Convert Legacy Media Using Apple Compressor

by Larry Jordan

After the next major macOS upgrade, some older media formats may not play on your Mac computer. Developers have been working on this for several years, but, now, producers and editors need to pay attention.


“As part of the upcoming transition from 32-bit to 64-bit technology in macOS, you may see an alert in Final Cut Pro or Motion about legacy media files that won’t be compatible with future versions of macOS, released after macOS Mojave.

“These incompatible media files were most likely created using formats or codecs that rely on QuickTime 7—an older version of QuickTime that is included in macOS Mojave for compatibility purposes. However, because versions of macOS after macOS Mojave will no longer include the QuickTime 7 framework, you’ll first need to detect and convert legacy media files to continue to use those files in Final Cut Pro.

“Before you upgrade to the next major version of macOS after macOS Mojave, make sure to convert all incompatible media files. After you upgrade, the option to convert the incompatible files will no longer be available.” (Apple website)

NOTE: Here’s a link to media formats that will soon be incompatible.

Converting files using Final Cut Pro X is the easiest way to work. However, Compressor is a better choice if you:

  • Use an NLE other than Final Cut Pro X
  • Need to convert a group of files
  • Want to convert older media to a different codec other than ProRes 422
  • Want more control over where files are stored

Here’s an article that illustrates how to use Final Cut Pro X to convert files.


Unlike Final Cut, which pops up a big warning when you open a library or import a file with incompatible media, Compressor is much more subtle.

This yellow text is displayed whenever you import older media that won’t play in the future. (It’s displayed at the top of the Job panel, on the right.)

NOTE: While the operation of Compressor is the same since version 4.0, the yellow warning is new with Compressor 4.4.4, or later.

The problem is that this message is only displayed when you select a single file.

Here, for example, two of these files in the Batch list are incompatible. One is not. Can you spot the bad ones? Nope. Neither can I. There needs to be some way for the Batch List to highlight problem files as well as in the Job panel. (For the record, “Barn Grand” is a ProRes file and, therefore, doesn’t need conversion.)

With media imported, you can convert the media into any codec and format supported by Compressor. This process is the same as transcoding any other media in Commpressor.


To convert any file to ProRes 422, which is Apple’s recommended conversion format, select all the files in the Batch list to which you want to apply a compression setting.

From the Settings panel on the left, twirl down ProRes, then drag Apple ProRes 422 on top of the file name of any of the selected files.

This compression setting is then applied to all the selected files.

NOTE: You use this same technique to apply ANY compression setting. Generally, I use ProRes 422 for anything shot by a camera and ProRes 4444 for anything – like screen captures or After Effects projects – that was created by the computer. (Motion projects are automatically saved as ProRes 4444.)

Read the rest at here.

About James DeRuvo 801 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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