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  • Compressor and REALLY LONG TIME to do job

  • Eric Holzapfel

    April 29, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Hello All,

    I have a question – does compressor always take so long??
    I read one of the posts on COW regarding long render times for FCP/Compressor, and that sped things up but only after me waiting 5 hours for the thing to compress!!!! Tips?
    Here is the info to help get an answer:

    Computer – Mac Intel 8 core 8gb memory
    Operating system including exact version number – MAC OSX 10.5.8
    Software used including version number – FCP (output QuickTime movie) FCP ver: 6.0.6
    Compressor version 3.03
    Source codec (file you put in) Quicktime movie output from FCP using “current settings” more or less NTSC DV – length of video and audio 26 minutes (4:3)
    Destination codec – DVD-5, m2v video and ac3 audio used the 90 minute/Best for DVD in Compressor
    Type of destination use – I used my hard disk for the compressor destination. I plan to use DVD SP to create the DVD from the video and audio files

    When I reset the background processing (Thank you creative cow), rebooted the computer, and opened the batch file and re-submitted it took 12 minutes (!) to process the audio file!

    The video processed in 14 minutes!!

    This does not seem correct – Shouldn’t Compressor work the first time? Seems like a problem with Compressor. the source mov file was about 500 mb.

    Did I not spend my money wisely??? But, at least Cow came to the rescue.

    Charybdis and Scylla Productions

  • Tom Laughlin

    April 30, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Here are some other potentially helpful tips:

    1. Close all other apps down, except for FCP, then render the time-line through, so Compressor doesn’t have to render it out as it compresses. I’ve found that if I do not fully render my time-line before I export, the exporting takes WAY longer.

    2. Cut your time-line down and export smaller portions of it. Sometimes batches with shorter clips take less time that exporting out a 2 hour clip from your time-line.

    3. FCP Server, I heard has a way of networking and utilizing all the computers on the network, and harnessing all their processors together, outputting faster when exporting with Compressor. If you do not have FCP Server, you might use another computer to export the first half of the time-line on one computer (like your tower) and the 2nd half on another computer, like a MacBook Pro.

    4. Check output – It may also depend upon what you are exporting to or outputting to. Certains codec encodes take longer than others.

    5. Instead of Compressor, QT Conversion, saving time-line out as a QT, avoiding Compressor’s engine, export out of QT, then import and export with Compressor or 3rd party encoders, which might also be faster.

    6. Use “Onyx” to clear out all garbage (hidden computer files that acrue cache as you work with hidden buildup over time), with Onyx, it clears out a lot of stuff on your computer, that maybe causes it to run slower, just a thought. I run “Onyx” once a month. That’s the best I can tell you. Hope it works out.

    Tom Laughlin
    Salt Lake City, UT
    FCS3/Sony EX-3/Mac Intel

  • Eric Holzapfel

    May 4, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Hello Tom,

    Those are some good tips. I did one by accident, I just outputted a QT file from FCP ( a reference movie), and submitted it to compressor.
    I also had no other programs running, and it was much faster.

    I am saving your tips!!!



  • Tom Laughlin

    May 4, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I didn’t know you could do that? I thought reference QT had to have the raw compressed into the file, like a self-contained QT, in order to do that? So, you dropped a ref QT into Compressor and that worked, cool, I’ll remember that for future. Also, what was your ref QT saved as, for your compression, was it same as source? Does ref QT just save off your time-line settings the same settings anyway, or did you have to tell it to do that? Anyways, very cool!

    Tom Laughlin
    Salt Lake City, UT
    FCP7/Sony EX-3/Mac Quad-Core Intel

  • Terry Mikkelsen

    May 4, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I usually export a reference file. Clips that are unaltered (just edited) are referenced to the original media, and clips that have effects applied, etc… are referenced to the rendered media. If your timeline has not been rendered, it will do so for what is needed in order to make the reference movie, HOWEVER, it will not place any media in your render folder, so they will remain un-rendered in your timeline. So, best practice is to render before exporting.

    I do this mostly for long format projects. I don’t want FCP tied up by doing an export directly to compressor. Typically, individual clips are rendered during the editing process to check continuity and whatnot, so the final render doesn’t contain many unrendered clips. Additionally, I don’t want a self-contained movie that takes up a huge amount of storage when all of the data is already on the drives (just in different places, rather than one nice neat file).

    Finally, you should be using the QMaster (included with Final Cut Studio, the server software is not necessary), even if you only have one computer. It sees each processor much more efficiently, splits up the data for each and then recombines into your outputted file – all automatically. If you have other Mac hardware, you need to install Compressor or DVDSP to get the necessary files on them and then QMaster will utilize them as well. (It even knows how powerful each is and appropriately divides the work among them.)

    While it is getting compressed – get back to work and make money!

    ps-the audio should never take that long in comparison to the video. The audio is usually about 10% of the video time.

    Tech-T Productions

  • Terry Mikkelsen

    May 4, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    pps – I still utilize a dual CPU 2GHz G5! Its not about the hardware you have, its how effectively you use it. No matter how long it takes to render/compress/import/capture etc….find something else productive (income $ productive) to do while that is happening.

    Tech-T Productions

  • Tom Laughlin

    May 4, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Ok, so i’m going to try this. You drag it into compressor, and treat it as you would any other file? A ref QT can be imported into Compressor then? Can you output whatever you want? Does it take less time then, as you mentioned, and how much faster is it once the time-line has been rendered? I thought you could send a file to Compressor via “Share” using FCP7, and it allows you to keep editing, are you talking about tying up FCP in terms of processing, or locking up FCP as in previous versions when you “Export using Compressor” then FCP would lock up during the export, but the new FCP allows you to keep editing after you’ve sent something to be compressed, right?

    Tom Laughlin
    Salt Lake City, UT
    FCP7/Sony EX-3/Mac Quad-Core Intel

  • Terry Mikkelsen

    May 4, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Yes, treat the reference file just like any other file. It won’t compress/transcode in compressor any faster (or slower) than a self contained file. I don’t have the latest version of FCP, so I can’t comment on the “share” feature.

    Tech-T Productions

  • Eric Holzapfel

    May 4, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    These are great help to me.


  • Paul Hawke-Williams

    July 14, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Hi all!

    Just wanted to add a few things, better late than never!

    QT Reference movie – when you use the “export as quicktime movie” option the resulting file if you DO NOT click the “make self contained” tick box is a reference movie. AsTerry mentioned, make sure you render the timeline first as the renders for the reference file live within it (i.e. it references the original media from the timeline and adds the render files into the reference movie, not render them for use within FCP)

    Send to Compressor – in FCP7 you can send to Compressor and while its encoding you can come back to FCP7 and still edit. Its a little slower but does work. You can’t quit FCP7 though if you are using Compressor to encode a timeline.

    Share – the share option is a kind of shortcut to some of the Compressor encoding features (think of it as easy setup for output) but when using the share option you can’t continue to use FCP7. There is an option to send to Compressor from within the share window so you can sort all your encode formats and naming out and then send it over.

    MPEG2 should be one of the easier codecs to be squashing files to but 12 minutes for a 24 minute video seems OK to me (I get similar on my machine) but the audio should be quicker as suggested.
    If you’re going to H264 then there are hardware options to speed things up including Elgatos Turbo H264 or the MAX option on some Matrox M02 boxes – both are accessible from within Compressor.

    Happy squashing!

    Paul Hawke-Williams
    Media Trainer – Mac Support – Video Production

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