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Old October 2nd, 2013, 07:34 PM   #1
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What's the opinion on compressor 4? And Motion 5?

I've read reviews elsewhere; but, honestly, i don't trust anyone but you guys.

Do you find it buggy?
Any problems with Multicore renders?
Any problems with the new function that's supposed to help FCPX export?
Does it assist in ingest?

Anyone have any experience with distributed processing?
ala another machine to assist with exporting from Compressor? or FCPX (that would be nice, too)

Does Motion5 have better performance?
Mark Ahrens
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Old October 3rd, 2013, 11:33 AM   #2
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Re: What's the opinion on compressor 4? And Motion 5?

Here's my 2 cents worth.

Once upon a time - the world of video compression was a dark and stormy place with few trails and a thousand potholes ready to trip up any traveler.

Then everyone in the freeking world became interested in "doing video."

So big players started blazing trails through the worst of the terrain and making it much easier for people to get from point A to point B. One of them was Apple.

Their strategy as a market leader was to either develop or license a handfull of cutting edge technologies - standardize on them - and make sure they worked pretty flawlessly across their product spectrum.

Other companies tried to do the same thing. Adobe with Flash, Microsoft with Silverlight AVI/WMV variants, Ogg and On2 et al.

And of course the consortiums like MPEG.

All that made it ever easier to get something digitized, make it smaller, and make it playable.

But it's impossible to make the process TOO easy, because you still have a mess of competing systems and IP silos and stuff is always evolving and presenting a moving target.

The bottom line is that if you encode on a system, for others using the same system, it's pretty darn easy to encode properly these days.

But if you encode on one system - for display on ANOTHER system, it's much harder.

Then starting about 5 years back, the monster video services starting playing. YouTube, Vimeo, et al, provided yet another way to "standardize" video distribution by accepting uploaded video - then transcoding and versioning as necessary to make it serve-able to a VERY wide audience.

So that's the landscape today. For the vast majority of people who want to make video at point A - and make it available for people to watch at Point B - there are way more tools now than there were a few years back.

And using those tools to get good results is WAY easier than ever.

If you sit at a nexus where you get many formats IN - and/or need to serve files to many formats OUT - then you need to keep active with tools necessary to custom transcode for your client's needs. But, increasingly, these "automated" systems are taking over from custom compression and doing a VERY effective job of that.

I think over the past year, I've had two or three jobs (out of maybe 60?) that I needed to fire up Telestream Episode to encode to something weird. Everything else I could do via Vimeo Pro or just sending a properly encoded H-264 file directly out of FCP-X using one of it's presets.

So the need to be a "compressionist" is a dwindling thing. It's certainly not GONE. And people who can do that really well are still extremely useful. But they are less necessary every day.

Motion graphics are a different beast. That's where art meets software. You can't really use "presets" to generate work of true artistic merit that goes beyond relying on clip media that anyone else can also purchase and re-purpose.

Compressor and Motion are amazing tools. But they're way under appreciated. They cost nearly nothing - but learning to master them (especially something like Motion) takes tremendous time and there's no guarantee that you can recoup much value for that time - because most people will just open them, find them too complex to bother with - and just use the "presets."

Bottom line. Compressor 4 and Motion 5 are AMAZING tools. They work wonderfully. Thats not the problem. The problem is that they are complicated tools that try to simplify things that are pretty damn difficult to understand at a fundamental level. And harder still to operate. They kinda feel to me in the category of scientific calculators. You can hand me one of those and IF I knew what I was doing, I could calculate the decaying orbit of a body around a particular planet - but I (and most people) simply DON'T know the first thing about doing something like that - so no matter how cool the tool is, it's not going to put any extra money in my pocket. There are exceptions. And you might be one of them.

But most people are not.

I know I'm not. I'm conversant with both of them. I can operate them adequately. But go become truly good with either I see as a massive waste of time. Because the budget will be $X bucks with 20 hours of intense Motion work - and the exact same $X bucks if I grab a templet that some other person who wanted to become a motion expert created and that I can customize.

How I see it anyway.

