Compressor 3.5 Basics

By Ken Stone

We use Compressor for two different tasks; to encode files to make them smaller and change their codec to a delivery format for distribution, and to transcode source video to different codecs to improve or facilitate workflow.

In FCP we can work with a number of different video formats, including a large number of new HD formats. As the frame size and quality of our video goes up, so does the size of the video files. Faster Macs and falling prices for hard drive storage and ram means that we can comfortably work with these new HD formats in FCP. But what do we do when it comes time for final delivery, i.e. create MPEG 2 for SD DVDs or H.264 for web distribution? There is also another issue, there are times when we have video that is not in the correct format for us to work with, we may need to change the frame size, rate and/or codec of the video (some new digital still cameras now shoot video but use non-standard frame rates and codecs). While it's true that FCP has an 'open' timeline and can accept and work with different frame sizes, rates or codecs, often the resulting quality is less than stellar.

While the Compressor may seem a bit daunting at first, it's really fairly simple to use. Bring in the video you want to work with, select a Preset, adjust the Preset, click on the Submit button.

When you first launch Compressor, a new Batch Templates window will open up. This window contains 7 Batch Templates that allows us to choose the encode process that we want Compressor to perform and then also, the Job Action (Distribution), what we want Compressor to do, once the files have been encoded. For more information on the new Batch Template feature, check out Compressor 3.5. You can go ahead and close this Template window. read more...

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