My client is editing on an older MBP (2.5GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM) with FCP7 and says his rendering times are 14- to 16-to-1, and he is looking to shorten them. Is getting one of the latest quad-core iMacs or Mac minis and setting it up as a network render node in compressor, the way to go? If so, any idea how much will render times improve?
The budget is limited (isn't it always?) and he'd rather avoid buying a Mac Pro tower if possible. He prefer to continue editing on his laptop, as well.
A related question is about the overhead of such a setup: is it significantly slower than straight rendering on that quad core Mac mini or iMac?
FCP 7 (and lower) cannot utilize multiple machines, nor multiple processors on the same machine to speed up rendering. Only faster processors and a little more RAM speed this up. Getting the latest iMac and editing with that would help. But you cannot farm out rendering to other machines. FCP doesn't work like that.
Compressor (QMaster) supports distributed rendering while FCP does not - does this sound right? In other words in my original post, I was confusing FCP timeline rendering (no distributed rendering support) and compressor / QMaster which while offering distributed rendering support, does not help with FCP rendering (unlike, say, AME and PP relationship).