Optimize Compressor 4.3 to Burn DVDs

Logo-Compressor.jpgWhile there are currently a few issues with burning DVDs using Compressor 4.3.0 that Apple is looking at, in this article I want to share a few tips with you that will improve your results when burning DVDs using Compressor.


Compressor 4.3 automatically sets the bit rate for compression to 7.65 mbps. This is not a bad option. However, if you need to squeeze a bit more material onto a DVD:

Select the MPEG-2 compression setting that’s applied to your clip.

In Inspector > Video change:

That should fit about 90 minutes of material to a single layer disc.


Reader Sharon Steele reports that burning a DVD is about 50% slower than Compressor 4.2. I have not been able to verify this independently, so your milage may vary. I expect Apple to improve this in future updates.


Sharon also reports that there is a changed behavior in how chapter markers are displayed.

“In the [Job menu of the] older Compressor 4.2, the box “Use chapter marker text as subtitles” is checked. I get a momentary Chapter name in the upper left hand corner when I forward to the next chapter, but I do NOT get continuous chapter name at the bottom of the screen. That is what I want.

“In the new Compressor 4.3 when the box “Use chapter marker text as subtitles” is checked, I get a continuous chapter name at the bottom of the screen. I need to uncheck this box to get the wording at the bottom of the screen to go away. The default [settings] seems to be different than before and I did not expect them to be.”


As in prior versions, when creating Dolby audio for a DVD, Compressor applies audio compression to your mix, which frequently changes your audio levels.

To make sure that Compressor does not change your mix, select the audio compression setting (Dolby Digital) that’s applied to your movie (see screen shot).

Then, in Inspector > Audio change:

That turns off Dolby’s audio compression and your mix will sound the way you expect.


Compressor 4.3 has improved its DVD templates with more options. If you burn DVDs and haven’t looked at the latest version, it is worth checking out.

One caution: Adding watermarks in Compressor 4.3.0 does not work. I’m expecting that to get fixed in the next update.

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18 Responses to Optimize Compressor 4.3 to Burn DVDs

  1. Gretta Wing Miller says:

    OK, fine, but what can equal DVDSP for creating lovely, complicated multi-story discs that some of my client still require? Yoga workouts, etc.
    Luckily I still have DVDSP and use it. Toast does not compare and the interface is so clunky I haven’t been able to get into it.

    • Larry says:


      You are absolutely right. DVD Studio Pro was an outstanding program for creating DVDS. However, since it is no longer sold, not everyone has it.

      So, using Compressor, while not as flexible or powerful, is better than nothing.


  2. Philip Snyder says:

    Is Two Pass better than Single Pass VBR? Or does it not make a difference?

    • Larry says:


      It used to matter a lot. Now, I’m not so sure.

      1-pass compression is now hardware accelerated so it is FAR faster than 2-pass which is not. Also, 2-pass used to create smaller files and higher image quality. Again, now, I’m seeing 1-pass files that are smaller than 2-pass; and the image quality is virtually the same.

      If you are compressing for YouTube, using the default settings, 1-pass is fine. I’m now compressing all my material at 1-pass with a slightly higher data rate to take advantage of the speed it provides.


  3. Hugh Douglas-Pennant says:

    Is it possible to burn to DVD straight from Compressor?
    I thought it was using the previous version but now I am beginning to wonder if my 65 year old memory is failing me and Apple to not seem to publish user manuals anylonger. Currently I am regretting upgrading to the latest versions of FCPX and Compressor.

    • Larry says:


      Yes, certainly. Both this version and the last version. It is a Job Action, the same as the last version of Compressor.


      • Hugh Douglas-Pennant says:


        As always, you are a complete star and are so generous with your time and help.

      • David Vota says:

        I created a DVD
        Compressor completed it’s work and nothing was burned
        What did I miss

        • Larry says:


          Um, David, that’s kinda hard to answer from your question.

