Quick Reference Tips for Compressor

Compressor is an essential part of the workflow for the Final Cut Studio. Without it you would be hard pressed to get appropriate file types for things like DVD authoring in DVD Studio Pro, iPhone or iPod Touch, or online distribution. Here are a few reference tips to think about when using compressor.


Before you ever open Compressor, or select Export Using Compressor, you need to know exactly what format you want to use the video for. On the list of codecs there are a variety of presets, especially for things like DVD, Apple TV, and mobile devices. If you know what you want to use it for then you can save yourself a world of time and just use presets.


Simplify Computer Use

Try to shut down as many different applications while you are using Compressor. Compressor takes up quite a bit of RAM and local memory and any other open program will just be competing. You may want to keep Final Cut Pro open if you are exporting from that, but otherwise major applications should be shut down. Never try to save anything while compressor is running because this will instantly slow it down. Web browsers like Mozilla Firefox are usually alright.  In general, you will also want to go ahead and compress videos to a large storage space that is easier to deal with on a main hard drive, but on a mobile hard drive you may actually extend the time it takes for the video compression to take.  One of the most important Apple Compressor tips to remember is that this is using the power of your computer to complete a task without your active participation, which requires space and power.


Name It

Try to make the file names for the compressed video and audio files as specific and identifiable as possible. It is very easy to get these files mixed up with other ones and even end up with them separated. Make a folder for them ahead of time, target that place specifically, and make sure both the final compressed files and the project name are labeled appropriately.  This is going to be especially true if you are compressing the same file for multiple uses, such as having a Prores QuickTime file, video and audio tracks for DVD authoring, and a specific streaming video clip for things like YouTube.

Custom Destinations

If you are going to use the same destination over and over again, as with a large DVD authoring project in DVD Studio Pro, then you really should set custom destinations. This is a simple process in the destination folder and will end up saving you a lot of time and keep things more organized than you could manage on your own.  This is going to be a simple, but important, part of organizing your post-production process.  When you are going from the video editing software to whatever distribution platform you want.

Single File

If you are going to go for online distribution, such as with sites like Funny or Not or YouTube, then you do not want to select a compression codec that separates the video and audio. This will make the uploaded video have no sound. Select a simple compression type that maintains only one file.  At the same time, you will not be able to use a full size Pro Res file, or usually even a moderate H.264.  Both the upload process is going to be extensive and the limited storage space of this kind of hosting will likely restrict any codec that is not specifically dedicated to streaming video, such as Compressor’s YouTube specific codec.  This will make the file significantly smaller, but will surprisingly be decent in terms of playback and will be perfect for YouTube HD.

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