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Which media encoder is best?

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Jason Wisdon
Which media encoder is best?
on Jul 2, 2011 at 5:52:00 pm

Hi,

So I'm in the market for a better media encoder. Unless it's something I'm doing wrong, I'm finding the exports I'm getting from compressor are lacking (especially mp4 and QuickTime movies) I'm looking into Episode/episode pro and sorenson squeeze. Is one better than the other?


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Craig Seeman
Re: Which media encoder is best?
on Jul 2, 2011 at 7:05:08 pm

Apple's H264 codec is probably one of the least capable available.
Both Episode and Squeeze use MainConcept H.264 which is much better (noticeable at lower data rates particularly) and more feature (tweekable) deep. I'm partial to Episode myself.
Even the freely available x264 is very good compared to Apple's and it can be used inside of Compressor. Another good alternative is Matrox CompressHD (or Max when using MXO2 with that) and that too will work inside of Compressor.



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Jan Bliddal
Re: Which media encoder is best?
on Jul 3, 2011 at 2:12:30 pm

Sorenson Squeeze 6.5 does considerably better low bitrate compression compared to Apples Compressor, but Apple Compressor does better HD compressions. I do not know why but When trying to compress in 1080p for youtube I find that compressor 6.5 has a tendency of pixilating the nose on a face. I can se blocks on the nose of the subject. I am thus using Compressor for HD fotage and Sorenson Squeeze for SD fotage.

Let the machine work for you. Not you for the machine


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Craig Seeman
Re: Which media encoder is best?
on Jul 4, 2011 at 3:47:32 pm

[Jan Bliddal] " but Apple Compressor does better HD compressions."

That shouldn't be true at all. While Compressor is better at HD than SD it shouldn't match what Squeeze can do. Compressor can't do CABAC encoding and I'm not sure about High Profile either. Apple went with simple compatibility over quality.



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richard bluestein
Re: Which media encoder is best?
on Jul 9, 2011 at 5:12:44 pm

Can someone please confirm what appears to be true to me after looking at Episode 6 for just a little while: Both Squeeze 7 and Episode 6 have the mainconcept codec, only Squeeze can do multi-pass encoding for h.264? Episode can only do dual pass encoding?

Is this true or am I missing something?


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Craig Seeman
Re: Which media encoder is best?
on Jul 9, 2011 at 6:07:26 pm

You should examine the quality of the encode. If only two passes are needed to get optimal quality that would be a sign of a more efficient use of the encoding algorithms. Note that Episode also has a VBR Quality setting as well for H.264 encoding. To use the old Spinal Tape example, having the ability to turn something up to 11 doesn't necessarily make it louder.



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richard bluestein
Re: Which media encoder is best?
on Jul 9, 2011 at 10:23:43 pm

Thanks for the reply! When using squeeze 7, I do notice a difference in quality for the media I am producing for a particular client. A few months ago I compared quality against episode 5 and squeeze7's multpass was noticeably better. I just today tried that agin with episode 6 and the results seem comparable. Could the main concept codec changed from episode 5 to 6?

Also- do you know of an objective way to compare quality? My eyes go crazy trying to find the difference.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Which media encoder is best?
on Jul 9, 2011 at 11:43:04 pm

Episode 5 used Dicas. Episode 6 uses MainConcept. Episode 6.1.2 specifically made improvements. So you should check with that. Jan Ozer notes that Episode is comparable to Squeeze in his book but I can't find the reference on his site yet.



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David Johnson
Re: Which media encoder is best?
on Jul 10, 2011 at 12:47:07 am

I have the most current versions of Compressor, Episode and Squeeze and my experience is pretty much consistent with what others have said. I regularly use both Squeeze and Episode for two primary reasons:

1] I could never find much that I liked about Compressor other than that it was packaged with FCP and didn't require a separate purchase.

2] Squeeze is powerful and simple so its great for web and device encodes. However, when I needed to start delivering broadcast-ready stuff as files in additon to tape (DG FastChannel & ExtremeReach specs), Squeeze was not capable of the required specs, but Episode was. If I recall correctly, even the current version of Squeeze still can't do either DG FastChannel & ExtremeReach spec files, but I don't recall specifically which specs its lacks (can't encode H264 with LPCM Integer audio, can't encode H264 with MPG1/L2 audio at high enough bitrates, or both?).

Bottom line ... my opinion is go with either Episode or Squeeze depending on your needs, preferences, budget, etc. Try the trial versions and see which one you like.


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Glenn Camhi
Re: Which media encoder is best?
on Nov 7, 2011 at 4:24:03 am

What's used for major studio Blu-rays?


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