Understanding Image Sequences in Compressor

Apple Compressor, part of the Final Cut Studio suite of video editing software, allows you to encode (or convert) video files into other formats; however, Compressor also utilizes image sequences that allow you to export still photographs of the individual frames in the source movie file. This simple how-to guide will show you how to export a still image sequence in Compressor.

What You Will Need

  • Source movie file
  • Computer with Apple Compressor installed

Step 1: Open Image Sequencer Pane

The image sequencer encoder pane allows you to adjust settings for still photographs that are exported from the source video files in Compressor. You can used the included standard export settings, or you can create your own custom settings and save them for later use. Open the Image Sequencer Pane in Apple Compressor.

Step 2: Choose the Output File Extension Type

This field allows you to choose the file type that still photos will be saved in. For exported image sequences, Compressor uses the TIFF file by default; however, you can easily change the output file format by clicking on the 'File Format' pop-up menu or the (+) in the 'Settings' tab.

Step 3: Set Allow Job Segmenting Option

This is a checkbox that is only relevant if you are using the distributed computing capabilities of Compressor and Apple Qmaster and is only available with Final Cut Studio. If you are using Compressor on a stand-alone PC, then don't worry about this option.

Step 4: Choose Image Type

With this option, you choose the image sequence type for the output files from the list of supported formats. Choose between the following industry standard still image formats: TIFF, TARGA, IFF, OpenEXR and DPX. In most cases, you will want to choose the TIFF format, as it is supported by the highest number of software applications and photo printing services. This is the default export file format used by Compressor.

Step 5: Select Frame Rate for Exported Still Images

This frame rate (fps) setting allows you to choose the number of still photos that Compressor will create for each one second of video. For instance, if you choose 25 fps, Compressor will create 25 still images for each one second of the video you want to export. If choose 12 fps, Compressor will one create 12 photo images per second. Choose the number of images you want for each second of video you will be transcoding.

Step 6: Create Unique Output Directory

If you check this checkbox, Compressor will create a new directory or folder to store the output images in. The new folder will receive the same name as the original source file. If you don't select this option, output image files will be stored in the default destination folder. Image sequences create a large number of individual files, so creating a separate folder for each project helps to keep them organized and easy to find. So, check this checkbox to keep your output files organized.

Step 7: Add Leading Zeros to Frame Numbers

This option allows you to add leading zeros to each frame number. If you don't check this box, files use regular file names. If you are working with more than a few seconds of video, this will make finding individual still photos much easier.

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