I've been using it for awhile and it's worked out for the most part, but I've recently had to encode a title with older video that's filled with an incredibly large number of pans and cross-dissolves layered on top of other cross-dissolves...
Even with appropriately placed compression markers, the output has been godawful... rife with compression artifacts. Anyways, I downloaded a demo of BitVice, and using the same settings (VBR - 5.7 avg, 8.5 max) -- with BitVice's added "minimum" bit-rate set to 4.5 --- and the encode is flawless... I'm sure I overkilled with the BitVice settings I used.
Is Compressor2 beyond hope? Is there some trick to it to make it not look like total crap compared to BitVice? I'd heard that there were some bugs with Compressor2's VBR settings? Should I just bite the bullet and purchase BitVice?
BitVice is a much better encoder than Compressor. There may be tweaks you can do to your Compressor
workflow, like using CBR unless you need the space, and very careful use of markers (they can actually make things
worse if you misuse them. Do a search of this and the FCP forum for advice on that.)
BitVice can certainly improve MPEG-2 encodings from certain types of sources, and if what you are getting from BitVice pleases you that much more than Compressor, then I'd say go ahead and get the full version. Compressor has an MPEG-2 encoder that is good enough for most types of content, but there is no doubt that there are times when Compressor will just fall flat on its face. I've seen BitVice do the same as well, but most of the time BitVice can be considered as one of the best SD MPEG-2 encoding solutions out there, even if it is measurably slower than other encoders.