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upconverting vs transcoding. a difference?

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Tucker Lucas
upconverting vs transcoding. a difference?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 8:47:56 pm

Hey everyone,

We're upconverting some SD footage to 720p using our KONA LHi card.

Was just wondering, I guess on an engineering level, what's the difference between doing it with this process versus taking SD footage you've already digitized and transcoding it to 720p using Compressor?

Does one process offer a different benefit over the other, or are they essentially the same thing? Is there a benefit to the process being undertaken by the KONA hardware versus the Compressor software?

Any light you can shed on this subject would be helpful. Thanks!

-Tucker


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Michael Kammes
Re: upconverting vs transcoding. a difference?
on Dec 16, 2010 at 9:51:11 pm

Quality is typically better on hardware up/down/cross converters. It's also faster - real time.

Software is usually slower, and the complaint I hear / see most is "it's soft".

If I can, I try to use HW over SW anytime.

I say typically, because there are exceptions, albeit few and far between.

~Michael



.: michael kammes mpse
.: senior applications editor . post workflow consultant
.: audio specialist . act fcp . acsr
.: michaelkammes.com


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Tucker Lucas
Re: upconverting vs transcoding. a difference?
on Dec 17, 2010 at 4:51:42 pm

Thanks for the info Mike! The real-time thing makes sense.

Just out of curiosity, could anyone breakdown the technical aspects of this, as to why hardware is better than software on it's most basic level?


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Walter Soyka
Re: upconverting vs transcoding. a difference?
on Dec 22, 2010 at 10:15:15 pm

[Tucker Lucas] "Just out of curiosity, could anyone breakdown the technical aspects of this, as to why hardware is better than software on it's most basic level?"

There is no technical reason. Software could theoretically do just as good as job as hardware, but no one has published such a package.

General-purpose computers (like our Macs and PCs) are very flexible, but lack the horsepower to handle broadcast-quality conversion in real time. They can do just about anything, but they aren't specialized for any one thing.

In contrast, the hardware engines that do great up/down/cross-conversion in real time are purpose-built for video processing. They do what they do very fast and very well, but they only do that one thing.

The market has historically focused its attention on those people who need real time processing and are willing to pay for it. I wouldn't be surprised if we started seeing better up/down/cross-conversion in software (maybe even with GPU processing) in the coming years.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Rafael Amador
Re: upconverting vs transcoding. a difference?
on Dec 24, 2010 at 12:32:02 pm

[Walter Soyka] "There is no technical reason. Software could theoretically do just as good as job as hardware, but no one has published such a package."
I absolutely agree with this.
There is a big miss understanding on the Hardware vs Software issue.
In Analog, quality is all about HARDWARE.
In Digital quality is all about SOFTWARE.
Hardware can add only speed.

If an IO card (AJA, BM, MATROX..) can do it better than Compressor, is just because the IO card runs a software better than Compressor.
With the same software available, the cheapest computer could achieve the same results.
The fact is that AJA (co-debelopers of Prores), uses some special algorithms that are not available on any application. Shines when capturing 8b YUV stuff as 10b YUV and when down/upscaling.
Rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: upconverting vs transcoding. a difference?
on Dec 31, 2010 at 4:03:03 pm

[Rafael Amador] "In Analog, quality is all about HARDWARE. In Digital quality is all about SOFTWARE."

One other thought -- some signal processing is far easier to do with analog circuitry than it is with digital circuitry. It took a lot of work to get a good-sounding digital effect that that was comparable to a cheap vacuum tube amplifier circuit!

This goes back to the real-time discussion. An analog circuit can be modeled digitally, its input signal can be sampled digitally, and its output can be simulated, but it may require far more time to do.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Rafael Amador
Re: upconverting vs transcoding. a difference?
on Jan 2, 2011 at 7:56:37 pm

[Walter Soyka] "This goes back to the real-time discussion. An analog circuit can be modeled digitally, its input signal can be sampled digitally, and its output can be simulated, but it may require far more time to do."
In facts "digital stages" inside analog systems is as old as the TBCs, Frame Synchronizers, etc.
rafael
PS: A little anecdote for who may be interested;
When I started with video, the state of the art format was the Bosch 1"B (the Sony 1"C was released later).
The Bosch, was a better system than the SONY (Bandwidth, S/N ratio).
The SONY was able of a great Slow-mo, due to the Dynamic-tracking Heads.
The Bosh being a "segmented" formats (two play-heads), to make slow-mo needed an intermediate memory enough to store 1 Frame of video.. We are talking about "1 MB" more or less.
Well, at that time the price of the digital memory was so expensive that made the Bosch a no competitive option. In a short time disappeared from the market.

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Tucker Lucas
Re: upconverting vs transcoding. a difference?
on Jan 4, 2011 at 9:31:26 pm

Thanks for the responses guys! This has been extremely helpful!


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