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What's quicker at exporting, FCP7 or Compressor?

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Martin Robbins
What's quicker at exporting, FCP7 or Compressor?
on Jan 23, 2012 at 1:43:15 pm

I have 4 45 minute videos that need exporting in the next 5 hours, currently doing the first one directly in FCP 7 it's taking ages, it's been going nearly 2 hours and only on 40%.

It is currently an Apple Intermediate Codec 16:9 and I am exporting to a 4:3 letterbox H264 file.

For some reason in FCP when I went File- Send to - Compressor, nothing was happening. I didn't want to mess about with it as on a tight schedule so went for FCP export. Also in Compressor can you create a letterbox?


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Bret Williams
Re: What's quicker at exporting, FCP7 or Compressor?
on Jan 23, 2012 at 3:32:22 pm

FIRST - Why would you want letterboxed?

Compressor is faster. Export QT movies, as references not self contained if you're looking for speed and to not take up 3 hours of space, or self contained if you need masters of your project. But the latter takes longer to write to your drives, and would be 4 large files.

Set up a quick cluster in Qmaster in system prefs.

Add your 4 files to compressor choose setting and destinations. Click submit and choose your cluster. Now click batch monitor and navigate to your submission to view progress.

You're probably going to be exporting all day depending on your settings. I find h264 @ single pass CBR, 65% quality, 256k AAC audio, is almost imperceptible to a dual pass VBR of full quality ( which will take eons longer). But do your own mini tests.


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Stephen Smith
Re: What's quicker at exporting, FCP7 or Compressor?
on Jan 23, 2012 at 3:35:54 pm

Doing a "Send to Compressor" is very slow. This is what i like to do:

File, Export, Quicktime Movie.

The default setting is "Current Setting". This will make everything what ever settings your project settings are. So the Export is really fast.

Then bring the movie you exported into compressor and turn it into what you want.

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Bret Williams
Re: What's quicker at exporting, FCP7 or Compressor?
on Jan 23, 2012 at 5:09:12 pm

I agree.

It's very slow because it rerenders every frame of your timeline. So if you're compressing to mpeg or h264 or whatever, it actually rerenders the stack of layers in your timeline directly to the chosen codec, without ProRes as an in-between for example. But since ProRes looks so good, it's not a particularly useful feature. However, if you were rendering in a low res codec for speed, or only rendering every 4th frame or something, then you'd probably want it to rerender. I don't think send to compressor is multiprocessor aware either, or it can't hyper thread, or something. Just like final cut. So yes, verrrry slow.


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Jason Brown
Re: What's quicker at exporting, FCP7 or Compressor?
on Jan 23, 2012 at 5:55:22 pm

If you guys do much h264 compression and can live in .mov containers...you should look at an h264 accelerator. I know elgato makes one, I use the Matrox version. I use "send to compressor" and it's amazingly fast. Depending on footage codec...it can be up to 2-3 times faster than real-time in my experience.


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Steve Eisen
Re: What's quicker at exporting, FCP7 or Compressor?
on Jan 23, 2012 at 7:31:33 pm

I use Matrox Max and is super fast with great quality. TurboHD is second.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Bret Williams
Re: What's quicker at exporting, FCP7 or Compressor?
on Jan 25, 2012 at 10:21:53 pm

Ive been getting amazingly fast results lately by using my new i7 iMac and MacPro clustered together . I love seeing it break up even the smallest video into twenty something segments and tearing at it. Usually faster than real time. I also usually point the output at the dropbox folder shared with the client so I can just walk away, and see the result on my iPhone when it's done.


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