I work at a public access center and we have people making their shows in 1080 30p, and have them exporting them as H.264 .mp4 files.
What settings would you recommend for the best exporting time? I want to start with that and then work backward to get better quality, but the big thing is, these people have to sit here at our center and wait for it to finish exporting. So while they may be able to come in and edit two hour long 1080p HD shows in about 40 minutes (church services, very little actual editing), they often have to sit here at the center for several hours, even take lunch breaks and come back, just waiting on the files to export.
So in terms of bit rate, VBR, CBR, 2 pass, and all those settings, what should I be looking at to get the files to export quicker (other than the obvious BUY A FASTER COMPUTER)?
Faster computer, faster drives, only option, sorry...
When you start messing with a codec's settings, you may help to make a smaller file, cut back on encoding time, but only minimally. I doubt you'll find anything speeds up the encodes in any noticeable or meaningful way.
Just my 2 cents.
Single pass, CBR, maybe, but, really, I doubt on a 2 hour Timeline, you'll save more than a minute or two.
There are different h264 encoders which work at different speeds. The fastest one Ive found (much faster that Apples) is x264 - which is free. The program handbrake (
) is the easiest way to use it. The encoder is a VBR encoder which actually has options for how fast to encode, obviously the quality drops as it get faster, but even at the fastest setting its still very good.
Obviously the disadvantage is you have to export a master file first but even if you export a proves file and encode that using handbrake its usually faster than going straight of FCP
… every Mac has a built-in, 'hardwired chip' (… I know, no single piece of silicium, but …) for h.264-encoding.
btmk, the two presets for 'Apple Devices' utilize this speed-optimized encoder.
haven't scientically tested it, just anecdotical, on my slow MacMini, these presets are fastest (therfore file size isn't optimized=files are bigger than other export settings)
no idea, how Macs with a designated GPU or several cores handle that any better/faster .....
If you don't have a lot of content motion – say, the show is comprised of talking heads, you can cut your encoding time dramatically by not checking multi-pass and your quality should be acceptable. Do some tests on short sections.
There is a couple of things you can do to speed up encoding.
I'm assuming you're using Compressor and encoding to H.264 mp4s.
First, make sure you're running the latest version of Compressor. Apple's made some major improvements to their compression in Compressor 4.2.
Second, go into Compressor's preferences. Under Advanced,
- check enable additional Compressor instances, and set it to the maximum number that the application will let you set.
- check use GPU to process Final Cut Pro content sent to Compressor
Still in Compressor's preferences, under My Computer, make sure Allow other computers to process batches on my computer is set to OFF (unless you want to get into running a render farm, which is another thing entirely).
So for compression settings, set up a custom preset. You can set frame size, frame rate, etc as you need, but for compression speed:
- turn multi-pass off.
- turn off any video effects (noise removal, etc).
You'll sacrifice image quality, but with multi-pass off, you'll use GPU compression, which will rip though your video like a hot knife through butter.
Finally, don't export a master file from FCPX. Either send to compressor from your timeline, or add your new compressor presets as a destination under the File -> Share menu. Save yourself that extra step in your workflow and the time it takes to render our a master file.
Once your job is submitted for compression, give your computer all the CPU and memory it can use. Quit any other running applications and let it do it's thing. Once exception to that is, I sometimes run Activity Monitor to watch the CPU's run and see if my settings are working. I notice that after about 5 to 10 minutes of working on a compression job, my MacPro will kick into high gear and use almost all of my CPU capacity. It's a cool thing to watch.
Also, if you're compressing with a compressor destination in FCPX, turn off the scrubber so you don't accidentally bump the mouse and start scrubbing through your timeline or a video clip in your library. That'll halt your compression job in the background until you leave the mouse alone.