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Compressor local cluster setup - TreetWiki

Compressor local cluster setup

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By default, Compressor will only use 1 core of your machine to do encoding. You can notice this if you run Activity Monitor while your Compressor jobs are running.  
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By default, Compressor will only use one core of your machine to do encoding. You can notice this if you run Activity Monitor while your Compressor jobs are running.  
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Sometimes this is useful because Compressor doesn't overwhelm your computer. But at other times, you want to dedicate all the power of your Mac Pro to Compressor. To do this you have to set up a "fake cluster" (or virtual cluster as some people call it) on your local machine. Once you do this, Compressor will submit the job to the "cluster encoder" which is running on your local Mac (you can have up to 256 Macs in a cluster, which is what many film houses do to encode DVD files using the highest possible quality settings).
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Sometimes this is useful because Compressor doesn't overwhelm your computer. But at other times, you want to dedicate all the power of your Mac Pro to Compressor. To do this you have to set up a "virtual cluster" on your local machine. Once you do this, Compressor will submit the job to the "cluster encoder" which is running on your local Mac (you can have up to 256 Macs in a cluster, which is what many film houses do to encode DVD files using the highest possible quality settings).
[http://www.devia.be/news/article/setting-up-a-virtual-cluster-to-speed-up-compressor/ Here] is an article about how to set up a virtual cluster on your Mac Pro to expedite Compressor.
[http://www.devia.be/news/article/setting-up-a-virtual-cluster-to-speed-up-compressor/ Here] is an article about how to set up a virtual cluster on your Mac Pro to expedite Compressor.
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Note that there is a special setting in Compressor (along with the video format and per-file compressor settings) called "Job Segmenting".  You must turn this on to have Compressor work at its fastest.   It's described [http://documentation.apple.com/en/compressor/usermanual/index.html#chapter=8&section=6&tasks=true here].
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=== Job Segmenting ===
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Note that there is a special setting in Compressor (along with the video format and per-file compressor settings) called "Job Segmenting".  You must turn this on to have Compressor work at its fastest. It's described [http://documentation.apple.com/en/compressor/usermanual/index.html#chapter=8&section=6&tasks=true here]. However, it's not always the best thing to do.
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Segmentation requires splitting the actual source file into multiple pieces, then encoding each, then seaming it back together. If you're not careful, segmentation can cause significant I/O time to be spent, especially if files are large and encoding is non-CPU intensive.  Since ProRes is a very non-CPU-intensive codec (in contrast to H.264), then segmentation can negatively impact your I/O speed as huge files are split, encoded, then re-combined.
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Treet runs a fibre internal network so they get 10Gb/s transfer rates between their main Mac Pro and two clustered rendering machines. It turned out, simply through experimentation, that non-segmented ProRes encoding was faster, and since Treet are often encoding several at once, they are using all the processors effectively.  H.264 however is so CPU-intensive, that the I/O overhead of segmentation is well worth it.
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Just try it each way and monitor your experience.

Revision as of 10:12, 29 July 2011

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