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The most popular way to distribute media in Hollywood these days is through a program called PIX. With PIX we can upload film dailies, or the latest cut, and show it to anyone we want, and it’ll conveniently burn a watermark of their name on it live so there’s little chance of it being copied and distributed.

PIX is a great thing for the most part. It cuts down on the old insanity of creating DVDs and driving them around town at two in the morning. The problem is that the company isn’t super helpful with how to properly encode the files for upload. If files aren’t encoded just right, they won’t be playable on PIX. It should be super simple, and it’s not.

Here’s the specs that PIX says will ensure compatibility with their system:

PIX website settingsAnyone who’s used MPEG Streamclip, Compressor, or any similar program will know there are many more settings. At work we’ve been pretty successful with MPEG Streamclip. However, it’s not the fastest compressor nor is it the easiest to add files quickly. I wanted to use Apple Compressor to create a Droplet so I can simply export from Avid Media Composer and quickly drop the files on there to encode for PIX.

MPEG Streamclip PIX settings

Every single time I tried using Compressor, with the same exact settings as MPEG Streamclip, the file would not play on PIX. After hours of research online I discovered that most of the problems were how compressor programs dealt with the Fast Start setting—an option that forces videos to start playing instantly instead of downloading the entire file first. PIX requires this, but even though I had it checked in Compressor, PIX acted as if it wasn’t there.

Finally, a friend sent me presets that he used on another show and it worked perfectly. What was different? Random settings that should have no bearing on the outcome. Suffice to say, PIX is finicky. The correct Compressor settings are below, but you can also simply download the setting file here. I really hope this is helpful to someone.

Name: PIX720
Description: H.264 video with stereo AAC audio. Settings based off the source resolution and frame-rate.
File Extension: mov
Estimated size: 1.11 GB/hour of source
Segmentation on cluster disabled
Audio Encoder
AAC, Stereo (L R), 48.000 kHz
Video Encoder
Width: 1280
Height: 720
Pixel aspect ratio: Square
Crop: None
Padding: Preserve source aspect ratio
(L: 0, T: 0, R: 0, B: 0)
Frame rate: (100% of source)
Selected: 23.976
Frame Controls: Automatically selected: Off
Codec Type: H.264
Multi-pass: Off, frame reorder: On
Pixel depth: 24
Spatial quality: 75
Min. Spatial quality: 25
Temporal quality: 50
Min. temporal quality: 25
Average data rate: 2.458 (Mbps)
Fast Start: on
Compressed header
requires QuickTime 3 Minimum