10 Replies Latest reply: May 20, 2012 2:58 PM by Canada John
Canada John Level 1 Level 1 (95 points)

I've only just now found that there is a Support Community for Compressor.  Wish I'd known sooner.


I see my version of Compressor is 3.5.3.


I've been on a little saga.


I started out with the challenge of converting some MP4 files from a Blackberry Playbook into ProRes 422 (HQ) for editing in Final Cut. I used Compressor and the task looked fairly straight forward. I used the ProRes setting in the Compressor, converted my files and imported them into Final Cut. Video was fine but I soon found out that the audio needed rendering every time I put a clip into the Timeline. I went on-line to various chat rooms with this problem. Pretty soon a fellow was telling me that the ProRes 422 (HQ) setting in Compressor had "Audio Pass-through" as default and that this was the cause of my problem. Change it, he said, to "Linear PCM".


It took me a fair while to figure out that the ProRes setting in Compressor did not allow itself to be modified and that I'd have to create a custom preset if I was to make these changes. I set about to do that. I was able to select "QuickTime Movie" and then in "Video/Settings" choose "ProRes 422 (HQ)", in "Audio", "Linear PCM". This did solve the audio problem. Now files imported into Final Cut did not need rendering. But another problem became evident.


Whereas the ProRes 422 setting that came with Compressor in its summary page listed: "Width" and "Height" as "(100% of source)", the custom ProRes 422 (HQ) setting I'd just created has "Width" and "Height" as "320" and "240". In short the 19:9 aspect ratio of the original footage was lost. What I got both in the conversion and in Final Cut was a squished SD image.


I've played like heck with Compressor trying to see if there was some place I could get this custom version of ProRes to correspond to the aspect ratio seen in the Audio Pass-through version that came loaded in Compressor. No luck. All very mysterious.


My next step was to look to create another custom codec that would have the proper 1280 X 720 ratio. Turns out  "HDV 720p 30fps" does, so now I've been converting to that. Looks fine in Final Cut - proper picture and sound.


I've been playing around a bit more and see now that I can create a custom setting using "Apple Intermediate Codec". I've tried it and it works too.


So after all this, my question: Should I be using that codec instead? Or does it really matter what codec I use for editing? Is the only real issue what codec I decide to use to output?


And while I'm at it: Does anybody have ideas why trying to create a custom setting with ProRes 422 (HQ) does not work - for my purposes at least.


I must admit this converting codecs is pretty new to me. Hopefully with time this experience will get easier and clearer.





  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (17,780 points)

    If you have a custom setting you're happy with, why not stay with it? The HQ flavor of Pro Res is just a major waste of HD space since you're converting from a highly compressed delivery format to an editing format…then presumably will output from FCP to a delivery format. AIC will be more lossy in this process than Pro Res, but whether one could notice the difference is debatable…particularly on a tablet screen.


    About rendering, FCP prefers AIFF, which you switched to…but if you hadn't bothered, rendering should have been fairly painless.     


    Good luck.



  • Canada John Level 1 Level 1 (95 points)

    Thanks for the reply Russ.


    Another question if I could. (I'm one of those guys who's managed to avoid learning Compressor till now. Been quite an interesting last few days. )


    I understand the need to convert the MP4 files to get them into Final Cut. But I'm not sure what rules my choice of codec to do that. In my case I'm not  sure how I'll output this material taken from my Blackberry Playbook (I found myself in an interesting situation while travelling and the Playbook was the only video devise I had with me). Certainly my goal isn't to output back to MP4 and my Playbook. Rather what I'd like to do is use the codec that will keep the MP4 material in its richest, least lossey form. Seems this will give me the greatest options for output. When I saw that I could create and use a "HDV 720p 30fps" custom setting I thought this might be the best choice, better than Apple Intermediate Codec, and, I suspect now, ProRes as well. (I'm assuming that HDV is the kind of HD the Playbook produces, but, of course, I have no idea what that means after this HD is packaged as MP4 and converted in Compressor.)


    Guess I'm asking: What is the least lossey codec to use with Playbook MP4 files? And what would the least lossey output codec be at the end of all this?





  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (17,780 points)

    Hey John.


    HDV is also a delivery codec, although you can edit it a lot more easily than say, h.264.


    To answer your "what is the least lossy" question: that would be uncompressed…but go with Pro Res 422; it's close enough to lossless for virtually all purposes except wehn your source material is something like 4K frame size, and/or when very sophisticated color grading is part of the workflow.


    Good luck.



  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (17,780 points)

    Just to add…a very common workflow is to edit in Pro Res and after finishing, output to QuickTinme with current settings to create a master file. That Pro Res master file can then be "re-purposed" for DVD, Blue-Ray, mobile devices, video sharing sites, and so forth as needed.



  • Canada John Level 1 Level 1 (95 points)

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply.


    I'd tried to convert into ProRes but I've found that impossible to do. When I first converted, using the ProRes 422 (HQ) setting that comes in the Compressor settings list, I produced files that gave me the correct video but audio that required continual rendering. After much discussion of this problem on-line it was suggested that this was because the ProRes setting that comes with Compressor has "Audio Pass-through" as default and that that was the problem. It was suggested that I change that to "Linear PCM". Problem here was that I found out the ProRes setting that comes in the Compressor list can not be modified.


    It was then suggested that I get around this by creating a Custom ProRes setting, which I attempted to do. I was able to select "QuickTime Movie" then in Video/Settings choose "ProRes 422 (HQ)", in Audio/Settings "Linear PCM". Problem was, for some reason I can't figure out, this custom ProRes setting produced a Width/Height of "320/240" not the "100% of source" that appears in the ProRes setting in Compressor's list. The conversions this custom setting produce have workable audio but produce a squished SD-type image, not the proper 16:9.


