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Best Software Encoder/Transcoder

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Andres Lopez-Ovejero
Best Software Encoder/Transcoder
on Apr 7, 2011 at 7:05:52 pm

Hi all,

I help run a small video production company and encode a lot of video for the web in H.264 and also deliver content to clients as DVD-Video. I do have experience with a few encoding programs but I'm very interested to hear everyone's opinions as I'm thinking of making a switch or upgrading soon.

So my question is two fold. For H.264 and MPEG-2 encoding, what software application is hands down the best in terms of control, quality, reliability, etc. if price is not an issue?

And for the same formats what application in your opinion is the best value for a professional level product? (outside of Compressor which could be considered free...)


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Thomas Pohl
Re: Best Software Encoder/Transcoder
on Apr 7, 2011 at 7:57:43 pm

What about MpegStreamclip?

Thomas. - RED footage and more available in HD, SD and RED RAW R3D

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Craig Seeman
Re: Best Software Encoder/Transcoder
on Apr 7, 2011 at 8:23:53 pm

MPEGStreamclip is great but I wouldn't rank it amongst the best for various reasons.

I'm partial to Telestream Episode Pro (or Engine if you want speed and power) but some people do like Squeeze.

Matrox CompressHD is a very deep H.264 .mov encoder and blazing fast. It also encodes H.264 for Blu-ray. It doesn't do MPEG2 though. It's a hardware card and it can work inside of Compressor.

Innobits BitVice is great for MPEG2 encoding.

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Jeff Greenberg
Re: Best Software Encoder/Transcoder
on Apr 7, 2011 at 10:23:09 pm

You're going to find that the 'big tools' - Sorenson, Adobe Media Encoder, and Episode all use the same encoder - made by MainConcepts.

Beyond that? We know you're on a mac - you really should pull down each and see what works best with your workflow...


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Andres Lopez-Ovejero
Re: Best Software Encoder/Transcoder
on Apr 8, 2011 at 12:57:55 am

Well, i'm also curious what other professionals use, but my concern with the try it all method is that each program has their own learning curve, and I cant trust that I can master it in a short period of time while also juggling delivery of actual work to clients.

But personally my experience is this so far:

Compressor - My go to, the custom settings I've created work well and I always try new things here first.

AME- Really don't like the interface, seem to get consistently poor quality encodes.

Episode - Just started casually using it. love the UI. and the settings seem to go very deep.

Sorenson - Used an old version a bit because it came bundled with Avid MC. the new UI seems fine but I have no practical experience.

Bitvice and CCE-MP seem to be the two best in class standalone MPEG-2 encoders. I would definitely buy bitvice if it will help. Does anyone have practical experience with either vs the other big tools?

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mark luigjes
Re: Best Software Encoder/Transcoder
on Apr 8, 2011 at 1:35:11 pm

We're using both Bitvice and Episode. Episode is my favorite general purpose encoding software. Settings go deep indeed, but all easily accessible. Working with presets is a breeze. Bitvice is still one of the best MPEG-2 encoders, the quality is unmatched. So, that's our combo.

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Michael Magallon
Re: Best Software Encoder/Transcoder
on Apr 27, 2011 at 6:03:36 am

If Money is no object, then Ateme, Rhozet and Digital Rapids are the encoders our facility use. We also use supporting software like Manzanita, Cerify and Sencore.

Obviously the trick is knowing what software to use with specific outputs/codecs.

Lastly, if quality is also needed, there is software to stay away from when trying to output specific codecs... far away

The above are enterprise level solutions only and do not take into account all archival, mezzanine level outputs.


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