Okay, I have tried them all, Sorenson, Cleaner, Compressor... and I cannot get the pristine image that apple does at the same bitrate. Do they use a hardware based encoder? I come from the world of DVD, so i know the difference between a $10k sonic encoder, and a $80k Sony encoder. Is this the same for web based movies? If so, money aside, what is needed to get video like apple?
This is correct. I have encoded a number of 1080p24 H264s with Apple's Compressor from high quality 1080p24 Uncompressed 8bit 4:2:2 and 10bit 4:4:4 sources, and the differences in quality between what Apple would typically achieve and what I recieve is negligible. Also, because Apple hosts some trailers that have a rather "Cooker-cutter" encoding feel to them, I would say that my results are even better than what Apple hosts in some cases. The only app I really use in this is Compressor 2. On the PC, the new MainConcept v2 H264 encoder is a welcome sight in terms of control and speed, although it does not currently encode streams compatible with Quicktime 7.