(This article is based on a recent video training series titled: Learn Apple Compressor 4. You can download that training here, or view it as part of our subscription service.)
There’s a feature in Compressor 4 that’s hidden in plain sight: the ability to create a custom batch template. If you find yourself using the same compression settings over and over to create multiple versions of the same master file, custom templates can save you time.
This article describes how they work.
NOTE: A “Master File” is a high-quality export from your video editing software. (Compressor easily works with exports from Final Cut, Premiere, or Avid, as long as they are exported as QuickTime movies.)
While templates can be used when you only want to create a single version of a master file, they really shine when you need to create multiple versions from the same master file. For instance:
The workflow is simple:
And, for extra credit, at the end of this article I’ll show you how to delete batches that you no longer need.
NOTE: This article covers the process of creating custom templates. Other articles, and my video training, show how to create custom compression settings.
Import a video (type: Cmd+I). This need not be the video you want to compress, it is simply a placeholder we will use to create a custom template.
Apply as many different compression settings as you need. In this example, I have applied four. There is no limit to the number of settings you can apply to a single clip.
CREATE THE TEMPLATE
Once you have a clip configured for compression the way you want, it is time to turn it into a template.
Choose File > Save as Template. (You do not need to select anything prior to choosing this. The template will contain as many clips as you have in the batch.)
In the Save dialog, give the template a name and a description that will help you remember what the template does.
If you want all the compressed files from the template saved into the default destination of Compressor, check the checkbox at the bottom. (This is off by default, but checking this is always my preference.) However, it is possible to assign a different destination to each compression setting using the Action tab. If you’ve done this, then you don’t want to click this checkbox.
Click OK to save the template. At this point, you can delete all the files in the Batch window. They are needed for setup, but no longer.
ACCESS A TEMPLATE
From the File menu, choose New Batch from Template, and select the template you want to use. In this example, I’m selecting the template we just created.
NOTE: The first six templates were created by Apple and shipped with Compressor 4.
In the Batch Window, the template appears with all compression settings assigned, but no clip to apply them to. (The red bars indicate that the file name is incomplete and duplicated.)
To add a clip to the template, right-click in the drop zone, select Source > File and choose the file you want to add.
This adds the file to the template, but the red bars mean that you also need to modify the duplicate file names before submitting for compression.
NOTE: Each compression setting must have a unique file name. I generally add version numbers after the file name: “-1,” “-2,” and “-3.” Compressor often does this automatically, but it is always good to check.
Once the file names are set, click Submit to submit the job for compression.
DELETE A TEMPLATE
While we can’t delete templates that are supplied by Apple, we can delete templates that we’ve created ourselves.
To do this, quit Compressor and go to the Finder.
Press the Option key and choose Go > Library. (If you don’t press the Option key, this menu choice does not appear.) This takes you to the Library folder in your Home Directory.
NOTE: For readers using OS X 10.6, type Shift+Command+H to open the Home directory. Then open the Library folder.
Inside the Library folder, open Application Support.
Open the Compressor > Templates > V4 folder. Inside you’ll find all your custom templates. Delete whichever templates you no longer need.
I discovered custom templates as I was doing research for my latest Compressor training. These are a great way to speed the process of creating multiple versions of the same file. Take a few minutes to see if templates can make your life easier, as well.
Visit our website to see Final Cut Pro Training & more!