Apple Qmaster

Posted on 9 January 2012


Compressor does a good job on encoding videofiles, but by default it only uses one core. That’s a pity if you have 8 cores in your workstation and a few other mac’s in your network.

That’s where Apple Qmaster comes in.

This is how it works

  1. Your computer (Client) sends a batch from compressor or qmaster (unix) to a cluster.
  2. There is one controller in this cluster. The controller breaks down the batch and sends parts of it to all the service nodes in the cluster.
  3. There are also one or more service nodes in the cluster. They then render or compress the files.


There are two kinds of clusters:

  • quickcluster with services and unmanaged services from other computers (easy setup with Qmaster control panel)
  • seperate controller + managed services (advanced setup with Qadministrator).

We don’t want a render farm, we just want to use all our eight cores for compressor. So let’s setup a “quickcluster with services”. You want to share for the ‘compressor’ service and select all available “instances” (your cores). Do not select ‘managed’, I will explain why:

Managed or unmanaged?

You can select to ‘include unmanaged services from other computers’, so your QuickCluster will use other machines as long as they are in your network, have Qmaster setup with services (without ‘managed’  selected!) and sharing, and are not in use for another batch at that moment.

Other service-nodes are available only if you do NOT select ‘managed’, so only select ‘shared’. If you select managed you will have to link it to only one controller with Qadministrator.


If you are submitting a batch from compressor you can select ‘this computer’ or any of the available cluster controllers. I tested it with my newly setup QuickCluster and it breaks down the jobs in segments and utilises all available cores to render several jobs and eight segments simultaniously.

If you select ‘this computer’, you can also select ‘ use unmanaged services from other computers’, like you can in Qmaster. This is working great! It uses the available services from your own Qmaster setup immediately, resulting in exactly the same render times and behaviour as with the Quickcluster.

So: you can also only setup services if you use Qmaster for compressor only (and not for other UNIX rendering purposes like Shake or Motion).

Network connection

Please note here, that your own services will only be available if your computer is attached to a network, even when compressor, controller and services are on one computer. So if it doesn’t work: first check your network connection!

Posted in: Editing, MacOS/Apple