Happily skinning cats for cash

Oooh, thank GOODNESS I’ve spent way too much money on encoding software.

Panic job came in tonight. The sort of job that needs to be balanced with entertaining a 4 year old intent on watching Shaun the Sheep on your computer, but at the same time needs to be done tonight. Encoding existing media should be like falling off a log for money. But sometimes it isn’t.

Tonight, I had to prepare an FLV (complete with HTML, SWF player and other bits) and a high bandwidth WMV suitable for embedding in PowerPoint from a job signed off and completed 6 months ago. The final files needed hoofing up to a server for easy-peasy download by client tomorrow morning. 30 minutes of lining things up, hit go, watch TV, then later on tonight, gather up the files, upload them overnight, and wake up tomorrow in the smug satisfaction of a quality job delivered on time, on budget.

But no.

Tonight, Episode is having ‘senior moments’ with the ClientServer process. This mystery process launches behind Episode, gets lost, hangs around and bumps into things, causing Episode to wait patiently until hell freezes over. Episode won’t actually do anything until I flush the errant ClientServer process down the drain (open Utilities, Activity Monitor, search for CLientServer, click Inspect, click Quit). But on relaunching the job, it happens again. Rinse, repeat. Madness is doing the same thing expecting different results. So I Log out, Log in, restart, wave chickens over the computer (I have two chickens – real live ones that lay eggs – that are getting quite adept at this). Same thing. Sorry, chickens.

Sod it, I’ll fire up QuickTime Player Pro. It spends 45 minutes beavering away, earnestly chomping through 2 pass pro encodes, and delivers with pride a pile of poo that has to be flushed away immediately.

Right.

Squeeze. The old codger might do a better job. Fire it up, add a deinterlace filter, tweak the interface beyond its wildest dreams (I need 3000 kbps average, 6000 kbps peak – these movies will run from the hard disk, and I need quality quality qualitaaaaay). But no. Same old same-old. I remember why I gave up on Squeeze.

Oh dear. It’s time to kick the dog. Hello Compressor, nice Compressor. Gorgeous squeeky bone for you if you’re a nice Compressor today. We run through a few little practices. Testing little sessions. No, the test render you’re looking at isn’t the actual test render because you forgot to reset the file name, so even though it’s done it, and the file you see in the finder has a modification time/date that matches when the process finished, that ISN’T the movie it created. Compressor needs you to follow on behind it with a plastic bag, and pick up its poop and delete it as you test and retest.

But the old dog did it. It delivered.

And yay! Transmit has just gone ‘bing!’ to let me know it’s all on the website. If you haven’t looked at Ripple Training’s Compressor course, I’d heartily recommend it. There’s no point debating metaphysics with a dog, but if you just throw it a frickin’ bone…

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