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Fastest/best formats for GPU/CPU rendering MP4

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Mark Ryan
Fastest/best formats for GPU/CPU rendering MP4
on Feb 15, 2017 at 9:08:08 am

Hi everyone,
I am rendering MP4 files for YouTube and am looking to optimise the speed (whilst getting best possible quality).

In the past I've used MainConcept AVC MP4 and experimented with methods of rendering through Handbrake. I've since read that some modern GPUs may not support the MainConcept codec and some other codecs so I would really appreciate some information about what to use with my computers.

If there is a way to take advantage of GPU render to make it faster, that would be great. My current older computer has a Radeon HD 7800 Series GPU and a newer one has an RX 480 Gaming X. I am also open to rendering to a high quality file (e.g. DNxHD) and converting afterwards as having the HQ version would be beneficial for my purposes anyway.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

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Aaron Star
Re: Fastest/best formats for GPU/CPU rendering MP4
on Feb 16, 2017 at 2:43:53 am

There is no system details, project settings, or edit source material format. A fast PC with a large amount of memory is going to be your best bet for rendering to h.264. .mp4 is a container like .mov or .avi.

MC MP4 encoder stopped GPU CUDA support at the NV580.

Some claim that the handbrake frame server is the fastest way. With this method you get a better scaler than what is included with Vegas, so downscaling would be best with this mode.

Sony AVC does utilize the AMD GPU if enabled for GPU or AUTO, but the component that uses the OpenCL GPGPU is not what most think GPU acceleration is. The Timeline calculations are also boosted with GPU enabled, so its sort of a 1 to 2 punch.

Xavc-intra would be your best format in the AVC codec line. h.264 pretty much = AVC and XAVC is just a higher profile of h.264/AVC.

xdcam-ex is a 35mbs, highly optimized codec in Vegas, and uploads directly to services like YouTube.

Cineform.AVI, which installs with the GoPro software is probably the best all around codec image wise in Vegas. Until you get into straight uncompressed formats like SonyYUV, and .EXR image sequences.

I would stay away from the DNxHD codecs unless you need to deliver in to someone else in that format. Moving video through the QT layer is slow, thanks to Apple Co. and Apple lawyers.

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Mark Ryan
Re: Fastest/best formats for GPU/CPU rendering MP4
on Feb 16, 2017 at 12:24:31 pm

Thanks for the detailed response.
My video settings are 1080p 25fps progressive and the footage is the same, coming from video cameras, XDCAM or DSLR. The videos are done as part of a full time not for profit organisation, so the videos won't be going to clients or transferred on the production side of things. Regarding system specs (I think you were asking for this info) one older computer has an i5 2500K + Radeon HD 7800 series 2GB + 8GB RAM and a new computer has an i7 7700 + RX 480 Gaming X + 16GB RAM.

A final MP4 file will be used predominantly for YouTube, however, we'll also do things like Vimeo and possibly online TV channels or web streaming and each may use different format settings. This is the reason that I'm quite interested in the idea of rendering to a high quality version (either highest quality MP4 or a near lossless option) which then allows of the option to convert to any format/size for the streaming medium as needed.

As an alternative to the near uncompressed formats mentioned (i.e. DNxHD, cineform, etc.) I am considering simply rendering to the highest quality MP4 and converting down appropriately, probably through Handbrake. Is that a good idea, doing a second conversion afterwards to the lower quality MP4? If so, which Vegas MP4 codec would you recommend in general for best quality and speed?

I did some export tests on the older computer of a 1 minute video, for anyone interested. These were the results for render time, size, bitrate:

MainConcept MP4: 20 minutes, 118mb, 16mb/s.
Sony AVC MP4: 8 minutes, 116mb, 16mb/s.
Sony XAVCS MP4: 8min30secs, 408mb, 56mb/s.
XDCAM EX MP4: 7min15secs, 202mb, 28mb/s.
Avid DNxHD: 8 minutes, 900mb, 123mb/s.
Cineform High: 8min15secs, 700mb, 97mb/s. (Oddly found Cineform renders not sharp/focused)
Handbrake FS MP4: 10 minutes, 73mb, 10mb/s. (Set at CRF18, Slow, High 4.1. Looked decent)

Based on this I feel happy with the XAVCS for the balance of higher quality MP4 and speed. It's nice to know the DNxHD is still comparable in render time but the file size is unnecessary when I can do the other option. That's interesting about DNxHD possibly causing an issue though, would you mind sharing how that can affect workflow? Another thing was for some Cineform didn't look good visually (not like horribly bad, but just not focused or sharp like it should be) despite coming out with high settings in MediaInfo.
What do you think would be the best MP4 I should go with, Aaron? Thanks for your help again. I wouldn't have experimented with all the new options otherwise so I really appreciate it :)

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