Many of the built-in settings in the Settings pane use the QuickTime Movie format. This format encodes video files for many uses. You can also create custom settings that use the QuickTime Movie transcoding format.
The properties of built-in and custom settings that use this format are located in the General, Video, and Audio inspectors. These properties are described below.
Important: When you add a setting (or a destination that includes settings) to a job, Compressor analyzes the source media and then automatically assigns the most appropriate setting properties (based on the setting’s transcoding format and the characteristics of your source media file). It’s recommended that you use the automatically assigned setting properties.
Displays the setting name and transcoding format, as well as an estimated output file size. When you add a setting to a job or change the setting’s properties, this summary automatically updates.
Name: Displays the name of the setting.
Description: Displays the description of the setting.
Extension: Displays the extension of the output file (.mov).
Allow job segmenting: If you’ve set up distributed processing, select this checkbox to have Compressor process the output file using your shared computer group. For more information, see Transcode batches with multiple computers.
Default location: Select an item from the pop-up menu to set the default save location for transcoded files.
Format: Use the pop-up menu to set whether the output includes video and audio, video only, or audio only.
Optimize for network use: Select this checkbox to create a file that will start playing after only a small portion of the file has been downloaded from the network.
This section contains one property:
Set duration to: Sets the processing algorithm used to adjust the frame rate during transcoding. Select one of the following options:
[Percentage] of source: Modifies the output clip’s speed by a percentage of the source clip’s speed. Enter a value in the percentage field or choose a preset value from the adjacent pop-up menu (with a downward arrow).
[Total duration]: Sets the duration of the clip. Enter a timecode duration in the field or click the arrows to increase or decrease the time.
So source frames play at [frame rate] fps: Nondestructively changes the playback speed of the clip, without discarding frames or creating new frames. This setting has no effect unless the “Frame rate” value in the Video inspector is different than the source file’s frame rate. For example, if you add a 10-second source file with a frame rate of 24 fps to Compressor, set the “Frame rate” property in the Video inspector to 25 fps, then select “So source frames play at 25 fps” in the General inspector, the duration of the transcoded clip (at 25 fps) is 9 seconds and 15 frames.
For more information, see Retime video and audio.
Pixel aspect ratio: Use this pop-up menu to set the pixel aspect ratio (the ratio between the image frame width and height). You can also modify the aspect ratio of the output file using cropping and padding properties; for more information, see Modify frame size overview.
Note: This property can be set when the frame size property uses a specific frame size (for example, 720 x 480).
Frame rate: Use this pop-up menu to set the playback rate (the number of images displayed per second) for the output file. For more information, see Frame rate options overview.
Field order: Use the pop-up menu to set the output scanning method (either the field dominance or a conversion to progressive scanning). There are four options:
Same as Source: Maintains the same scanning method used by the source media file.
Progressive: Scans complete frames (not frames divided into interlaced fields).
Top First: Scans interlaced fields, giving dominance (field order) to the top field.
Bottom First: Scans interlaced fields, giving dominance (field order) to the bottom field.
Note: If you use a QuickTime movie preset based on the H.264 format (such as any of the presets in the Video Sharing Services settings), the “Field order” pop-up menu is automatically set to Progressive, and the other options are disabled. To set the field order to an interlaced option, click the Change button in the “QuickTime settings” area of the Video inspector, then click the Encoding pop-up menu and choose “Faster encode (Single-pass).” Click OK, then click the “Field order” pop-up menu and choose an interlace option (Top First or Bottom First).
Add clean aperture information: Select this checkbox to define clean picture edges in the output file. To do this, information is added to the output file to define how many pixels to hide, ensuring that no artifacts appear along the edges. When you play the output file in QuickTime Player, the pixel aspect ratio will be slightly altered; however, note that this process does not affect the actual number of pixels in the output file—it only controls whether information is added to the file that a player can use to hide the edges of the picture.
QuickTime settings: You can change the type of video compression by clicking the Change button and using the controls in the Standard Video Compression Settings window to modify the compression as appropriate. After you click OK and close the window, the setting’s video properties update to show your changes.
When QuickTime settings are set to H.264, a few additional controls appear:
Data rate: This pop-up menu allows you to choose a data rate for your video based on any of four options:
Custom: Enables a value field to set the number of kilobytes per second (kbps) to which you want to limit your video signal. Higher rates allow higher-quality video, but generate larger files that are slower to download or transmit.
