Solutions to Common Problems

The following sections address some common issues.

Exporting from Final Cut Pro and Distributed Processing

You can use Compressor to transcode sequences or clips from within other applications, such as Final Cut Pro. This saves time and hard disk space by eliminating the need to export self-contained media files before processing them.

There are two methods you can use to avoid exporting self-contained media files for Compressor distributed processing:

  • Export a sequence directly from Final Cut Pro to Compressor and then submit that job to a cluster in an Apple Qmaster distributed processing network. In this workflow, Final Cut Pro opens on each processing node in that cluster to complete the job.

  • Export the Final Cut Pro sequence as a QuickTime reference movie and then submit the resulting movie to the cluster for processing. Because this method does not involve Final Cut Pro, you are free to use Final Cut Pro while the batch is being processed in the background. If you submit a reference movie for distributed processing, the Apple Qmaster distributed processing system will automatically copy the appropriate media files to the processing cluster. For the best performance, you can avoid this file transfer step by making sure that the media files specified in the reference movie are available to each node of the Apple Qmaster cluster. Below, you will find two sets of instructions for submitting reference movies: one with automatic file transfer and one with preparatory steps for maximizing performance.

Note: You can also use distributed processing with the Share feature in Final Cut Pro and Motion. For more information, see the Final Cut Pro User Manual or the Motion User Manual.

To export a Final Cut Pro sequence directly to Compressor for distributed processing
  1. Make sure Final Cut Pro is installed on each computer in the cluster that you intend to use for distributed processing.

    Each installation of Final Cut Pro requires a product serial number. For information about volume licenses, go to http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio.

    Note: On any given Final Cut Studio system or network, the Compressor and Apple Qmaster versions (numbers) and the version of QuickTime must all match. For example, Compressor 3.0.5 will work only with the 3.0.5 version of Apple Qmaster, and no other version. In this example, the correct version of QuickTime is QuickTime 7.5.5 or later. Non-matching configurations are not supported.

  2. Make sure all of the source media files and render files for your Final Cut Pro project are on a hard disk that can be shared (mounted) by all the computers in the cluster that will process the job. (The following instructions use an example of a shared hard disk named Media1.)

    If you copy all the media files to another hard disk for this purpose, you may need to reconnect the media files in Final Cut Pro before proceeding.

    Important: The hard disk you use to store the media files may not be a startup disk for any computer in the cluster.

  3. In Final Cut Pro, set the scratch disk to the same hard disk used for storing media files in step 2:

    1. Choose Final Cut Pro > System Settings, then click the Scratch Disks tab.

    2. Click Set.

    3. In the dialog that appears, locate and select the disk you want to use (Media1 in this example).

    4. Click Choose. The specified disk (Media1) is listed next to the Set button, along with the amount of available disk space.

    For more information about Final Cut Pro scratch disks, see the Final Cut Pro User Manual.

  4. Enable file sharing on the computer where the scratch disk (Media1) is located (in the Sharing pane of System Preferences, click Services and then select Personal File Sharing).

  5. On each computer in the intended cluster, mount the scratch disk you specified in step 3 (in the Finder sidebar, click Network, navigate to the computer that contains the Media1 disk, click Connect, and select Media1).

  6. In Compressor preferences, specify cluster options settings:

    1. Choose Compressor > Preferences, or press Command-Comma (,).

      The Preferences window appears.

    2. Choose “Copy Source to Cluster as Needed” from the Cluster Options pop-up menu.

  7. In Final Cut Pro, choose File > Export > Using Compressor.

    Compressor opens with the selected media file (the Final Cut Pro sequence) in the Batch window.

  8. In Compressor, double-click the selected file and play it in the Preview window to verify the integrity of the clip.

  9. In the Batch window, assign settings and destinations to the selected file as necessary.

  10. Choose the intended cluster from the Cluster pop-up menu in the lower-left corner of the Batch window.

  11. Click Submit.

To export a Final Cut Pro sequence as a QuickTime reference movie and submit it to Compressor for distributed processing using automatic file transfer
  1. In Final Cut Pro, choose File > Export > QuickTime Movie.

  2. In the Save dialog, make sure that the Make Movie Self-Contained checkbox is not selected.

  3. Import the QuickTime reference movie into Compressor. (Drag it from the desktop to the Compressor Batch window.)

  4. In the Batch window, assign settings and destinations to the selected file as necessary.

  5. Click the Submit button.

    The submit dialog appears.

  6. Do one of the following:

    • Choose the intended cluster from the Cluster pop-up menu.

    • Select the “Include unmanaged services on other computers” checkbox to use the AutoCluster feature. See Using Compressor AutoClusters for more information.

