Join Jeff I. Greenberg for an in-depth discussion in this video Getting footage from FCP to Compressor, part of Compressor 3.5 Essential Training.
To be able to use Compressor, we have to be able to get stuff out of Final Cut Pro. To do so, we can do it in three different ways: as a Send To, as a QuickTime reference and a QuickTime full. No matter which way I pick, I do one good practice thing first which is I am going to duplicate my sequence. In duplicating my sequence, I am going to actually name it for its given use and the date, the client's name, maybe even my contact at the client, and what I am trying to do with it, for example a DVD Proof.
I even go as far as creating a Bin called Exports. That way if a week or two from now this client calls me up with a specific question about the sequence, I can fire up the exact sequence I gave him. I am going to go ahead and select this and from the File menu, I am going to choose Send To > Compressor. The advantage of sending stuff directly from Final Cut to Compressor is that instead of this first being rendered in the Final Cut Timeline and then compressed, when you use the Send To feature, Compressor ignores any Final Cut renders and actually renders directly into the final file format.
Where this is a benefit to you is say you are making a DVD, this footage instead of first being rendered for my sequence settings as ProRes, which is a very good codec, it's being pushed directly to MPEG-2 and the synthetic elements like the titles, like elements from Motion that are all more or less uncompressed stay uncompressed as long as possible in your workflow. The second way to get stuff from Final Cut to Compressor would be to select the File and say Export Using a QuickTime Movie.
Using a QuickTime conversion is really frowned upon at this point, because it's all these manual switches. That's what Compressor's job is, with checking Export QuickTime Movie. In this case, for this piece, we happen to have some SmoothCam clips that need to be rendered. I want to go ahead and let them finish the analysis and it's going to be where I'd like to save this file. I am going to save this file on my desktop. Where you save it probably would be your media system, your media drives.
But I am going to go ahead and I am going to put this on my desktop. I will leave that exact name. This again is that advantage of giving that name so well here in Final Cut. The big thing I'd like you to see is this switch, Make Movie Self-Contained. If I do this, this creates a QuickTime file with all video compressed ready to go as a separate individual physical object. That's going to be big. It's going to be as big as pretty much all the QuickTime files kind of combined into one. So for DV this is about five minutes to the gigabyte, for uncompressed standard definition, this is about a gigabyte per minute of your Timeline.
When you are working on one machine though, you are not going to go ahead and take that somewhere else, when you don't need it to live as a digital master. You are going to remove this switch. By removing this switch, it's going to create what's called a QuickTime reference and it might not even be the silliest idea to append the name of this with a 'ref' to help you remember that. When I hit Save, Final Cut will go ahead and do everything necessary for it to be a file with all the reference pieces connected to a little tiny stub and that stub will be on my desktop.
I am then going to bring that into Compressor. With that actually rendered and all those pieces taken care of, I can go out to my desktop and I can find that file and it's fairly small. If I get information on it, that's a Command+I, you will see most of its size is made up of the audio in it. It is a fully usable QuickTime file and it can go anywhere and do anything on your system and you can now bring this into Compressor. Two different ways you can bring this in the Compressor. One would be to take it to the dock.
I am going to have my dock on my side. You can actually just drag it right to Compressor and it gets brought in. You can see there is that ref. You could actually go up to the Add File on the toolbar and select the file from the Desktop. So we have three ways to get stuff from Final Cut. The first would be the Send To feature where I can just right-click or go to the File menu and say Send To > Compressor. The beauty of this is you don't have to actually use any of these render files.
Compressor will actually create brand-new ones in the end codec. So things will look as pure as possible. You can use the Export using QuickTime Movie with the advantage of it being a reference movie using existing media on your machine and no longer needing Final Cut Pro at all, or as a QuickTime full, is that's what I like to call a digital master, being a standalone item and being able to go into Compressor like any QuickTime file can.
- Learning the basic rules of compression Understanding transcoding and completing an HD cross-convert Building DVDs directly from the Compressor interface Adding chapters and art to a podcast with Compressor Building batch templates and creating job actions
Skill Level Beginner
Q: Can Compressor reduce a QuickTime movie file to the smaller MP4 or FLV format?
A: Technically, Compressor (or any other compression software) can reduce the files as much as you’d like. However, depending on the codec, data rate, and content of the files, the image quality will suffer. If the files are a slideshow with mostly static images, you can likely make great reductions in size. If the file contains more dynamic video, quality will suffer if you try to keep the size small..