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Bill Davis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 3rd, 2013, 05:12 PM   #3
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Re: What's the opinion on compressor 4? And Motion 5?

Bill has many interesting points which I won't reiterate.

I don't use compressor as much as I used to back in the FCP7 days, partly because my business has changed to delivering more online (mostly H.264) instead of the huge variations we used to supply, and partly because creating compressor presets allows me to use those presets in FCPX to export to the weird stuff directly (or rather indirectly using the presets without having to go in to compressor).

Motion 5 is a whole other ball of wax. Due to it's integration I regularly find myself (and our other editors) creating some new effect, generator or transition in Motion and using it within FCPX as required. I'm just hoping that Apple finally get around to re-adding the 'send-to-motion' feature we had in FCP7 in the next (10.1?) version we hope will be out in October.

Motion 5 is absolutely worth learning in you need anything beyond basic video. If you're a hobbyist producing stuff for YouTube then maybe it's not big deal. For the price of Motion 5 compared to what it's capable of - it's a real steal. The only 'gotcha' is that there is a learning curve. Too many people dismiss it because it's not 'trivial' to use without either a. reading the manual or b. watching some tutorials.
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Old October 11th, 2013, 05:16 AM   #4
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Re: What's the opinion on compressor 4? And Motion 5?

What i meant by my original question is, are they better relative to their previous iterations?
Performance aside, i know they're necessary for integration with X.

I've read that Motion 5 is still not 64bit.
I gather that it's highly dependent on your video card heft (in the case of Motion).
But do you notice any improvement in performance?

I've since downloaded both since i've grown fond of FCPX's paradigm (PPCC was a bore).
I think i may have been hasty with the dual installation of FCS and X,C4,M5, . . . i'm having problems setting up multicore processing in the new compressor. It seems the new installation knocked my old setup offline.
Mark Ahrens
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Old December 22nd, 2013, 09:16 PM   #5
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Re: What's the opinion on compressor 4? And Motion 5?

I'd like to continue with Mark's questions, especially with regard to Compressor, and especially now that Compressor 4.1 is available.

Compressor 4.1 main features, that I'm interested in, are:
1. Preview of how a media file will look after transcoding,
2. Active View - a display of status information to monitor progress of the transcoding process. (FCPX has this too but is the one Compressor better?), and last but not least .
3. Distributed Transcoding! - the act of sharing transcoding work among multiple computers or computer processors. (p. 11f in "White Paper")

The above items I got from the "Transition to Compressor 4.1, White Paper", dtd Dec 2013:
And, FCPX Compressor: Apple - Compressor - Overview

Question or concern: What I don't get is, what does Compressor 4.1 do that you con't do in FCPX? Aside from Distributed Transcoding?

Is the Active View any better than the progress window available in FCPX? Like, bigger, more information, etc.?

For what its worth, I don't need metadata, copyright info (at this point), closed-captioning, Targa, DPX, or Cineon support.
Frame-accurate timecode controls - don't think I need them at this point.
Trim media - I'm doing this in FCPX.
Customized settings - can't say I need this, either.
Share FCPX settings - don't need this.

So, for $49.99 is the only real benefit (for me) the Distributed Transcoding? Given that my Mac Pro is a 3,1 and my MacBook Pro is a 2008 machine too, Distributed Transcoding could be helpful. However, I don't want to overheat the MacBook Pro at the expense of saving a little time.

This is a relatively cheap application but if there isn't anything, or very little, that I can use then it is hard to justify.

The REALLY BIG question: Is there something I'm missing???
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Old December 22nd, 2013, 09:42 PM   #6
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Re: What's the opinion on compressor 4? And Motion 5?

Interested to see the responses, but as for me . . . i rarely open Compressor these days. After setting up a couple of custom presets to use in FCPX i find little need. Where i used to export reference movies and then batch encode using compressor (usually overnight). That workflow isn't possible with FCPX.
I would like to see a return of some kind of batch export of several projects, but i'll take the trade off.

I haven't updated yet due to workload and projects in midstream. So, i can't comment on any new improvements.

I used to use it for uploads to YouTube, DVDs, watermarking and always set it so my cores were maxed out.
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