  7. Click Submit.

    The Apple Qmaster distributed processing system automatically copies the appropriate media files to the cluster and processes the batch.

To export a Final Cut Pro sequence as a QuickTime reference movie and submit it to Compressor for distributed processing using preparatory steps to maximize performance
  1. Make sure all the source media files and render files for your Final Cut Pro project are on a hard disk that can be shared (mounted) by all the computers in the cluster that will process the job. (The following instructions use an example of a shared hard disk named Media1.)

    If you copy all the media files to another hard disk for this purpose, you may need to reconnect the media files in Final Cut Pro before proceeding.

    Important: The hard disk you use to store the media files may not be a startup disk for any computer in the cluster.

  2. In Final Cut Pro, choose File > Export > QuickTime Movie.

  3. In the Save dialog, make sure that the Make Movie Self-Contained checkbox is not selected.

  4. Save the QuickTime reference movie to the same hard disk (Media1) used to store media files in step 1.

  5. Enable file sharing on the computer where the scratch disk (Media1) is located (in the Sharing pane of System Preferences, click Services and then select Personal File Sharing).

  6. On each computer in the intended cluster, mount the hard disk (Media1) where the media files and QuickTime reference movie are located (in the Finder sidebar, click Network, navigate to the computer that contains the Media1 disk, click Connect, and select Media1).

  7. In Compressor preferences, specify cluster options settings:

    1. Choose Compressor > Preferences, or press Command-Comma (,).

      The Preferences window appears.

    2. Choose “Never Copy Source to Cluster” from the Cluster Options pop-up menu.

  8. Import the QuickTime reference movie into Compressor. (Drag it from the desktop to the Compressor Batch window.)

  9. Double-click the file in the Batch window and play it in the Preview window to verify the integrity of the clip.

  10. In the Batch window, assign settings and destinations to the selected file as necessary.

  11. Click the Submit button.

    The submit dialog appears.

  12. Do one of the following:

    • Choose the intended cluster from the Cluster pop-up menu.

    • Select the “Include unmanaged services on other computers” checkbox to use the AutoCluster feature. See Using Compressor AutoClusters for more information.

  13. Click Submit.

QuickTime Reference Movies

If you submit a reference movie for distributed processing, the Apple Qmaster distributed processing system will automatically copy the appropriate media files to the processing cluster. For the best performance, you can avoid this file transfer step by making sure that the media files specified in the reference movie are available to each node of the Apple Qmaster cluster.

Cluster Settings for Extended Transcoding Sessions

If you are using Compressor 2 or later for distributed processing, and you anticipate a transcoding session that will last up to seven days or longer, you must make an adjustment in the Advanced section of the Apple Qmaster preferences pane. By default, temporary process files may remain on a cluster’s scratch location for seven days before they are automatically deleted. You can increase this value (the number of days) in the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences.

Cleaning Up Cluster Storage

If you are using cluster storage and an error occurs, partial files may be left on the designated cluster storage location. Check the designated cluster storage location to make sure no partial media files are left there. If you find partial media files, delete them and submit the job again.

Using Apple Qmaster with an NFS Server

By default, Apple Qmaster uses /etc/exports to define its Cluster Storage export. This can cause a conflict if you defined an NFS export in your local NetInfo database. When you enable a controller using Apple Qmaster 2 or later, Apple Qmaster uses /etc/exports, not entries defined in your NetInfo database. To work around this issue, either move the exports to /etc/exports, or move the controller to a computer that doesn’t export anything.

Apple Qmaster Distributed Processing and Xsan

Here are some tips on using the Apple Qmaster distributed processing system with Xsan systems.

Restarting Apple Qmaster and Xsan Systems

Using previous versions of Apple Qmaster distributed processing on an Xsan system may cause mounting problems when restarting an Apple Qmaster distributed processing cluster controller. You must restart Apple Qmaster and Xsan computers in the exact order described below.

To restart Apple Qmaster and Xsan computers
  1. Turn off the cluster controller by clicking Stop Sharing in the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences.

  2. Restart the Apple Qmaster cluster controller computer.

  3. Wait for the Xsan volume to mount on the desktop.

  4. Click Start Sharing in the Apple Qmaster pane of System Preferences to restart the controller.

Xsan Compatibility

Xsan 1.3 is not compatible with Compressor and the Apple Qmaster distributed processing system when Xsan media drives are used for cluster (scratch) storage. To use Xsan with Apple Qmaster 2.3, update to Xsan 1.4.

To download and install Xsan 1.4

Compressor Command-Line Usage Requires Login

Although it is possible to use the command line to run an Apple Qmaster distributed processing network, each Compressor service node (each computer providing Compressor distributed processing services) must be logged in (with a Mac OS X user name and password) for full functionality.