Compressor can work as a standalone application or be integrated into the workflow of
other applications, such as Final Cut Pro. To this end, Compressor accepts the same full
range of source media file types that Final Cut Pro accepts. Compressor offers the following
• Batch processing: This streamlined process allows you to create multiple output files
from single source media files.
• VBR options: Using the MPEG-2 encoder, you can set either a single- or dual-pass variable
bit rate (VBR) for your output files, a setting that affects the video file image quality.
• H.264 encoding: H.264 produces higher quality video at lower data rates for everything
from mobile phones to High Definition (HD). H.264 works especially well with the Apple
QuickTime media player. Compressor includes H.264 formats that specifically target
Blu-ray discs, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple TV.
• Droplets: These standalone applications can be used for drag-and-drop transcoding
operations straight from your desktop. Once created, Droplets simplify and automate
the transcoding process and can be used even without opening Compressor.
• Settings: Settings contain all necessary file format, filter, and geometry settings needed
for transcoding. You can customize and modify the Apple-supplied settings or create
new ones, making it possible to create a library of specialized settings that can be
Ways to Use Compressor
• Filters: The selection of available Compressor filters gives you dynamic artistic control
while you convert your source media to other formats and allows you to create a final
product to your precise specifications. A selection of the available filters includes fade
in/fade out, timecode overlays, gamma correction, noise removal, letterbox, watermark,
color adjustment, and others. Additionally, there are audio filters for controlling dynamic
range, peak levels, equalization, and fade in/fade out.
• Previewing: You can preview your filter settings in real time using the Preview window
as you adjust them in the Inspector window. This lets you tweak the settings to your
satisfaction, before transcoding the source media file.
• Destinations: You can create and save destinations for your output files, which can then
be assigned to each output file’s target. You can even include FTP and iDisk locations.
A destination can also specify the filenaming convention to use.
• Geometry: You can adjust your frame size using the geometry Inspector window controls
and graphical controls in the Preview window. These features allow you to crop
unwanted image areas of your source media file and reduce file size. Compressor also
allows you to resize your image to other aspect ratios such as 4:3, 16:9, and 2.35:1 for
delivery onto other platforms, such as DVD or iPod.
• Publishing: You can use Compressor to upload output files to a QuickTime Streaming
Server or other locations for DVD authoring.
• AppleScript usage: You can add specialized AppleScript information to any output file,
which gives you the flexibility to automate and customize any post-encoding operations.
• Interoperability: Compressor is an integral component of other Apple professional video
applications such as Final Cut Pro and Motion. For example, you can export sequences
directly from Final Cut Pro into Compressor for transcoding.
• Transcoding activity in the background: Compressor lets you begin transcoding a batch
and then continues processing in the background, allowing you to perform other tasks
at the same time.
• Email notification: You can set up Compressor to send an email notification to any
location to notify you when the batch transcode is complete.
• Distributed processing: Compressor offers distributed processing, distributing the work
to multiple computers that have been chosen to provide more processing power. The
distributed processing feature is limited to computers that have Compressor installed.
For more details, see
Apple Qmaster and Distributed Processing
• Command-Line Features: Compressor has a number of command-line options for
submitting jobs, enabling and disabling service node and cluster-controlling services,
and monitoring batches. For more information, see
Using the Command Line
Ways to Use Compressor
Compressor makes it easy to transcode media into multiple formats. In addition,
Compressor is integrated into Final Cut Pro and Motion.
For simple or repetitive workflows, you can also use the Share feature in Final Cut Pro
and Motion. The Share feature is an easy “one-click” way to send your work to clients,
friends, and other audiences without any advanced knowledge of transcoding, delivery
file formats, or FTP protocols. From the Share window in Final Cut Pro and Motion, you
can quickly create and deliver output media files in iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, DVD,
Blu-ray Disc, and YouTube formats without having to open any additional applications.
For more information about the Share feature, see the Final Cut Pro User Manual and the
Motion User Manual.
This chapter covers the following:
Compressor Concepts and Terms
Preparing Compressor for Transcoding with Custom Settings
Choosing an Output Format
Creating a Compressor Batch
Viewing Transcoding Status
Optional Compressor Shortcuts
Compressor Concepts and Terms
This section covers some common terms that you may encounter as you use Compressor.
The following diagram illustrates how the standard Compressor transcoding process
works. The largest transcoding component is a batch. The batch represents all the
components needed to transcode your current media. It must contain one or more jobs.
A job consists of at least one source media file with one or more targets, each with a
setting and a destination associated with it. After the transcoding process, the resulting
file is known as the output media file. One output media file is created for each setting
assigned to a source media file.