The Easy Way to Create a Render Farm with Compressor

I have tried this before on older version of compressor but it was super complicated and we only got it to work once.  I had pretty much given up on getting it set up.  But we had a bunch of renders we had to do and someone asked me about it on Sunday, so I gave it another look yesterday.  And lo and behold, the geniuses at Apple have made it super simple to set up!  Thank you, Apple!

This is a way to create a render farm or distributed processing.  Basically, Compressor will break up a video into multiple pieces and send it out to the various computers and cores to render that piece of video.  Then once it is rendered or transcoded it gathers all the pieces and reassembles it back into one video.

If you don’t feel like watching the video, just:  (But just watch the video, it’s way easier to see)

  1. Go into Compressor’s preferences and in My Computer turn on “Allow other computers to process batches on my computer.”
  2. Click on “Shared Computers” in the lower left click the plus button
  3. Do this to all the computers on your network that have Compressor installed that you want to add to the render farm.
  4. Change “Untitled” to “All” or something that you’ll recognize
  5. Click on that group and you should see all the computers that have sharing enabled.
  6. Check all the computers that you want to add to that group
  7. Then when you add a file to be transcoded, in the lower right next to the “Start Batch” button, there is a choice to “Process On.”  Click on the drop down and you should see your group.
  8. Select your group.  The click “Start Batch”
  9. Then it should distribute the processing
  10. Note:  as of FCPX 10.1.3 and Compressor 4.1 this feature is not enabled within FCPX using the Send to Compressor feature.  When I try to send from FCPX to Compressor, the group I set up is greyed out and not selectable.  Maybe I am missing something.  If so, please let me know in the Youtube comments.

It’s totally perfect yet, but it is getting there.  I am very excited about this option.  Especially since it seems like you can install Compressor on pretty much every machine you have.  I am not sure what the limit is but we have not reached it.

I truly wish the send to Compressor feature from FCPX supported this since we do most of our transcode/renders as output from FCPX.  But I will take this for now.  Thanks again, Apple!


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Ned Gorman

    Great info, Jeff. Thanks for putting this together.

  2. Gerry D

    How are your computers connected to the network? via WIFI or ethernet?

    1. Jeff Orig

      They are connected via Wifi. It is best to have the fastest possible connection. It doesn’t work that well over Wifi.

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