An Introduction to Apple Qmaster

Apple Qmaster is a client computer based software program that is used to submit various video editing jobs and batches created in other Apple programs (such as Final Cut Pro and Shake) to a larger server based Apple Qmaster system. Qmaster acts as an automated distribution and processing server for networks or offices with a high volume of video related projects.

How Qmaster Works

Mac OS computers that submit batches of jobs to Apple Qmaster are referred to as clients. Usually, these computers are used by designers and editors to create multimedia files that need to be rendered in another type of format and then stored in another location (such as a network computer or on a website). Jobs submitted to Qmaster can be in the form of a Shake file or any other Apple format that supports the use of UNIX commands to send settings for rendering, as well as information for file location and placement.

Although Qmaster can be used to process one video job at a time, the power of Qmaster is only truly realized when used by a workgroup or many people at once. Qmaster allows many users to submit jobs simultaneously for processing and rendering. Qmaster then manages and distributes the batch jobs on a computer specifically designated as the Qmaster cluster controller. The Cluster controller then distributes the files to another group of computers that share hardware resources to quickly render and distribute files. On the cluster computers, the files are rendered in the proper format and then forwarded to the proper file destination.

This process frees up resources on client computers so that designers can remain busy creating jobs, rather than waiting for the lengthy process of rendering to be completed on the designer's local machine. It also allows companies to invest less in individual workstation hardware. By investing in a small network of computers that share hardware resources for the task of rendering video files, companies can save money by reducing costs on computers used by designers. Video rendering places a lot of stress on a computer's processor, and using a network of computers to handle all of the rendering for a group of designers saves both time and money.

Distributed Computing in Qmaster

Qmaster is an efficient way of quickly rendering and distributing video files because it uses the power of distributed computing. Distributed computing uses the processor, memory and other hardware resources of several computers at once to render video files. The system uses several 'Service Nodes' (individual computers) to form a cluster. You can think of the cluster as one big 'Super Computer' made up from the hardware resources of several much smaller capacity computers. In short, the smaller computers share their resources to create one very powerful computer.

When the Qmaster cluster controllers receive jobs from the Qmaster client computers, it cues them for processing in the order they are received. When the job is ready to be rendered, Qmaster passes the file output type and destination to the cluster network. The group of computers then pool hardware resources to quickly render the video in the desired format and then send the video file on its way to where the file will be stored. Qmaster can upload files to a website via FTP, store them on a network computer or even email them to a specified user.

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