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Old September 5th, 2012, 02:08 AM   #1
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Compressor the only option?!

Hello -

Been reading the reviews at the Apple App Store regarding the latest version of Compressor (4.0.4)....and they don't seem to favorable.

Anybody who has first hand experiences (good or bad) with this current version of Compressor, I would greatly appreciate your input.

If it's truly that bad, are there any other stable and reliable solutions that will work with FCP X?
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Old September 5th, 2012, 07:02 AM   #2
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Re: Compressor the only option?!

For non-Apple options, Sorenson Squeeze and Telestream Episode are excellent 3rd party encoders. I've used Squeeze for a while now and prefer it to Compressor.
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Old September 5th, 2012, 01:03 PM   #3
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Re: Compressor the only option?!

Having used Compressor for years and having not read the reviews you mentioned I can only say that in version 4 a lot of the presets that have been there for years were removed by Apple. You can rebuild them and make your own custom presets but it takes a little time initially if you know what you are doing and a lot of trial and error if you don't. However, for $50, it's a great deal. It's very customizable and if you have a dual-processor MacPro, it can blaze thru encodes.

I also use Adobe Media Encoder which is fast if you can use their presets but in many ways it's less versatile than Compressor. Episode is good, but at $500 expensive.
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Old September 5th, 2012, 05:23 PM   #4
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Re: Compressor the only option?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark L. Whalen View Post
For non-Apple options, Sorenson Squeeze and Telestream Episode are excellent 3rd party encoders. I've used Squeeze for a while now and prefer it to Compressor.
Thanks for the reply Mark!!

Are you using the Standard or Pro version of Squeeze?
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Old September 5th, 2012, 05:33 PM   #5
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Re: Compressor the only option?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
Having used Compressor for years and having not read the reviews you mentioned I can only say that in version 4 a lot of the presets that have been there for years were removed by Apple. You can rebuild them and make your own custom presets but it takes a little time initially if you know what you are doing and a lot of trial and error if you don't. However, for $50, it's a great deal. It's very customizable and if you have a dual-processor MacPro, it can blaze thru encodes.

I also use Adobe Media Encoder which is fast if you can use their presets but in many ways it's less versatile than Compressor. Episode is good, but at $500 expensive.
Thanks for the reply William.

Yes, $50 for an encoder is a pretty darn good price....compared to Squeeze and Episode.

You mentioned AME. How does the quality compare to Compressor?

Also on a side note related to that; does the Mercury Playback Engine assist with encoding in any way or just editing?
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Old September 5th, 2012, 07:09 PM   #6
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Re: Compressor the only option?!

I don't know if the so-called Mercury Playback Engine is utilized by AME but with some codecs it is very, very fast and grabs most of the CPU when comparable encodes in Compressor don't. For example if I use the stock preset for You Tube HD in both programs, AME is faster and I can see the CPUs light up in Activity Monitor. However, AME doesn't automatically use the same frame rate as your file and you have to adjust from 24fps and make a custom preset or keep changing the frame rate each time. Compressor on a dual processor MacPro, set up correctly, will go as fast and doesn't need the frame rate adjusted. But in terms of quality, I haven't seen much difference, although other may see things that are not acceptable to them.
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Old September 6th, 2012, 05:47 PM   #7
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Re: Compressor the only option?!

By the way, is Compressor a native 64bit app?
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Old September 6th, 2012, 08:24 PM   #8
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Re: Compressor the only option?!

Yes and no. Compressor itself is a simple program that sets up the parameters for the encode so it's not important if it is 32bit or 64bit. It's the encoding codecs that are important here and the filter programming. The BluRay h264 video encoder is clearly 64bit as it immediately grabs the CPU in force. The AC3 encoder apparently isn't as it only grabs one core of the CPU. The ProRes encoder is very fast but never taxes the CPU so unless Apple tells us, it's hard to tell. The filters I really don't know although in FCPX it seems many of them are 64bit. If that translates to Compressor then yes.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 07:40 AM   #9
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Re: Compressor the only option?!

An easy way to tell whether an encoder is 32-bit or 64-bit is to inspect it with Activity Monitor as it runs. If the "Kind" column shows "Intel" then it's a 32-bit Intel executable. "Intel (64-bit)" indicates a 64-bit executable.

An executable can use all cores ("grabbing the cpu") regardless of whether it is 32-bit or 64-bit. In order to do so the executable must be multi-threaded (several threads of execution running concurrently in the same address space), multi-process (e.g., spawning multiple processes, each in its own address space, which run concurrently), or some combination of the two.

A real trick in using all the cores is devising an algorithm that lends itself to massive parallelism: without much need for communication among the threads, and without much contention for other resources such as memory or disk I/O.

To further complicate matters, some executables underlying FCPX do the bulk of their work on graphics cards (GPUs) rather than the main CPU. GPUs provide dozens of compute units and impose their own contention issues -- for memory access, for communication among threads of execution, etc. Executables that work mainly on the GPU may show low "% CPU" in Activity Monitor while still using lots of compute resources.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 05:18 PM   #10
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Re: Compressor the only option?!

Absolutely true, upgrading my graphics card really knocked FCPX renders into another league. The question I have is whether filters in Compressor that are similar to those in FCPX have been programmed to utilize the same hardware resources. Compressor does beat FCPX in dual processor MacPros when the QuickCluster rendering is activated.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 05:57 PM   #11
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Re: Compressor the only option?!

Squeeze is nice but one issue I've had that keeps me from using it is that there's a very noticeable color shift in output with version 8.x, at least with h264 encoding. I've tried all the different color space options but they all output the same shift. Compressor and Adobe Media Encoder have no noticeable shift. Also, Squeeze's CUDA encoding for the most part is bunk.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 03:58 AM   #12
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Re: Compressor the only option?!

For encoding to H.264 you should install the X264 codec (that you can then use inside compressor). It's so much faster than Apple's H.264 encoder and quality is better as well.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 01:36 PM   #13
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Re: Compressor the only option?!

Unless anyone comes up with a good reason not to, I'm going to pull the trigger and get Compressor 4. The reason is it is my understanding that it does a better job encoding and hopefully I can create a sharper and better quality DVD and avoid any blockiness issues.

So, for William (or anybody else), I have a question or request:

Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
Having used Compressor for years and having not read the reviews you mentioned I can only say that in version 4 a lot of the presets that have been there for years were removed by Apple. You can rebuild them and make your own custom presets but it takes a little time initially if you know what you are doing and a lot of trial and error if you don't.
Since I probably fall in the "don't know what I'm doing" category, and, I would like to avoid as much trial-and-error as possible, is there anyone out there that can tell me where to find the original presets are, OR, suggest some good presets? Or even some combination (i.e., the original was "this" but recommend "that")?
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Old February 4th, 2013, 03:00 PM   #14
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Re: Compressor the only option?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winfried Dobbe View Post
For encoding to H.264 you should install the X264 codec (that you can then use inside compressor). It's so much faster than Apple's H.264 encoder and quality is better as well.
Can you post a link to this codec (installable in compressor 4)?
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