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H.264 Pro review

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Scott Francis
H.264 Pro review
on Jun 29, 2011 at 12:23:46 am

Anyone out there work with this yet and have any feelings on it? The following things are of interest:
1) What formats of HD will it record? 720p, 1080i, 1080p, etc
2) What software does it use to "capture" from the hardware unit?
3) Can it be used with an older laptop/netbook with USB2 or will it need a newer dual or quad core? (Since it is stated that it is a "hardware" encoder, I hope that it will be able to be used on something slower)
4) How easy and intuitive is it to use?
5) Any thoughts you may have..

Thanks so much...I am VERY interested in this item...just want to make sure it is all that is seems it is...thanks in advance!!

Warmly,

Scott Francis
Mind's Eye Audio/Video Productions


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Daan Hermans
Re: H.264 Pro review
on Jun 29, 2011 at 5:12:22 pm

I've had a look at an Prototype / Preview box at the Reseller training a couple of weeks ago, so my answers might not be completely representative for the final product.
1) Not sure anymore...
2) At the setup they had it was connected to Media Express. Which made it possible to ingest file based in the same way you would currently do with a Decklink card.
3,4+5): It is USB2, so it may be able from an older box, but my experience always says: testing testing testing, before any conclusion. Tried to see the SD downscale from an ATEM switch this week.... ;-) It's a nice little box, and mostly I hope there will be some sort of streaming option for it in the near future. Or otherwise an SDK, and we'll built it ourselves.

Cheers -- Daan
--
the Future Store
http://www.futurestore.nl



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Vladimir Novikov
Re: H.264 Pro review
on Jun 29, 2011 at 5:40:55 pm

I'm reeding the technical details and see there is a possibility to capture only 2 audio channels. Why???!!! Digital Betacam has 4, for example.


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Andrew Stone
Re: H.264 Pro review
on Jun 29, 2011 at 7:34:12 pm

Injecting more than 2 channels into the SDI stream is a pretty high end feature. The unit costs under $500 and does way more than a lot of simple conversion boxes do that cost twice as much.

If you really want to inject more audio into the HD-SDI stream, you can probably do that prior to the unit with an HD-SDI embedding unit. AJA makes one. It sells for over a grand but you would have to mix it down into 2 channels and lay it into channels 1 and 2. Assuming it is possible. A simpler and probably better solution would be to outboard mix your audio and live mix it into one of the camera's audio inputs.

A piece of hardware can only do so much.

--
Steadicam & Camera Operator


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Vladimir Novikov
Re: H.264 Pro review
on Jun 29, 2011 at 9:44:41 pm

I don't know, the very basic Decklink card sold for $300 allows me to ingest all 4 channels of audio from the Digital Betacam tape through SDI. Yes, it doesn't provide any real-time compression, but it's certainly possible.


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Kristian Lam
Re: H.264 Pro review
on Jun 30, 2011 at 12:00:33 am

[Scott Francis] "1) What formats of HD will it record? 720p, 1080i, 1080p, etc

It will accept majority of HD input formats from 720p50, 720p59.94, 1080p23.98 to 1080p50 and 1080p59.94 (via HDMI or 3G-SDI).

2) What software does it use to "capture" from the hardware unit?

You use Media Express to capture the H.264 files.

3) Can it be used with an older laptop/netbook with USB2 or will it need a newer dual or quad core? (Since it is stated that it is a "hardware" encoder, I hope that it will be able to be used on something slower)

Yes, it is a hardware encoder so the system requirement is not high BUT H.264 decoding (to preview) your input does require a fairly modern processor.


regards

Kristian Lam
Blackmagic Design


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Heinz Bihlmei
Re: H.264 Pro review
on Jun 30, 2011 at 2:09:02 pm

Hi,

(1) what is the highest supported encoding bitrate. Looking at the user manual I assume 20 MBit/s.
(2) Is CABAC supported.
(3) When using 1080p50/60 source material are there artefacts using the highest possible encoder setting. Most cameras (SONY HX9, FS100) use 28 MBit/s or more.
(4) How is audio encoded.

Thanks!


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Jack Welten
Re: H.264 Pro review
on Jun 30, 2011 at 8:40:59 pm

Looks like a great device,

is it also possible to use it with Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder for streaming video? I have read, it is possible with the Intensity Shuttle, but you need a lot of processorpower,

with kind regards

Jack Welten


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Heinz Bihlmeir
Re: H.264 Pro review
on Jul 3, 2011 at 2:23:33 am

After some evaluation of the H264 Pro unit, I think this is currently a rather limited product intended mostly for web applications.

What I am missing:
Support for interlaced video, currently only progressive encodings are available.
Max. Bitrate is limited to 20 MBit/s, but 24 MBit/s for 1080i60 and 28 MBit/s for 1080p60 are (consumer) standard.
Optional support for TS streams mit 2-channel Dolby audio.

Strangely, the H264 encoder chip used in this product supports all these features, why are the not made available to the user?

Regards


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Kaarle Kannelmae
Re: H.264 Pro review
on Jul 12, 2011 at 8:03:42 am

We have used h.264 pro recorder for a backup recording of few concerts.
Few observations:

1) i cannot find a possibility to change audio input when using SDI for video. I wanted not to use analog audio instead of SDI embedded audio and I coulnd do that.
2) Media Express with H.264 Pro Recorder is not stable on 2 years old Dell Latitude d620 and Windows XP
3) we have encountered few encoding errors (pixellated spots on video and freezing frames) when using Macbook Pro and 8Mbit/s (Youtube 720 preset from settings)

and the biggest issue - there is a problem with audio sync with long clips. we have about a second audio drift in 1 hour recordings.

and as mentioned here before - it would be nice to have a possibility to select which 2 channels of audio to encode from SDI. So far Media Express only shows first 2 channels of embedded SDI audio.

can anyone confirm theese issues?

Kaarle


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