricting the data rate.
  • If you want the export to take less time, you can choose Faster encode, although this will lower the quality a bit.


Q: What is a codec?
A: The codec is the format that the video/audio is encoded (saved) as. Quicktime itself is not a format, it is a container or wrapper for various audio and video formats. Therefore a Quicktime movie could be encoded in a variety of formats, e.g. DV-PAL, Animation, H.264, etc.

Codec is short for Coder-Decoder. When saving, the data that represents the video/audio is encoded as a particular format. When the file is played back, the data is decoded using the same format. The player needs to know what the format of the file is to be able to successfully decode (play) it.


Apple's Quicktime webpage
Apple's Quicktime tutorials
Apple's Quicktime support page
Quicktime User Guide

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