How to Enable Hardware-Accelerated Video Compression in Apple Compressor

Posted on by Larry

Both the new M1 and existing T2 chips from Apple support hardware-assisted encoding and decoding of H.264 and HEVC media.

In the past, compression software used the CPU to compress media from, say, a ProRes master file to an H.264 file for YouTube. The good news was that this worked quite well. The bad news was that it took a long time. A LONNGG time.

What hardware acceleration does is move media compression and decompression off the CPU and onto dedicated circuits specifically designed to encode or decode media at high speed and with high quality. Hardware acceleration improves compression speeds 2-5X over traditional software encoding.

NOTE: Not all codecs are hardware-accelerated. Currently, using either chip, only H.264 and HEVC are enhanced.

Both the M1 and T2 chips from Apple accelerate encoding of H.264, 8-bit HEVC, and 10-bit HEVC using hardware. (HDR media requires using a 10-bit codec, which is why compressing 10-bit HEVC quickly is important.)


To enable hardware acceleration, in the Video Inspector:

NOTE: Because my current production computers do not have either a T2 or M1 chip, I’m holding off doing any more compression speed tests until I can get a newer system.

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