This post describes the lessons that I, a newbie, have learned while trying to come to grips with Compressor 4, version 4.06. I had trouble deciding whether to post this or not, because all of this information is available, in separate parts, throughout this forum. But I figured if I struggled to learn this stuff, so will other people, and perhaps my lessons can help.
So here's what I've learned so far. I'm a newbie, so feel free to correct any wrong assumptions or information. I'm not sure what's the best order in which to present this, so I'll just wing it.
I'm running Compressor 4.06, on a brand new 21" iMac. OS/X 10.8.2. I also have Final Cut Pro X.
All of this information is regarding using Compressor on a single machine. If you're trying to set up a multi-device cluster, take that into account as you read this post.
Getting Compressor to use multiple processors on a single machine
In order to get Compressor to make full use of the cool multi-core processor you have in your nice, shiny Mac, you have to use something called "Apple Qmaster", or more simply "Qmaster". The "Q" is short for "Queue", as in a queue of tasks to be executed. Here's how to get it working, and how to work around its "quirks".
- While running Compressor, click the menu item "Apple Qmaster" and then "Share This Computer". Don't let the name confuse you - we're not really going to share our computer, although we could if we wanted to.
- In the "Apple Qmaster Sharing" dialog:
- Click "Share this computer" and "as QuickCluster with services".
- I only have "Compressor" checked - someone else can chimed in about the "Rendering" checkbox.
- Click the "Options" button next to the "Compressor" checkbox, and select the number of instances you want Qmaster to use. The list shows how many cores or processors are available. How many should you choose? I have no idea, but since when I'm using Compressor I'm not doing anything else on my computer, I select all but one of them. YMMV.
- I have "Require these services..." unchecked.
- Give the cluster a name.
- I have "Include unmanaged services..." unchecked.
- If you check "Require password", you will have to enter a password before you can queue any jobs, although it can remember the password in your keychain.
- I don't believe I changed anything in the "Advanced" tab.
- Click OK.
- Back in Compressor, when you submit a job and the Submit dialog comes up, you can change the "Cluster" dropdown to your new QuickCluster.
- While a job is running, you can either view its progress in Compressor's History window, or use the button that says "Share Monitor" (which, by the way, does *not* mean you're going to share your monitor - it means your going to view the "Share Monitor" application).
If you want to verify that you are, indeed, using multiple cores, follow these steps:
- Run the application "Activity Monitor".
- Use the menu item "Window->CPU Usage", or view the bottom of the "CPU" tab in the main window.
Changing QuickCluster options, or turning your QuickCluster off
In order to modify or turn off your QuickCluster, you might think you could use the "Apple Qmaster->Administer Clusters" menu item. You would be wrong. If you do this, it will bring up the"Apple Qmaster" admin dialog, but you won't be able to change anything. It will insist you enter a password, when you haven't defined one. Save yourself a lot of grief, and stay away from that dialog. Trust me. On the off chance that you try it and actually get it to work without passwords, all I can say is "good for you", but don't assume it will work for others.
Instead, use the menu item "Apple Qmaster->Share this computer", and turn off sharing and click OK.
If all you wanted to do was to turn off your QuickCluster, you're done. If you only wanted to modify something, read on:
At this point you *might* need to close Compressor and restart it - I'm not sure, but it wouldn't hurt to do it just in case. Then create your QuickCuster again following the original steps, changing any options as desired.
As always, YMMV. Feel free to tell me where I'm wrong. The only thing I ask is that you make sure you're using the same Compressor version I am (4.06), and that you actually try your steps before posting them. I don't doubt that some things work differently depending on other unforeseen configuration differences. I can only tell you what worked for me, after *many* frustrating hours of trial, error, and research.
Special thanks to Russ H, because most of this information was derived from various posts of his.