Procoder2 To make HDWMV from HDQtimes
I work in a FCP5 Post House w/2 Kona2 edit suites and need the ability to encode HDqtime to WMVHD quickly and easily. Is Procoder a better solution than Cleaner XL?
What systems specs. should I be carrying on the PC workstation that runs procoder for maximum effieciency. I know there are recommended minimum requirements but I'm looking to soup it up a bit, but no more than I need to.
Can any recommend getting a HD Capture card to feed a video signal into the PC workstation from my edit suites so I can capture from them on the fly and avoid downtime encoding to the PC Station?
What non linear editor for the PC can I get to cut down what I capture on the fly before sending to Procoder2. Does the advanced Procoder2 software accomplish this?
Save yourself the hassle and get this for the Mac:
Go for the studio pro version that produces HD WMV's
ProCoder is a better solution than Cleaner XL. Per the specs for efficient ProCoder encoding, I would say that a Dual P4 3.6GHz, Dual Xeon 3.4GHz, or a Dual AMD64 2.8GHz system would be a good start. At least 2GB of RAM are recommended, and a good 10K SCSI or SATA boot drive with a good 4 drive RAID would help. Aja has the Xena HS card for the PC, which is a decent performer for capturing. Note, that if you are going to capture files over SDI, then there is less likely a need to worry about QT compatibility, as you can capture uncompressed AVIs. And in such case, the free Microsoft Windows Media Encoder will do a good job for you. ProCoder will let you mark in and out points so editing beforehand is not necesary in all cases.
Encoding Windows Media at HD resolutions can be a slow process no matter what solution you choose above. As Daniel mentioned, there is the Flip4Mac WMV encoder for the mac that will encode WMV HD, however it is by far the slowest of the options. Popwire Compression Master (720p max) on the mac is another option, but it too is slower than any of the PC options. Both will give you good looking encodes, it just depends on how long you want to wait for them.
If real-time encoding over SDI or file-based content is your thing, then there is also a PCI board available from my company, Inlet Technologies. We produce a hardware/software package called Fathom that allows you encode in real-time to Windows Media (VC-1) content from almost any source to HD resolutions. Our software also allows you to contatenate tapes into one encoded file with deck control. Also, you can do what we call Seen by Scene editing, which allows you to go into an encode and mark scenes for re-encoding and only re-encode those segments, thus not having to waste the time of fully re-encoding a movie if there was an error. Email me through my profile if you would like more info.
Support and Projects Manager
No disrespect, but VC-1 is not yet ratified, by the SMPTE. As it's based on WM9 I would be very careful about the use/delivery/standardisation of/on it as there's every possibility that it may not get approval (in it's current form) and the work on it has not yet been completed. I would be more than happy to recommend WMV9 but not VC-1, as yet.
The SMPTE process is not looking too good according to this article: (18/10/05)
"Peter Symes, SMPTE engineering vice president, declined to predict when VC-1 will become a Full Committee Draft (FCD). "There were some delays at the beginning, but an enormous amount of work has been done. It's very complex; it takes time," he said. SMPTE expects to have an FCD ballot soon, which would mark the end of technical changes to VC-1"
"Microsoft has given the impression that its WMV9 and SMPTE's VC-1 are one and the same, but there are differences. Windows Media includes many things that are not part of VC-1, including digital rights management, metadata, a playlist and a user interface. VC-1 is purely a video compression algorithm"
All I can say is that the article you linked is rather old (the date is actually from 10/18/04), and you should expect an announcement rather soon regarding full SMPTE verification.
Also, as far as VC-1 versus WMV9 HD, yes, they are not exactly the same. The available encoders today (ours included), when encoding WMV9 HD advanced profile, use the fourcc of WMVA. The fourcc code of VC-1 will be WVC1, and the effort to make the proper adjustment for previously encoded streams and encoders of today to be compliant with those in the future is very minimal (we can already encode VC-1 compliant streams in-house). At any rate, the decoders being built (either hardware or software) that support WMV9 Advanced Profile are compliant with both WMVA and WVC1 streams, at least in our testing. The only issue one may run into is with DRM, and in such case, that person or company would not likely want to use VC-1 anyway for their particular application. Most enoders like ours do not actually place any DRM restrictions on the encode itself, and a secondary application is necessary to support that. So it really is a non issue at this point for most encoders.
I've tested the Inlet product extensively, and can verify that every WMV I've made with it had perfect compatibility in every player I tested that should have worked.
My Book: http://www.benwaggoner.com/books.htm
Squeeze and ProCoder tutorials: http://www.classondemand.net/benwaggoner/
Compression Class at Stanford: http://www.digitalmediaacademy.org/compression.html