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Batch Encoding

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The power of Compressor is unleashed when you manage the flow of multiple jobs through its Batch window.

While importing source media and applying targets to jobs in the Batch table are among the core concepts of the Compressor workflow, the ability to queue up a series of disparate encoding jobs, called a batch, and monitor its progress during processing is what makes Compressor the centerpiece of your entire digital distribution pipeline.

A batch comprises individual pieces of source media (a job), and any given batch can contain as many jobs as you require. Targets control the encoding process and are comprised of a setting, a destination and an output filename. Each job can include multiple targets.

Managing and Maximizing Batches

Almost limitless scenarios exist for creating Compressor batches that address your encoding needs. Compressor's versatility is especially useful when the overall estimated encoding time for a series of jobs spans several hours (or days). Instead of submitting and monitoring each job individually, you can batch-organize the sessions and let Compressor perform the laborious task of monitoring each job in the series. Furthermore, a series of jobs and targets in a batch is, in essence, a template for your encoding work. That is, you can save a batch and reuse it by replacing the source media.

Jobs and targets are the building blocks of batches. You can combine and manipulate them in the Batch window to create more efficient encoding workflows.

Compressor lets you work on jobs and targets individually or as groups. For example, with the Batch window active you could choose Edit > Select All and then choose Target > New Target with Setting. From the drop-down window, choose a setting and then click Add. The same target will be applied to every job in the batch—a real timesaver if, for example, you have 50 jobs you want to encode as podcasts.

Copying and Pasting Jobs and Targets

In Compressor, you can manage and recycle your work using convenient cut and paste methods. Encoding can encompass many repetitive tasks, so copying a target from one job to another within the Batch window is a great timesaving trick.

The standard cut, copy, and paste commands in the Edit menu (along with their keyboard shortcuts) work both with jobs and targets, meaning that you can cut or copy a target from one job and paste it onto another.

Creating and Saving Batches

Although Compressor launches with a single empty batch in the Batch window, you can create as many batches as you need by opening new batches as tabs in the current Batch window. To create a new batch, choose File > New Batch.

Compressor also lets you save batches for use with later encoding jobs, or to more efficiently organize current jobs. To save a batch, make sure the Batch window is active, then choose File > Save. In the drop-down window, name the batch, navigate to the desired save location, and click Save. The batch name will appear in the current tab in the Batch window.

Troubleshooting Batches

When at least one target is applied to all jobs in a batch, you can submit the batch for processing by clicking the Submit button. If no targets have been applied, Compressor displays this error message when you click Submit:

To correct the error, add at least one target to every job in the batch and click Submit.

Batches rely on relative paths to the source media and to the Final Cut Pro sequences or Motion projects that they contain. Therefore, if any source media is moved from the location it occupied when the batch was created, Compressor will no longer be able to locate the file and will display an alert.

To correct a missing media error, Control-click the job's poster frame and, from the shortcut menu, choose Source > File. In the Open window, navigate to the media's new location and then click Open. You can also drag the media directly from the Finder onto the job's poster frame, and Compressor will automatically update the location.

Compressor will also alert you when it encounters a job with the same output filename as a file currently in the target destination.

Compressor will also display a similar alert message if two targets within the batch could export files with identical filenames.

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