Random Hint – FAT32 File Size Limitation

Came across this when working on a video render the other day. It’s been a while since I taught it, or worked in video, so I forgot some of the hidden joys of working with super-large (multi-gigabyte files). If you’re rendering/capturing video files with After Effects, Premiere, or Final Cut Pro you may come across an error that essentially says “cannot add to file” or “cannot write to file”.

When you look at the file you rendered out, you’ll see that the file is exactly 4GB in size. The problem, most likely, is that you’re trying to write to a FAT32 encoded hard drive. FAT32 file systems are great for sharing between Mac OS X and Windows, as both can read them native. However, they limit file sizes to 4GB, which means you can’t write files larger than that, hence the error.

Make sure you render out to an NTFS (for Windows) or HFS (for Mac OS X) to write those ginormous files you get when working with video. Problem Solved!

Now, if only I had remembered that before re-starting a 30 minute render 5 times…

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