    I've spent hours trying to see if there was a way to change this but could find none.


    It seems, as the ProRes setting that comes with Compressor has "audio pass-through" as a default,   when selected as part of a custom setting ProRes produces this strange aspect ratio (for my purposes) as its unchangeable default. That's the mystery I referred to earlier.


    I'd love for someone to show me how to create a workable ProRes codec but my days of trying seems to have told me that's impossible.



  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (17,780 points)

    John, Actually you explained this very well is your initial post.


    I suggested that having to render the audio should not be a deal-breaker. It has to be re-encoded somewhere…in FCP or in something like Compressor. In other wods, if the audio of movie is say, AAC, and you "set" Compressor to Linear PCM, then Compressor has to the work. But it really isn't heavy lifting for either Compressor or FCP…it just avoids having to cobble together a preset if you let FCP do it. (BTW what does "required continual rendering mean? It should be fairly quick with most any kind of CPU.)


    Speaking to your last question: You could start any preset, but choose HD Video Sharing since it has the 1280x720 frame size already. Select the settings/destination pane and open Inspector > Encoder. Next to Video, open Settings and in the Compression settings pop-up menu, scroll up toProRes 422. Open Audio Settings and change from whatever it is now to Linear PCM.  Again hit OK. Go to the Geometry pane and where it says Frame SIze, click in the parameter box; select 100% of Source, or the 16:9 size of your choce. Save as a custom preset and you should be good to go and avoid that FCP rendering.


    Hope that clarifies.



  • David M Brewer Level 6 Level 6 (9,275 points)

    Setting a Compressor ProRes Custom Setting:


    1) Pick Apple ProRes 422...

    Screen Shot 2012-05-20 at 1.39.32 PM.png

    2) Drag the PreRes 422 setting to the Bach Window. You can only make a custom setting from the Batch Window...

    Screen Shot 2012-05-20 at 1.46.33 PM.png

    3) Select enable for the audio. Click on setting to make sure it is set right. Uncheck Allow Job Segmenting... Make sure Streaming is set to none*....

    Screen Shot 2012-05-20 at 2.02.41 PM.png

    4) Select the Geomenty tab... Pick Custom (16:9):

    Screen Shot 2012-05-20 at 1.50.20 PM.png

    5) Click Save As and name your custom setting...

    Screen Shot 2012-05-20 at 2.17.03 PM.png

    Screen Shot 2012-05-20 at 1.51.23 PM.png

    6) You new custom setting will show up in the Custum folder for later use:

    Screen Shot 2012-05-20 at 1.51.43 PM.png

    Another thing you can do is make Droplet of this custom setting. Menu... File... Create Droplet... Save the Droplet into a folder somewhere on your computer.

    Screen Shot 2012-05-20 at 1.53.52 PM.png

    A Droplet will start the transcoding automatically. Drag the Droplet onto a video icon and let it do it's job.


    * ProRes doesn't need the Fast Start setting. If this is set it will take almost twice as long to do the encoding. Same with Allow Job Segmenting using Qmaster.


    I did the above on the fly and hope everything is clear for you to understand.

  • Canada John Level 1 Level 1 (95 points)

    Once more I thank you Russ for taking the time to help me.


    In answer to your question, what I'd found in Final Cut was that every time I deposited part of a clip in the Timeline it would not play till rendered. If I tried a filter on that audio, again the need of rendering, then rendering again if I wanted back to the original. Workable I suppose, but it was time consuming and distracting.


    I was anxious to try the suggestion for constructing a preset you gave in your second paragraph but alas, try as I might, I could not find where I'd "choose HD Video Sharing". (I looked through all the presets in Settings.)


    As you might see, your answer was followd by one from David Brewer. He offerd me a clue to the puzzle in his second point: "Drag the ProRes 422 setting to the Batch Window. You can only make a custom setting from the Batch Window". That I didn't know. What I had been doing - and it seemed to make sense - was clicking on the Add "+" button in the top right hand corner of the Settings pane. Doing that opens a blank custom preset, and it was from there that I was trying in vane to build a ProRes preset in the Inspector that would work.


    I've followed his instructions and now I have a tried and tested (already) conversion preset for my Playbook video.


    But thanks again. If it wasn't for folks like you with your patience and knowledge people new to Compressor, like myself, would be truly lost. (By the way I've just ordered through Amazon a book "Apple Pro Training Series: Compressor 3.5" by Brian Gary. Hope that helps.)


    All the best.



  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (17,780 points)

    Guess I've become too immersed in v4 lingo.  In Compressor 3.5, the equivalent starting point for my instructions would be Other Workflows≥Web>YouTube Sharing.



  • Canada John Level 1 Level 1 (95 points)

    Thanks very much David for your great help. I've followed you instructions and now have a ProRes preset that works!


    I doubt that I'd have soon figured out what to do without the clear and illustrated steps you layed out. I think your second point makes that clear. There you say: "Drag the Prores 422 setting to the Batch Window. You can only make a custom setting from the Batch Window..." How would I ever have known that? What I'd been doing, based on my reading of the manual, was clicking on the Add "+" button at the top right corner of the Settings panel. That produces an empty preset and opens the Inspector. I was able to produce some kind of preset there but not a ProRes one that worked.


    This past few days has been my grand introduction to Compressor. I've learned a lot, but as I say elsewhere, without people like yourself willing to give of your time and experience, I'd still be a long, long way from truly understanding anything.






    p.s. Wanted to click "solved" on both your and Russ' last message but it seems since I hit that first on his message I'm only left with "helped" on yours. Sorry.