MXF settings in Compressor
The MXF settings in Compressor appear in the Custom area of the Settings pane after you install Pro Video Formats for Final Cut Pro, Motion, and Compressor.
MXF (Material eXchange Format) is a metadata “wrapper” or “container” that (like QuickTime) holds video or audio media. The metadata describes the enclosed media’s attributes, including compression type, frame rate, frame size, creation date, and custom data created by a camera operator, assistant, or archivist.
The MFX settings offer several compression types, including AVC-Intra, D-10/IMX, Apple ProRes, and XDCAM HD.
Note: You can also create custom settings that use the MXF transcoding format.
The properties of MXF settings are located in the General, Video, and Audio inspectors (described below).
Displays the setting name and transcoding format used by Compressor, and an estimated output file size. When you add a setting to a job or change the setting’s properties, this summary is automatically updated.
Name: Displays the name of the setting.
Description: Displays the description of the setting.
Extension: Displays the extension of the output file (.mxf).
Allow job segmenting: If you’ve set up distributed processing, select this checkbox to have Compressor process the output file using your shared computer group. See Transcode batches with multiple computers using Compressor.
Default location: Choose an item from the pop-up menu to set the default save location for transcoded files.
Format: Use this pop-up menu to specify whether the output includes video and audio, or video only.
Sets the processing algorithm used to adjust the frame rate during transcoding. Select one of the following options:
Set to percent of source using: Modifies the output clip’s speed by a percentage of the source clip’s speed. Enter a value in the percentage field or choose a preset value from the adjacent pop-up menu (with a down arrow).
Set to: Sets the duration of the clip. Enter a timecode duration in the field or click the arrows to increase or decrease the time.
So source frames play at [frame rate] fps: Nondestructively changes the playback speed of the clip without discarding frames or creating new frames. This property has no effect unless the “Frame rate” value in the Video inspector is different from the source file’s frame rate. For example, if you add a 10-second source file with a frame rate of 24 fps to Compressor, set the “Frame rate” property in the Video inspector to 25 fps, and then select “So source frames play at 25 fps” in the General inspector, the resulting duration of the transcoded clip (at 25 fps) will be 9 seconds and 15 frames.
For more information, see Retime video and audio using Compressor.
Frame size: Use the pop-up menu to set an automatically calculated frame size (resolution) for the output file. (Available options vary, depending on other settings in the Video Properties area.) See Intro to modifying frame size in Compressor.
Center crop for output aspect ratio: Select this checkbox to ensure that when changing the aspect ratio in the Frame size pop-up menu, the video remains centered in the new aspect ratio.
Pixel aspect ratio: Displays the ratio between the encoded width and the display width.
Frame rate: Use this pop-up menu to set the playback rate (the number of images displayed per second) for the output file. See Retiming options in Compressor.
Field order: Displays how frames are scanned (progressive, top first, or bottom first), based on the resolution option chosen in the Format pop-up menu (described below).
Color space: Use this pop-up menu to convert the source media to a new color space. To have Compressor choose the best color space based on the applied setting, Choose Automatic. (Depending on the compression method you choose, you may be able to transcode the video to wide color gamut. See Intro to wide color gamut and HDR in Compressor.)
RAW to log: Use this pop-up menu to select how ProRes RAW conversion is done. Choose Automatic to allow Compressor to choose the conversion method. You can also choose a manual setting to override the default. This option is available only if the source is ProRes RAW.
Camera LUT: Use this pop-up menu to select the camera lookup table (LUT) applied to the source. Select a custom LUT to transform your video from one color space to another. This setting is enabled if the source is ProRes RAW and if “RAW to log” is set to a value other than None. This setting is also enabled if “Camera log” in video properties in the Job inspector is set to a value other than None.
Cinematic: Use this pop-up menu, available in macOS Monterey 12 or later, to specify how to handle metadata in video that was recorded in Cinematic mode (on iPhone models that support Cinematic mode video). There are two options:
Ignore: Ignores any Cinematic mode metadata in the source file. If the source file contains no Cinematic mode metadata, Ignore is selected and the menu is dimmed.
Render: When Cinematic mode metadata is present and the “Enable video pass-through” checkbox is not selected, you may choose to render the Cinematic mode video to the destination file.
Note: If you’re running macOS 11 or earlier, the Cinematic pop-up menu is not available. If the source file contains Cinematic mode metadata and the “Enable video pass-through” checkbox isn’t selected, the warning “Cinematic mode video can only be rendered when running under macOS 12.0 or later” is displayed in the Errors & Warnings window.
Codec: Use this pop-up menu to choose a transcoding method.
Start timecode: Use this pop-up menu to set a forced timecode start point for the output file. The Automatic option uses the default timecode of the source file (typically, 00:00:00:00). Other options set the timecode start to 1 hour or 10 hours.
Drop frame: Available when “Frame rate” is set to 29.97 fps or 59.94 fps and “Start timecode” is set to 00:00:00:00, 01:00:00:00 or 10:00:00:00. Select this checkbox to force the timecode to stay in sync with real-time duration during playback.
Cropping, Padding, Rotation, and Flip
Customize the final cropping, sizing, and aspect ratio in Compressor using the Cropping & Padding properties. Cropping removes video content from an image. Padding scales the image to a smaller size while retaining the output image’s frame size. For more information about these properties, see Intro to modifying frame size in Compressor.
