Using Final Cut Pro with Compressor

This section explains how to submit Final Cut Pro projects directly to Compressor.

Submitting a Final Cut Pro Project for Transcoding

You can use Compressor to improve the transcoding process for your Final Cut Pro projects. For example, you can transcode your Final Cut Pro project without rendering it. This avoids a potentially time-consuming step depending on how many transitions, filters, and video effects have been applied to your project, and also results in no generational loss of the content from your source media files. This process also eliminates one step from the earlier transcoding workflow, which involved exporting from Final Cut Pro to QuickTime and then transcoding that QuickTime movie in Compressor.

Depending on its file size, a Final Cut Pro project that is transcoded only on your computer could significantly affect your computer’s performance.

Note: Transcoding a Final Cut Pro project doesn’t actually create a rendered project, although the transcoded output media file does have all the rendered effects applied. If you want to continue working on the project within Final Cut Pro, you need to render it in Final Cut Pro.

To transcode a Final Cut Pro project
  1. Open the project you want to transcode in Final Cut Pro.

  2. Use one of the following methods to select the project for transcoding in Final Cut Pro:

    • In the Browser, select the sequence you want to transcode.

    • Make the Timeline the active window by clicking in it.

  3. Save your Final Cut Pro project and give it an appropriate name.

  4. Choose File > Send To > Compressor.

    Compressor opens (if it was not already open) and the sequence appears as a job in a new untitled batch.

    Figure. A Final Cut Pro sequence as job in the Batch window.
  5. Assign settings and destinations to the job as necessary.

    See the following sections for more information:

  6. Click the Submit button in the Batch window.

Compressor begins transcoding the Final Cut Pro project and then closes.

Note: Final Cut Pro needs to remain open throughout this process, because much of the transcoding preparation of the frames occurs within Final Cut Pro rather than within Compressor.

See Exporting from Final Cut Pro and Distributed Processing for information on how this process works if you are using distributed processing.

Resubmitting a Final Cut Pro Project

You can use the History window to resubmit a Final Cut Pro project, the same way as you resubmit any other batch. Compressor recognizes that this particular batch originated from Final Cut Pro, so when you drag the batch from the History window to the Batch window, it automatically opens Final Cut Pro.

See Resubmitting a Batch for details about the steps in this process.

Exporting from Final Cut Pro and Distributed Processing

Compressor and Apple Qmaster can distribute video and audio compression tasks over multiple computers connected to a network.

Note: This Compressor distributed processing feature is limited to computers that have Final Cut Studio installed.

There are two methods you can use to avoid exporting self-contained media files from Final Cut Pro 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 are 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.

  2. 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.

  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. Click the Submit button.

    The submit dialog appears.

  11. 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 About AutoCluster and Unmanaged Services for more information.

  12. Click Submit.

    Important: For best results, be sure Final Cut Pro is already open on the cluster’s computers. Apple Qmaster attempts to open Final Cut Pro if necessary; however, if the External A/V Device warning appears, Final Cut Pro will not open and cannot be used. Additionally, when using the AutoCluster feature, be aware that submitting a batch will cause Final Cut Pro to open on the computers providing the unmanaged services, which might surprise whoever is currently using the computers.

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 About AutoCluster and Unmanaged Services 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 About AutoCluster and Unmanaged Services for more information.

  13. Click Submit.