Compressing video for
distribution, we are often reminded, is part art and part science.
For most of us, however, knowing which part is which is the real
issue. To complicate the process further is Apple's compression
application, Compressor that ships without a hard copy manual.
Some swear by it, and many swear at it.
Bringing some clarity to the "art
and science" of video compression for distribution is Ripple
Training's DVD-ROM 14-chapter series entitled "The Art of
Encoding using Compressor." This comprehensive narrative
teaches by example, and tips using supplied content that ranges
from HDV to web compression. A caveat however: the DVD will not
explain workarounds to getting Compressor to work. If your issues
involve failures to launch Compressor, and other performance
problems, wander over to the Apple Knowledge base forum (http://search.info.apple.com/)
and search for solutions there. But if you are interested in
learning the full potential and versatility of Compressor, this
is your ticket.
The narrative by instructor Brian
Gary in this two-plus hour DVD is precise, easy-to-understand,
and implemented through an excellent instructional interface.
Various Compressor presets for virtually every type of delivery
are explained, and demonstrated by Gary using highlighted portions
of the Compressor interface. For example, when explaining how
to create custom presets for web delivery, the small tabs of
the presets are enlarged on screen for easy viewing as Gary explains
the process. You aren't guessing at what he is doing, you are
seeing it close up.
There are two ways to view the DVD. You
can either launch each movie chapter individually, or copy "The
Whole Enchilada.mov" file to your hard drive and move through
the tutorials in that matter. I prefer the second approach, because
it enabled me to move from chapter to chapter very quickly with
the tutorials. In any case, the chapters are both thorough and
What can you learn from this "The
Art of Encoding Using Compressor?" The better question is
trying to determine if anything was left out. As stated earlier,
Compressor ships only with an on line pdf help manual. Many users
are understandably unaware of how customizable the application
and its presets or templates are. For that information alone,
this DVD ROM is easily worth the cost. In addition, Gary shows
some capabilities of Compressor that I had no idea existed. For
example, the sections on creating low resolution four (4) hour
single layer" DVD Screener" output was very helpful.
Basic explanation on the differences between 4:1:1 and 4:2:0
color space and the issues associated with each provide a better
understanding of compressing NTSC DV to DVD format. But at its
basic level, the aid clearly shows not only how to use Compressor,
but how to use it to meet your needs. It's really hard to designate
any one selling point to this instructional aid, because it covers
so many, so well.
This information is so well-presented
in both form and the content that I highly recommend Apple include
it as part of any further updates to the Final Cut Studio package.
If Compressor leaves you the dark, this DVD-ROM will surely show
the light. An impressive package. One I keep going back to repeatedly
to learn more.
Purchase at the lafcpug
Copyright ©2006 David
David A. Saraceno is a motion graphics artist located in Spokane,
Washington. He has written for DV Magazine, AV Video, MacHome
Journal, and several state and national legal technology magazines.
David also moderates several forums on 2-pop.com.