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Make your compressing jobs easier with Droplets in Apple's Compressor

Apple has added a feature called "Droplets" into Compressor to make your file creation process easy By Kevin McAuliffe

One thing that always bothered me about Compressor (and really any compression tool on the market) was that it was always a tedious pain-in-the-butt process to set up all your QuickTimes to create DVD ready files (m2v & ac3).  Thankfully, that is no longer the case! Apple has added a handy feature called "Droplets" into Compressor that will make your DVD (and other) file creation process a breeze.

As most people know, the normal procedure to create DVD files is to drag your QuickTime file into Compressor, drag your settings on top of the file (m2v & ac3), click process, and open the batch monitor to see what your files are doing. For one or two files, this procedure is pretty straight forward, but what if you are creating files on a daily basis where the settings are always the same. You would find yourself opening and closing Compressor alot. Well, not anymore! We're going to create a Droplet, and the best way to wrap your head around what a Droplet is, is to think of it as an application that contains your particular Compressor presets, file destination, and the ability to alter the naming convention of your final clips.  

To create the Droplet, simply click on the folder that contains the preset (or the actual preset for that matter) that you want to have a Droplet of. For the purposes of this article we're going to assume that the Droplet you are going to create will be for a DVD at "Best Quality 90 Minutes", which is already a preset group in Compressor. Once the folder or preset is selected, simply click the "Save Selection As Droplet" button located at the top of your "Settings" window. 
Once clicked, you will be asked to save your Droplet to a location of your choice, and you can even select a render location if you want. I normally leave the render location as the default "Source" location, as you can change the location once in the Droplet application.

So now we have our Droplet, but how do we use it? It's actually very easy. Simply take the files you now want to be converted, and drag and drop them on top of your Droplet. Once you let go of the mouse, the Droplet will open, and you will see the Droplet application window with your file(s) in the "Source Files" window.

If you have more than one setting associated with your Droplet, they will appear in the "Setting" drop down window located in the middle of the screen. Earlier in the article, I mentioned that when you create the Droplet you could set a render location that will appear in the "Destination" window of your Droplet application. As you will see, you can manually set your location here, which I personally prefer, as I can get very specific as to where I want the file(s) to go. At this point, you are ready to click "Submit." Once the job is submitted, the "Batch Monitor" window will open, and you can watch your job(s) process.
The great thing about Droplets is that you can create a folder with a wide range of compression settings (MPEG's, AIFF, MP3, Mobile, etc.), save your Settings folder as a Droplet, and you can drop one or multiple files onto your newly created Droplet, and sit back and watch all of your files stream quickly and easily.

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Kevin P McAuliffe is currently a Senior Video Editor working in HD post production in Toronto, Canada. He has been in the television industry for 12 years, and spends his days onlining on a Final Cut Pro HD. Kevin's high definition onlining credit list includes concerts for Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Snow Patrol, Sum41, Paul Anka, Il Divo and Pussycat Dolls, to name a few. Also, Kevin is an instructor of Advanced Final Cut Studio 2 at the Toronto Film College. If you have any questions or comments, you can drop him a line at

Related Keywords:Compressor, file compression, workflow, DVD authoring, NLE, video editing,

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