For this example, assume I’ve recorded and edited this file as an audio AIFF, 48 kHz, 16-bit file. This is a great format for recording and editing, but not for posting as a podcast.
Creating and Customizing
The first thing we’ll look at is creating a custom preset in Compressor. Go to Compressor’s Presets window, to the Settings tab, to Apple > Formats > MPEG-4 and highlight the MPEG-4 preset (Figure 1, below).
Figure 1. Choosing the MPEG-4 preset in Compressor
There are three buttons at the top left of the Presets window. The one on the right is the Duplicate Selected Setting button. Click it, and it places a duplicate of the MPEG-4 preset into the Custom folder. You can’t change any of Apple’s stock presets, so make a duplicate, and you can customize that one. Then, close all of those folders and open the Custom folder; look at the new, duplicate file that will be customized as you need it.
Next, double-click the “MPEG-4 copy” preset that now resides inside the Custom folder to open it into the Inspector window. Rename it to something specific to your project (I’ll call mine “Final Cut Louisiana Podcast”) and fill in the description appropriately and clearly. In this audio-specific file encoding needs, I’ll disable Video in the Video tab, and adjust my settings in the Audio tab, choosing stereo, 24 kHz, High Quality, and 48Kbps and selecting the Enhanced Podcast File check box.
Bear in mind that no matter what file format and specs you need, the process is the same. Find a stock preset that best matches your needs, duplicate it, go into the Custom folder, and tweak it to suit your needs. And you’ll tweak more than just encoding settings—you’ll tweak publishing settings as well.
Choose a Destination
Now that the file encoding is specified in your custom preset, you need to customize the automated publishing settings. You need a Destination for your custom settings preset to publish to. Go to the Destination tab in the Presets window. Aha! I bet very few of you have even ever bothered to look at this tab, but it’s pretty cool.
At the top right, click the plus (+) sign button to create a new Destination preset. There’s no need to name your preset; it can just keep its original name. Click the pop-up menu on the left of the Name field and select Source Media Name—presto, automated naming.
For this project, let’s share the file to our FTP server. Click the FTP radio button and fill out the info for your FTP server (Figure 2, below). Finally, once you’ve saved your new Destination preset, go back to the custom encode you created before and open it into the Inspector; the rightmost button is the Actions section. There, use the Default Destination drop-down menu to set the Destination preset we created earlier—in this example, for uploading to your FTP server. Then, save and you’re done—almost!
Figure 2. Choosing a Destination Default in the Inspector window
Create a New Batch
To make this Destination part of the Share presets, go to File > New Batch (Cmd+N), to create a new, blank batch—one with no source file and no encoding settings. When you drag and drop your new preset into the batch and highlight it there, you can now go to the File menu and select Save As Template. The presets that show up in the Share windows are called Templates rather than presets.
Once this is done, it’s time to test it. Go to File > New Batch From Template, and you should see the new template in the Share window (or the Template window in Compressor) now (Figure 3, below).
Figure 3. Choosing a template for your batch
Adding Your Preset to the Template Pop-up Menu
This is the last step: If you’re not going to upload this to an FTP or iDisk remote location, and the location is staying on locally accessible hard drives, there’s one more thing you can do to make this template as accessible as possible for future projects. Launch Final Cut Pro, edit a project, and go to File > Share (Shift+Cmd+E). From the template pop-up menu, choose Other. In the window that opens, you can choose from any preset inside Compressor’s Settings preset tab. Inside of the Custom folder, choose your new custom preset.
But there’s something else you can do that’s important: Check the template off in the Menu column, which will make it show up in FCP’s Share window in the template pop-up menu (Figure 4, below).
Figure 4. Our newly created template in the template pop-up menu of FCP's Share folder
This means you can take a small amount of time, create a custom preset in Compressor, make it quickly and easily accessible inside FCP, and never have to launch Compressor (Figure 5, below). You can then set a Sequence to encode and move on to a new Sequence or Project.
Figure 5. Choosing the new template from within FCP for our next encode
If I wanted my new custom preset to show up in Share’s pop-up template menu in Motion, I’d have to repeat the steps I performed inside of FCP. Open Share in Motion, select Other from the Template pop-up menu, open the Custom folder, and make sure the Menu column is checked for my preset. It’s not the most complex task, but you still have to set this up in FCP and Motion separately. Remember that Color and Soundtrack Pro do not have a Share menu. It’s only available in FCP, Motion, and Compressor (where it’s called Templates).
I hope this helps automate some of your workflow in Final Cut Studio and makes life easier on occasion. If you have any requests for subjects to be covered in future installments of Cut Lines, please let us know. Requests and feedback are always welcome. Until next time, rock those edits!
Ben Balser (benb at bbalser.com) is an Apple Certified Master Trainer and Support Professional based in Louisiana. He produces media, consults fort studios, and teaches media production nationally.