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qmaster-distributed-encode.pngIf you have more than one computer in your studio, you might wish that you could tie them together and harness all of their computing power to help make your renders and transcodes faster.  Fortunately, Final Cut ships with the ability to use Apple's QMaster to distribute Compressor jobs between a "cluster" of machines.

Creating and tuning render farms can be a deeply technical task, but, for the casual videographer, Apple's automatic configuration options are easy and effective.  The only requirement is that all computers you want to share should be on the same network.

To set up a workstation to help with Compressor encode jobs,

  1. Open System Preferences and select the Apple QMaster pane.  Note: If you don't have enough licenses to put the full version of Final Cut on every render station, you can still install Apple QMaster from the Extras folder in the Final Cut Install DVD.
    qmaster-pane.png
  2. If the lock in the lower left-hand corner of the preference pane is "locked," click it and enter an administrator's name to unlock the preference pane.lock-changes.png
  3. Under "Share This Computer As," change the radio button to the option "Services only."
    services-only.png
  4. Click "Start Sharing" at the bottom right of the preference pane.
  5. Do this on each computer you want to use as a renderer.

Now, when you submit a job from Compressor, just be sure that the box "Include unmanaged services on other computers" is checked.  You'll automatically distribute the encode job across all of the render stations you set up earlier.
submit-compressor-job.png
You can use the Batch Monitor from Compressor just like you always have -- the only difference is that you're now using Compressor like it was designed: to distribute an advanced encode job across your network. 

You shouldn't see much evidence that anything's different, except that the encode will be faster.  To prove to yourself that the render stations are actually helping encode in the background, you could open Activity Monitor and note the amount of CPU that the "CompressorTranscoderX" process is using during a render.
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