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Compression times for 720p vc-1 for xbox.

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Brandon White
Compression times for 720p vc-1 for xbox.
on Jan 17, 2008 at 12:54:38 am

Hi, first post here and I've looked around a bit but haven't quite found the info I'm looking for. I've been downloading episodes of Top Gear and Battlestar Galactica for a few years now and they're, unfortunately, in matroska containers. I purchased quicktime pro and Studio Pro HD with the intention of converting them to 720p wmv files I can stream to my xbox360. I've also got access to FCS2, just not a copy of my own. My question is, has anyone done this type of compression and what kind of timeframes have you been getting? I'm using a new (aluminum) 2.4ghz iMac with only 2gb of RAM and the export from Quicktime to the default 720p with 5.1 audio settings in SPHD is taking roughly 50-60 hours for an episode of Battlestar. Without really doing this sort of thing before I'm not sure if that's an appropriate amount of time or if there are ways I can streamline this process a bit to speed it along. At this rate, it's not really worth doing the conversions due to the time and I hate that I wasted $200 on the software. Any input or suggestions from the more experienced users would be greatly appreciated.

Also as I mentioned, I have access to FCS2 so if there's an app there that would be more efficient feel free to suggest that. Not familiar with that suite, but I have 8-10 hours a day I could start and let an encode run on those machines and if that'd get the trick done I'd have no problem doing that.

Thanks again for any info you guys can provide.

-Brandon


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George Burbano
Re: Compression times for 720p vc-1 for xbox.
on Jan 17, 2008 at 3:29:04 am

Hi Im not sure, about part of the question?

The issue that you are having with compression times, is the same that Im having. All averages seem to indicate that the it is about 1hr per 10min clip. so if you are doing 60mins than the average for most macs, DP 2.5ghz or greater would be about 6hrs +... Of course that does depend on other issues such as drives being used etc..

The part of the question that I dont understand is the "streaming" issue to the xbox. I have an xbox and didnt know you could strream to it?? If you want to view it, than you can copy to it but I thought it would have to be thru a DVD or CD. The other issue is you are trying to create WMVfiles which are pretty big files, FCP doesnt support WMV files, their are conversion programs out there like flip4mac etc.. They can convert files back and forth. Very time consuming and not work the time, unless you have a very specific reason. QT filese are much easier to work with and are the basis for MACs.. Im not an expert as you may see I ask for help from the gurus here often. If you are interested in archiving tv shows etc. The best way is to just burn the shows directly to DVD using any of the DVD direct burners on the market. Some of them will not allow you to copy shows that maintain a copyright like macrovision etc.. But there are workarounds.. One that is used often is that you can use your camcorder to copy to DV and than use the same camcorder to go to the burner...

Just a thought...


Ok, ... I checked the xbox and you can stream by connecting a PC.. So not sure about the Mac now.. It does require software on your PC, which Im just assuming although I could be wrong, its not available for a MAC, you know the microsoft phenomena..


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Brandon White
Re: Compression times for 720p vc-1 for xbox.
on Jan 17, 2008 at 5:02:23 am

Thanks for the reply, but I'm not concerned about the streaming part. I already have that set up and working fine. You just use Connect360 on OSX and you can stream any movie file the xbox supports without any problems. You can stream your iTunes and iPhoto libraries to it as well. It's a great wireless solution and doesn't require me to waste DVDs to watch things on the xbox. As for archiving the files, also not an issue. I have 4tb storage on my network and I just stream whatever I want to the xbox. To go into more specifics as to why I'm using .wmv, the xbox can read various formats....but the only way it will maintain digital 5.1 sound is if it's in a wmv container. Therefore I have to reencode the matroska files to wmv (I've been using the vc-1 codec and lossless wma codec) if I want to maintain the original file's quality and digital audio. That's the specific (and granted, somewhat picky) reason I'm going to wmv files. I want to maintain the video quality as well as the digital 5.1 sound.

Regards,
Brandon


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Daniel Low
Re: Compression times for 720p vc-1 for xbox.
on Jan 17, 2008 at 10:02:54 am

WMV/VC-1 support on the Mac (yes guys Mac, not MAC) is pretty poor even with flip4mac.
I'd suggest that you trancode to MPEG-4 (pt 2) or H.264. MPEG-4 should trancode very fast indeed. H.264 should transcode faster than WMV (VC-1) and give you higher quality.
The Xbox limits MPEG-4 to 5Mb/s and H.264 to 10Mb/s.


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Brandon White
Re: Compression times for 720p vc-1 for xbox.
on Jan 17, 2008 at 11:06:38 am

As I mentioned above I know what formats the xbox supports and realize there are quicker ways to do it, but doing any of those sacrifices digital audio. I looking more for advice on the conversion to wmv instead of alternative formats. Thanks.

Regards,
Brandon


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Ben Waggoner
Re: Compression times for 720p vc-1 for xbox.
on Jan 28, 2008 at 12:03:26 am

SPHD? I don't recognize that.

In the native Mac environment, your best encoding choices are Flip4Mac or Episode. If you don't mind using BootCamp, you'll get faster performance and higher quality using a native Windows encoder, particularly one incorporating the new VC-1 Encoder SDK.

http://on10.net/blogs/benwagg/20613/Default.aspx

Nic from Doom9 has been working on a AVISynth to SDK encoder that looks promising for your application.

http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?t=133173

In general, you'll find that Complexity 3 is generally the sweet spot with VC-1 for reasonable quality and encoding times - more gets a lot slower without helping quality all that much, and lower winds up reducing quality a fair amount (while still getting a lot faster).

The SDK is 4-way threaded, so it'll use as many cores as you have (2 in your iMac).

My compression blog: http://on10.net/blogs/benwagg/

My compression class at Stanford: http://digitalmediaacademy.org/courses/video-compression-training.html


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Daniel Low
Re: Compression times for 720p vc-1 for xbox.
on Jan 28, 2008 at 7:25:49 am

SPHD = Flip4Mac Studio Pro HD - http://www.flip4mac.com/wmv.htm



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Brandon White
Re: Compression times for 720p vc-1 for xbox.
on Jan 28, 2008 at 2:09:04 pm

Thanks for the reply and links.

Regards,
Brandon


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