You can also rotate and flip the final output image in Compressor using the Rotation and Flip properties. These allow you to rotate a widescreen image to be vertical, or to reverse the image horizontally, vertically, or both.
Cropping: Use this pop-up menu to set the dimensions of the output image. The default cropping is None, but you can select one of the predetermined settings in the menu to change the dimensions of the output image. The Letterbox Area of Source menu item detects image edges and automatically enters crop values to match them. This is useful if you want to remove a source file’s letterbox area, by cropping out the black bars above and below the widescreen image. To ensure that when changing the aspect ratio the video remains centered in the new aspect ratio, select the “Center crop for output ratio” menu item. You can also enter custom values into the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right text fields below the menu to create your own custom cropping.
Padding: Use this pop-up menu to set the scaling of the output image while retaining the size of the frame. This is particularly useful when you’re creating a pillarbox (black bars on the sides of the frame) or a letterbox (bars above and below the frame) around your source material. The default cropping is None, but you can select one of the predetermined settings in the menu to add a standard padding setting. The Preserve Aspect Ratio menu item ensures that the aspect ratio remains unchanged as you add padding. The custom option allows you to enter your own scaling dimensions in the fields; other options use predetermined dimensions. You can also enter custom values into the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right text fields below the menu to create your own custom padding. The default padding is None.
Rotation: Use this pop-up menu to set the rotation of the output image. The default rotation is None, but you can choose to rotate your image 90 degrees, 180 degrees, or 270 degrees. This is useful in situations when a camera was oriented incorrectly when capturing the video.
Flip: Use this pop-up menu to flip the output image. The default flip is None, but you can choose Horizontal, Vertical, or Horizontal and Vertical. This is useful if you want the output image to mirror the input image horizontally, vertically, or both. Note: the Rotation property is always applied before the Flip property, which can change the specific Flip option to use in an output image you also rotate.
The following properties provide instructions for image analysis used by Compressor, including frame resizing, clip retiming, and deinterlacing:
Resize filter: This pop-up menu sets the resizing method. There are several options:
Nearest Pixel (Fastest): Samples the nearest neighboring pixel when resizing an image. This option provides the fastest processing time, but it is more likely to show aliasing artifacts and jagged edges.
Linear: Adjacent pixel values are averaged using a linear distribution of weights. This option produces fewer aliasing artifacts than Nearest Pixel, with a small increase in processing time.
Gaussian: Adjacent pixel values are averaged using a Gaussian distribution of weights. This option provides a medium trade-off between processing time and output quality.
Lanczos 2: Adjacent pixel values are averaged using a truncated sinc function. This option is slower than Gaussian but provides sharper results.
Lanczos 3: Similar to Lanczos 2 but averages more pixel values. This option is slower than Lanczos 2 but may produce better results.
Bicubic: Adjacent pixel values are averaged using a bicubic function. The processing time and output are most similar to Lanczos 2 and Lanczos 3.
Anti-aliased (Best): Provides the highest output quality, but can take substantially longer to process.
Retiming Quality: This pop-up menu sets the retiming method. There are four options:
Fast (Nearest Frame): Interpolates frames linearly using nearest neighbor frames.
Good (Frame Blending): Blends neighboring frames using a filter to produce good-quality interpolation.
Best (Motion Compensated): Uses optical flow to interpolate using areas of movement between neighboring frames to produce high-quality output.
Reverse Telecine: Removes the extra fields added during the telecine process to convert the film’s 24 fps to NTSC’s 29.97 fps. Choosing this item disables all the other Quality controls. See Use reverse telecine in Compressor.
Adaptive details: Select this checkbox to use advanced image analysis to distinguish between noise and edge areas during output.
Anti-aliasing level: Sets the softness level in the output image. To increase softness, double-click the value and then manually enter a new value, or drag the slider to the right. This property improves the quality of conversions when you’re scaling media up. For example, when transcoding SD video to HD, anti-aliasing smooths jagged edges that might appear in the image.
Details level: Sets the sharpness of detail in the output image. You can use this control to add detail back to an image being enlarged. Double-click the value and then manually enter a new value, or drag the slider to set the value. Unlike other sharpening operations, the “Details level” property distinguishes between noise and feature details, and generally doesn’t increase unwanted grain. Increasing this value may introduce jagged edges, however, which can be eliminated by increasing the “Anti-aliasing level” slider.
Dithering: When selected, adds a certain type of noise to images to prevent large-scale distracting patterns such as color banding. If your image has excessive noise after rendering, deselect this checkbox.
For a list of available video effects in Compressor, and instructions on how to add a video effect to a setting, see Add and remove effects in Compressor.
Channel layout: Use this pop-up menu to set the audio channel layout.
Sample rate: The number of times per second that music waveforms (samples) are captured digitally. The higher the sample rate, the higher the audio quality and the larger the file size. For all MFX settings, this value is locked at 48 kHz.
Sample size: Use this pop-up menu to set the sample size of the audio signal.
Channels as: Use this pop-up menu to set the distribution of audio channels. There are two options:
Mono tracks: The exported file uses a separate track for each audio channel.
Multitrack: The exported file combines all audio channels into a single track.
Note: Not all compression settings provide both options.
For a list of available audio effects in Compressor, and for instructions on how to add an audio effect to a setting, see Add and remove effects in Compressor.
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