Using Compressor Droplets to convert your DSLR footage

Using Compressor Droplets to convert your DSLR footage.

Dealing with DSLR footage seems to be a challenge for many people.  I’ve had several people ask already how to deal with it and seen several posts around the Internet about different weird and complicated techniques for working with it.  And it’s actually extremely easy and fast to work with using Compressor.

Compressor comes with Apples Studio package and it does exactly what you’d think.  It compresses. It alone one of the main reasons to switch to a FCP if you haven’t already.  Compressor makes little files you can just drag and drop media onto called droplets that will compress your footage automatically.

I’ve played around with the H.264’s that come out of my canon 5dmkII and editing them is a bitch.  I typically convert everything to a ProRes(HQ).

Here’s how you do it with compressor.

First open compressor. Now you need to set up your batch monitor so you can see it.  So what you do is select the Compressor from the top menu and choose Preferences.  Turn on the tab “Auto launch Batch Monitor.”
Next to back to compressor and find your settings tab.

Scroll down in the Settings tab until you find Formats/Quicktime.

Find “Apple ProRes 422(HQ) and select it.

There are 2 paths you can take from here. If you want your footage to be 1080p ProRes(HQ) then all you need to do is save this selection as a Droplet by right clicking it and selecting “Save as Droplet.” Then save it to a convenient location.

If you want some custom settings for your Droplet you need to first right click the setting and select “Duplicate.”  This will move a copy of the setting down to the Custom folder.  You can now double click the setting and edit its attributes.

Now there are only two options here you really need to worry about.  The first is the Encoder Button.  It will allow you to change the codec, and it’s settings.  Such as frame rate,  bit rate, or you can enable chroma filtering for 4:4:4 sources.

The second is the Geometry.  This will allow you to change the frame size, it’s cropping, padding etc.  So if you want to encode your videos to a different size like 720p you do this here.   

You can also use this tool to create text over your image, create watermarks, timecode overlays, or do some simple color effects.

Now that you have chosen your custom settings, rename the file to something that’s related to your settings and select save. 

Go down to your new custom named setting and select it.  Right click it and “save as droplet.”

Ok now that you have your droplet, all you need to do is select your HDSLR source H264 footage and drag and drop it onto your Droplet.

Now you’ll get this nice little window that pops up.

This will allow you to change it’s output file name, and it’s Destination.  So if you make a ProRes 1080, you can delete ‘setting’ and type in _1080 after your file name.  

Now hit submit and your files should start to render.

Once you have used your droplets you’ll be able to right click your video files and select ‘Open With,’ and your droplets should appear.

I use these droplets for everything.  I have special droplets made for Vimeo h264 files, lowres H264’s with timecode burned in for producer screenings,  to ProRes(HQ) 29.97 for client deliveries, since I work mostly in 59.94.   They are really great and save me tons of time. 

If you have a multi processor machine you might want to set up Qmaster so that compressor uses all your cores to compress your footage, you can also use Qmaster to send tasks to other machines on your network for faster compression speeds.