Though several other applications including Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premier, DVD Studio Pro and others will offer varying degrees of video compression/conversion, Compressor is by far the most powerful application for professional video compression/conversion. It is recommended that video be processed in Compressor before it is published to disk media or the web. Navigation is fairly intuitive, but can take a little time to get used to. The main thing to consider when using Compressor is that processing times can be very long. Processing an 11 minute 1080p 24fps video from Final Cut Pro into a video file compressed in the provided HDDVD default took over 7 hours on a 2.6ghz quad core (dual dual core) MacPro with 2 gigabytes of RAM.
Compressor offers standard H.264 and MPEG 2 defaults currently in wide use. These include various DVD compressions, HDDVD compression and high, medium and low bandwidth H.264 streaming compressions. Audio compressions run the gamut from Dolby 5.1 to mpeg3.
H.264 is by far the most superior video compression standard and is currently the most widely used for HD content both web based and on disk media (HDDVD and Blu-ray). With the exception of standard definition DVD compression which must be mpeg2, it is virtually always a good idea to use H.264.
Starting a New Project
When you open Compressor you will be prompted to choose the format for your final compression (fig. 1)
By doing this and running the compression you can get a great compressed file, but you can also continue and make more highly specialized decisions using the Settings and Destinations tab
Settings and Destinations
To add specifications to file for compression, drag and drop settings from the Settings and Destination tab (fig. a). This is where you can decide where to save your final and make changes that will give you different final products.
View your settings in the information box (fig. b)
You can see the settings you have applied to the file overlaid onto the file in the viewer area (fig. c).