About the QuickTime Movie Encoder Pane

The following options appear when you choose QuickTime Movie from the File Format pop-up menu:

Figure. QuickTime Movie Encoder pane of the Inspector window.

QuickTime Movie Encoder Pane Basic Settings

Use these basic options to control the more specific QuickTime movie settings, below.

  • File Extension field: This field displays the QuickTime file extension (.mov) automatically after the QuickTime output format is selected from the File Format pop-up menu or the (+) pop-up menu in the Settings tab.
  • Allow Job Segmenting: This checkbox allows you to turn off job segmenting. It is relevant only if you are using Compressor with distributed processing and with multi-pass encoding. (The distributed processing feature is limited to computers that have Final Cut Studio installed.) For more information, see Job Segmenting and Two-Pass or Multi-Pass Encoding.
  • Video Settings and Audio Settings: These buttons open the QuickTime Compression Settings and Sound Settings dialogs. Use these dialogs to select suitable codecs and change other video or audio compression settings. See About the Sound Settings Dialog and About the Compression Settings Dialog for more information on these dialogs.
  • Options button: This button remains dimmed unless Hinted Streaming is selected from the Streaming pop-up menu. Clicking this button opens the QuickTime Hint Exporter Settings dialog, which allows you to choose extra hinting settings for your stream.
  • “Add clean aperture information” checkbox: This checkbox (selected by default) allows you to choose whether to add information that defines clean picture edges to the output file.

    Note: This checkbox does not affect the actual pixels in the output file—it only controls whether information is added to the file that a player can use to hide the edges of the picture.

    • If the checkbox is selected: Information is added to the output file that defines how many pixels to hide to ensure that no undesirable artifacts appear along the edges. When the output file is played using QuickTime Player, this setting can result in the pixel aspect ratio being slightly altered.
    • If the checkbox is not selected: No clean aperture information is added to the output file. This was the standard behavior in Compressor 3.0.5 and earlier.
  • Summary table: Displays full details for this setting.

QuickTime Video and Audio Settings

The QuickTime Video and Audio Settings buttons appear in the Encoder pane if you selected QuickTime Movie as the output file format. (The Audio Settings button also appears if you choose AIFF from the File Format pop-up menu.) You use these buttons to open the Compression Settings and Sound Settings dialogs, where you can modify whichever video or audio codec you want to add to the selected setting in the Settings tab.

By default, both the Video and Audio Settings buttons are enabled, but you can disable one or the other by deselecting the appropriate checkbox.

Video Codec Settings

The QuickTime Video Settings button provides access to the currently installed QuickTime video codecs.

For information on how to customize video codec settings, see Stage 2: Adding a QuickTime Video Codec.

All codecs are compatible with QuickTime, but if you intend to play back the output file using QuickTime Player, the following delivery codecs are recommended:

  • H.264

  • Photo-JPEG

Audio Codec Settings

The QuickTime Audio Settings button provides access to the currently installed QuickTime audio codecs.

For information on how to customize audio codec settings, see Stage 3: Adding a QuickTime Audio Codec.

All codecs are compatible with QuickTime, but if you intend to play back the output media file using QuickTime Player, the following delivery codecs are recommended:

  • AAC

  • IMA 4:1

See QuickTime Audio Codecs for more information about audio codecs.

Chapter and Podcast Markers for QuickTime Output

Chapter markers created in Final Cut Pro are passed through (transferred) to other output files that can be recognized by QuickTime Player, iTunes (.m4v files), Final Cut Pro, and DVD Studio Pro. For information about adding chapter and podcast markers, see Adding Markers to a Clip.

About the Compression Settings Dialog

You use the Compression Settings dialog to change your video codec settings for the QuickTime output format. To open the Compression Settings dialog, click the Video Settings button in the QuickTime Encoder pane.

If a particular setting can’t be changed, it remains dimmed. Some video codecs—such as Apple ProRes 422 and Photo-JPEG—allow you to make additional settings. If this is the case, the Options button becomes available. Click it to make additional settings.

Figure. Compression Settings dialog.

The Compression Settings dialog contains the following items, depending on which codec you choose in the Compression Type pop-up menu.

  • Key Frames: If your selected codec allows it, use the Key Frames Every field to enter the number of frames you want between your key frames. Codecs based on the temporal compression method use key frames. These act as a reference frame for the next sequence of frames, so that any data redundancy between the key frame and the ensuing frames can be removed. In between key frames are the less detailed delta frames. You need to insert key frames throughout your media file because content changes. Some video codecs allow you to insert a key frame every certain number of frames, while other video codecs use natural key frames by scanning the whole file to detect where the major similarities and differences occur and inserting the key frames accordingly.

    If there’s a lot of motion in your media file, you need key frames more often than you do with something more static, such as a talking head sequence.

  • Quality slider: Use this slider to make general setting changes to the overall image quality of your processed file. Quality is a subjective setting that trades image quality for bandwidth and gives the entire media file the same quality. Lower quality means that the finished file requires less bandwidth and streams faster. Available settings are Least, Low, Medium, High, and Best. You can also drag the slider between any of these settings to obtain a more specific rate (displayed numerically).
  • Options button: This button remains dimmed unless the codec you selected from the Compression type pop-up menu offers options. It is recommended that you contact the manufacturers of these codecs directly for more information about the additional options they offer.
  • Data Rate: Use this field to set the number of kilobytes per second (KB/sec.) required to deliver your media file. This setting is useful if you have a specific bit rate (such as a DSL connection) or amount of space (on a DVD or CD-ROM). You should choose a data rate that is appropriate for your delivery medium and set it as high as possible within your data limitations. When you set a data rate, you override other codec quality settings because the codec compresses the file as much as it needs to based on its data rate limit.

    Remember that the data rate is only for the video track of a media file. If your media file also contains audio, you must allow some space for that too.

About the Sound Settings Dialog

You use the Sound Settings dialog to change your audio compression settings for either the QuickTime or AIFF output format. To open this dialog, click the Audio Settings button in the QuickTime Movie or AIFF Encoder pane.

If a particular audio setting cannot be changed, it remains dimmed. Most audio codecs allow you to make additional settings. If this is the case, various buttons and controls become available. Click them to make additional settings.

Figure. Sound Settings dialog.

The Sound Settings dialog contains the following items, with various choices for each, depending on the audio codec you choose in the Format pop-up menu.

  • Rate: Choose the sample rate you want to use for your media file. The higher the sample rate, the higher the audio quality, but the larger the file. Downloading a larger file takes longer and requires more bandwidth.
  • Options: This checkbox remains dimmed unless the codec you selected from the Format pop-up menu offers options. It is recommended that you contact the manufacturers of these codecs directly for more information about the additional options they offer.

QuickTime Audio Sample Sizes and Rates

If you have the disk space and bandwidth, it is best to leave your audio uncompressed. Uncompressed audio normally uses 8-bit (phone quality) or 16-bit (CD quality) samples. Compressor supports up to 64 bits per sample floating point and a maximum sample rate of 192 kHz.

Choosing an Audio Codec

AAC is a good general-purpose audio delivery codec and it is compatible with a wide variety of playback devices. For QuickTime movies playing on slower computers, IMA is a better choice because it is less computer intensive, thus allowing the computer to focus on the more challenging video stream. See QuickTime Audio Codecs for more information about audio codecs.