Computer playback: Creates a larger file with higher quality.
Web publishing: Creates a smaller file (of lower quality) suitable for hosting on a website.
Automatic: Attempts to identify and apply the lowest possible data rate while maintaining maximum visual quality.
Important: When you set a data rate, you override other codec quality properties because the codec compresses the file as much as it needs to based on its data-rate limit.
H.264 profile: Use the pop-up menu to set the video compression for the output file. There are three options:
High: Provides high quality output.
Note: This setting is not compatible with older H.264 playback devices.
Main: Similar to the Baseline profile, with additional support for standard-definition (SD) video requirements.
Baseline: Primarily for video conferencing and mobile applications.
Entropy mode: Use the pop-up menu to set the entropy mode to CABAC, which provides higher-quality output, or CAVLC, which is faster.
Cropping and Padding
Customize the final cropping, sizing, and aspect ratio using the Cropping & Padding properties. Cropping removes video content from an image. Padding scales the image to a smaller size while retaining the output image’s frame size. For more information about these properties, see Modify frame size overview.
Cropping: This pop-up menu sets the dimension of the output image. The custom option allows you to enter your own image dimensions in the fields; other options use predetermined sizes. The Letterbox Area of Source option detects image edges and automatically enters crop values to match them. This is useful if you want to crop out the letterbox area (the black bars above and below a widescreen image) of a source media file.
Padding: This pop-up menu sets the scaling of the output image while retaining the output image’s frame size. The custom option allows you to enter your own scaling dimensions in the fields; other options use predetermined dimensions.
The following properties determine how the video will be resized, retimed, and otherwise adjusted when transcoded.
Resize filter: This pop-up menu sets the resizing method. There are three options:
Fast (Nearest Pixel): Provides the fastest processing time and with lower-quality output.
Better (Linear Filter): Provides a medium trade-off between processing time and output quality.
Best (Statistical Prediction): Provides the highest output quality, but takes longer.
Retiming Quality: This pop-up menu sets the retiming method. There are four options:
Fast (Nearest Frame): Uses a copy of the nearest available frame to fill the new in-between frames.
Better (Motion Adaptive): Uses deinterlacing on areas of the source file that contain movement to produce good-quality output.
Best (Motion Compensated): Uses deinterlacing on areas of the source file that contain movement to produce high-quality output.
Reverse Telecine: Removes the extra fields added during the telecine process to convert the film’s 24 fps to NTSC’s 29.97 fps. Choosing this item disables all the other Quality controls. For more information, see About reverse telecine.
Adaptive details: Select this checkbox to use advanced image analysis to distinguish between noise and edge areas during output.
Anti-aliasing level: Sets the softness level in the output image. Double-click the value and then manually enter a new value or drag the slider to the right to increase softness. This property improves the quality of conversions when you’re scaling media up. For example, when transcoding SD video to HD, anti-aliasing smooths jagged edges that might appear in the image.
Details level: Sets the amount of detail in the output image. Double-click the value and then manually enter a new value or drag the slider to set the value. This sharpening control lets you add detail back to an image being enlarged. Unlike other sharpening operations, the “Details level” property distinguishes between noise and feature details, and generally doesn’t increase unwanted grain. Increasing this value may introduce jagged edges, however, which can be eliminated by increasing the “Anti-aliasing level” slider.
For a list of available video effects and instructions on how to add a video effect to a setting, see Add and remove effects.
Sample rate: Use this pop-up menu to set the number of times per second that music waveforms (samples) are captured digitally. The higher the sample rate, the higher the audio quality and the larger the file size.
Sample size: Use the pop-up menu to manually set the sample size of the audio signal.
Copy audio tracks from source: Select the checkbox to copy the audio files from the source file (instead of re-encoding them during the transcoding process).
QuickTime settings: You can add an audio codec that you’ve installed on your system to customize the Compressor setting. To change the codec used in your setting, or to modify the codec’s properties, click the Change button and use the controls in the Sound Settings window to modify the codec as appropriate. After you click OK and close the window, the setting’s audio properties update to show your changes.
Include Lt Rt downmix track: Select this checkbox (available only when “Channel layout” is set to more than two tracks) to add an additional stereo track to the transcoded file that includes a stereo-mix version of the audio with the encoded surround information included.
For a list of available audio effects and instructions on how to add an audio effect to a setting, see Add and remove effects.