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Lunch with Colin Clustering, Qmaster, Flash codec

Summary

I had lunch with Colin McFadden today and he told me how he was using clustering to increase Media Mill's throughput.

Qmaster and clustering

Apple Qmaster is a system made by Apple Inc. that provides automated work distribution and processing for high-volume projects created with certain digital visual effects software packages: Shake, Alias Maya, Final Cut Pro, Compressor, DVD Studio Pro and any UNIX command-line program. It processes such jobs on a cluster of Macintosh or Xserve computers. Colin says that the time form opening the box to having a new computer in the cluster is about 1 hour. In the end, the limiting factor will be network speed.

Compressor used by Qmaster

Compressor is a video and audio media compression and encoding application for use with Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio on Mac OS X. It can be used with Qmaster for clustering.

Codec and clustering

A video codec is a device or software that enables video compression and/or decompression for digital video. Flash uses VP6: A proprietary video codec developed by On2 Technologies and used in Adobe Flash Player 8 and above. Colin tells me that VP6 can only run a job on one box at a time.
Adobe is moving to: H.264 is a standard for video compression. It is also known as MPEG-4 Part 10, or MPEG-4 AVC (for Advanced Video Coding). It was written by the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) together with the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) as the product of a partnership effort known as the Joint Video Team (JVT). Colin explains that this codec is multi-machine aware.

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