Apple released Final Cut X, Motion and Compressor 4 on June 21st. All three are only available via the App Store. They cost $299.99, $49.99 and $49.99 respectively.
Compressor 4 is billed as “Powerful Encoding for Final Cut Pro.” The new compressor requires 2 to 4 gigs of RAM, 256MB VRAM, a 1280×768 monitor and 685MB disk space.
Looking at it initially, it appears that all of the apps that previously interacted with Compressor, such as the QMaster System Preference pane, Qadministrator, etc have been rolled into Compressor, living inside the .app bundle in the /Contents/EmbeddedApps directory. They are now accessible via the QMaster menu in the Compressor.app.
Apple has also changed how the Distributed Processing works. Instead of installing QMaster or Compressor on each machine that will be handling render jobs, Compressor gets installed on 1 machine, which then acts as the render controller. Communication to render nodes is now handled through ssh. This means the $49.99 purchase can be leveraged without acquiring a license for each render node. While rendering can be performed wirelessly, rendering over a wired interface is strongly recommended.
Compressor 4 now supports more codecs, frame rates and resolutions. A larger settings library provides quick access to most of these. While the H.264, MPEG-2 and ProRES are now assumed, the addition of HTTP is welcome, as are options for closed captioning, metadata (which can be read or written from the command line) and chapter markers.
And because it’s a shell based interface, QMaster can now control renders for Shake, Maya, After Effects, Lightwave and any other shell based render controllers. There are certainly some issues with the software that will be worked out over the next couple of months, but it looks well worth $49.99 to experiment with it.
318 is very involved with automated video workflows. If you have any questions about how the new changes to the Final Cut and other video products will impact your environment, please reach out to your Professional Services Manager or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss these with you in detail.