UPDATE: I should note that the latest version of Sorenson Squeeze, Version 5, has an “upload to ftp” setting. We are using earlier versions, which is why I used the Automator workaround.
Imagine it’s 2 or 3 on a Saturday morning. You’ve spent several hours shooting and then editing video from the high school football game of the week.
Now, you face the mind-numbing task of converting your 1.5 GB file to two different output versions and then uploading them to two different servers.
Blah! Our photographers must do this every week during football season, and it’s a beating.
I think, “There has to be an automated workflow for that.” (Thanks to the Aug. 27 edition of the Mac Roundtable Podcast for getting me started thinking about automation.)
FINAL CUT AND A LITTLE SQUEEZE
Here are the pieces in the puzzle:
- Our photogs use MacBook Pros, so Automator should work. I downloaded an “Upload to FTP” script for Automator, written by a developer named Peter Dekkers.
- We all use Final Cut Pro or Final Cut Express, so our edited files are always the same. (.mov in FCP or .dv in FCE).
- We all use Sorenson Squeeze for Flash for converting files.
- We have to output two files: an .flv file for uploading to our browser-based video player via a Web form and an mpeg4 for our archive server.
SAVING STEPS: GOING AUTOMATIC
Here’s what I’ve set up:
- Export edited file from Final Cut Pro.
- Open Sorenson Squeeze file with presets to output our 16:9 .flv file and an mpeg4.
- Drag edited FCP file into “Watch Folder” set up in Sorenson.
- Hit “squeeze.” (Note: Sorenson says that if you are using just one compression setting, you can just drag the file into the Watch folder and it will compress automatically.)
For now, the photog still must go get the .flv file and upload it manually to our video player. (I have some ideas on how to automate this process.) But the mp4 is auto-uploaded to the archive server, saving time and steps.
WHAT’S NEXT: GOING MOBILE
We have one more step to accomplish: Converting the original file for use on mobile devices. I think we can automate this process, too.
FOOTNOTES: THE AUTOMATOR SETUP
I set up a Folder Action to use on the “CompressedOutput” file, which is where Sorenson’s Watch folder dumps the compressed videos. Once the files are output to that folder (after the Squeezing), they are automatically uploaded to our archive server. The photog will still have to go into the CompressedOutput file and manually post the .flv.