          * What did you do?
          * Have you been able to successfully burn in the past?
          * Did you upgrade the software recently?
          * Did you upgrade the mac OS recently?
          * Which version of the macOS and Compressor are you running?
          * Were your DVDs compatible with your burner?
          * Was the file duration small enough to fit on a DVD (generally 90 minutes or less)?
          * Do you know if your burner is working properly?

          It’s the little details that are helpful.


  4. Bryan Choo says:

    Hi All,

    I am new to Compressor, currently working on DVD creation for a Public Talk which after finish it is for free distribution. My question is can compressor 4.3 capable to fit 4 hour Video which created on final cut pro X with output resolution 480p or 720p (if can) ?
    The original source was 1080p Mpeg4. This will decide whether or not to purchase the compressor 4.3 for me. Thank You

    • Larry says:


      All DVD videos are compressed using MPEG-2, a codec selection which can’t be changed. You can generally fit about 90 minutes of video per layer on a DVD. And a DVD has a maximum of two layers. So that’s about three hours of media. This is the DVD spec, it isn’t the compression program.

      You could lower the bit rate during compression to try to squeeze more data onto the disc, but you’ll really be lowing image quality – to the point where it won’t look good.

      You have a couple of options:

      1. Release your program as a 2 DVD set.
      2. Make your DVD unplayable on TVs, by compressing the video using H.264.

      The second option requires playback on a computer equipped with a DVD drive, but would easily support four hours of video on a dual-layer DVD.

      However, and this is important, the current version of Compressor (4.3.0) has a bug which prevents it from successfully burning DVDs. Either use Roxio Toast to create your DVD, or wait until Compressor is updated to version 4.3.1 or later.


      • ben Q says:

        thank you for all your inputs…currently i have
        compressor 4.3.2 and have been having dvd burning issues and
        fcpx 10.3.4
        running on HS 10.13.1,

        and ever sense getting this new imac have nothing but problems with exporting chapters to dvd. from fcpx to dvd it stops at chapter 35, but puts the all the chapter 42 on the home page but can not select anything past 35.

        the project is that they want a file to put on thumb drives with chapters that will play in all devices and want dvds for those who want dvds.

        i will be calling apple about this, and might have to take it in to them and start fresh but am i the only one having these problems with fcpx?
        again thank you.

        • Larry says:


          I’ve heard multiple complaints about DVD burning in the current version of FCP X and Compressor. Apple has announced a new version of FCP X coming by the end of the year.

          I’d try that, once it’s available, then call Support.


  5. Tracey Adams says:

    Hi Larry, I purchased your FCP X tutorials to watch online last year and they were fantastic. After not using FCP since Version 7, I was very impressed by your hints. Thank you. I have a question about the recently updated Compressor 4.3. Every time I export a .mov file to a DVD, still following all of your tips for compression settings, the blacks appear grainy in the exported DVD. Others have complained of the same issue. https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7732593 Help…as my videos don’t appear as the same quality.

    • Larry says:


      Make sure you are on the latest version of Compressor – Apple updated it last week. Version 4.3 had significant DVD burning issues. I don’t know that the new version will be better, but it can’t be any worse.


      • Tracey Adams says:

        Hi Larry,

        Yes, you’re right. Thank you.

        I finally worked it out last night when I was went back into cyberspace to attempt to find the answer. I found this other discussion page where they talked about he recent upgrade to Compressor in the last week at: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7732593?start=20&tstart=0

        I upgraded in the early hours of this morning, tested when I exported from Compressor 4.3.1 and the grainy effect is no longer appearing on the DVDs.

        It also appears to be exporting to DVD faster.

        Thanks Larry!

  6. David says:


    I sent a file 5 times to compressor 4.3.2 and each time it sent 2 files to the Movies folder instead of the DVD. I must be missing something in plain sight. Can you give give some guidance here.

    • Larry says:


      Make sure you are choosing the Burn DVD job action, not just compressing the source file. If you still have problems, call Apple Support, because something is confusing Compressor on how it is supposed to process the compressed files.


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