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I would like to coin a phrase – “Litterboxed”

Today a co-worker and I were discussing the need for a word to describe a video that is simultaneously letterboxed and pillarboxed. I dislike that particular lapse in effort so much that the word “Litterboxed” seemed to be the best fit. So there. Run wild with it, internets.

Posted by: Ross Daly on Dec 15, 2010 at 11:17:59 am final cut pro, compressor

Compressor Repair to the rescue.

I have thankfully not needed to ever use compressor repair before. It has always lived in the back of my mind as one of those backup plans, like triple-a, or life insurance. At work my tower has somehow really tweaked itself and compressor was the hardest hit. This was the first sign that something was amiss. I got this error immediately after logging in.

From there it got worse. FCP wouldn't open up, qmaster wouldn't/couldn't start, and compressor wouldn't let me submit any jobs. I was stopped dead. Multiple restarts, zapping the pram, and repairing permissions (remember doing that back in the day?) ended up fixing Final Cut, but not Qmaster. After I.T. frustratedly left I decided it was time for my ace in the hole. I downloaded Compressor repair from digital rebellion and gave it a shot.

This is what the opening screen looks like.

And this is what Compressor Repair found! Weird, right?

I did what it told me and reinstalled from discs. Voila! I'm back to work! I know that many people will say that Compressor repair didn't actually fix anything. Reinstalling compressor is a somewhat logical step in troubleshooting too. What Compressor Repair did do was to tell me WHY I should reinstall. It told me that there were missing files. Nothing short of a reinstall or restoring from a backup could have helped me then.

Compressor Repair saved me the trouble of reinstalling all of Final Cut Studio and it got me back on my feet much faster. Best of all it is free! Keep it in mind for when the sailing isn't so smooth, and hopefully it can save your day as well.

PS digital rebellion makes a few other FCP related apps as well. I haven't tried any of the others, but by the sound of them, they seem helpful. In addition to a bunch of smaller apps like data rate calculator, they make "FCS Maintenance Pack" , "FCP Versioner", "FCS Remover", and "Preference Manager".

Posted by: Ross Daly on Nov 30, 2010 at 1:00:57 pm compressor, final cut pro

How to change mpeg-1 export settings in compressor.

I would like to start by saying that I don’t know why anyone would ever want to use MPEG-1. I do get requests to make them, and sometimes I am unable to convince the person to go with another codec. It is a terribly outdated codec and most people requesting them are using terribly outdated spec sheets, or are just themselves outdated. Nonetheless the situation occurs where I am forced to make one and it was always fraught with problems. Compressor has a mpeg-1 preset, but it doesn’t let you modify it at all. Unless I want to pick the default size of 352×240, I am out of luck (That has always seemed to be a very strange default preset as well)
These are the default settings of the Mpeg-1 preset

Recently one of my coworkers figured out something really useful. It turns out you can build a custom preset off of the mpeg-1 one, then find it in the finder, open it in a text editing app, and modify it to end up with whatever frame size you want!

In Compressor search for mpeg and right click on the mpeg-1 preset. Select duplicate. Now quit compressor and browse to home>library>application support>compressor> and you will find your preset.

Open that in your text editor of choice and you will see something like this:

I am sure you can modify whatever you want in there, but this is what I changed to get a larger frame size.

Tweak to your hearts delight. Save it. Restart compressor and you will have your new preset!

Based on Chapper’s comment, I looked into it, and it turns out that this method used to be as easy as described above, but something (possibly a pro app update?) has thrown another wrench into the mix. There are three variables that compressor will choke on and will need to be changed. In the pic below you see them highlighted in red.

You are going to replace the two instances of “-100″ in automatic framesize with “0″ and set the framerate to your desired framerate. Now save, restart and you should be good to go!

Posted by: Ross Daly on Nov 4, 2010 at 11:13:16 am final cut pro, compressor

Hello all, this is my little corner of "the cow"! I'm a vfx artist and I work in final cut, nuke and after effects. I love finding workflow hacks, and I'm always looking for a new keyboard shortcut! For more posts check out You Down With FCP
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