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The BEST mpeg2 encoder up to date!!!???

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Rani Korkise
The BEST mpeg2 encoder up to date!!!???
on May 19, 2009 at 5:44:55 pm

Hey guys.

Just before you suggest that I google this. Let me tell you that I've tried and I've tried. :)

I can't seem to find any clear comparisons made of different mpeg2 encoders that are still up to date and functional.

We're a wedding video company that still shoot in SD (unfortunately), trying to produce the best quality possible on our final DVDs (encoding time is not an issue).

If you have any suggestions, providing any techniques on how to tweak different settings to maximize quality would be great!

Can the experts guide me the right way
I really appreciate any help you can give me.

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Michael Sacci
Re: The BEST mpeg2 encoder up to date!!!???
on May 19, 2009 at 6:02:02 pm

You on a PC, Mac, willing to spend serious $$, or do you have a budget.

The best are workstations that cost over $50K.

But quality of your encode will depend more on the quality of your video. If you are using DV cameras your encode will never look as good as well shoot DBeta or HD.

That being said
are some of the recommended encoders.

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Noah Kadner
Re: The BEST mpeg2 encoder up to date!!!???
on May 20, 2009 at 2:55:00 am

It's kinda amazing how little movement there's been over the years with respect to MPEG-2 encoders.


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Rani Korkise
Re: The BEST mpeg2 encoder up to date!!!???
on May 20, 2009 at 11:40:27 am

Hello Michael.

I apologize for not being as clear.

We edit on pc, the budget don't really matter. But let me tell you that we don't want to buy any hardware encoders, Strictly software.

Bitvice, CinemaCraft, ProCoder? you're on the right track but I just don't know which encoder presents the best results in terms of quality and decent encoding speed.

If the best encoder is not an editor software plug-in i.e premiere, edius etc. What would you recommend to work around this? Would a frameserver be our best option? (saves us from exporting from the editor and then encoding, twice the hassle) if so. please suggest the leading couple frameservers or technologies you would recommend for a good work flow.

Also if you know of a good article, tutorial or guide showing the best settings when encoding for dvd, please share it.

Thank you very much!

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Jon Geddes
Re: The BEST mpeg2 encoder up to date!!!???
on May 20, 2009 at 5:56:52 pm

Cinema Craft Encoder is one of the best software encoders. Arguably just as good is the FREE HC Encoder. These solutions are better than Procoder or the other software encoders.

Dan Isaacs on the Adobe forums has posted some very helpful comments on the best settings for HC Encoder and even offers a complete guide.

Here are some of his threads on it:

Jon Geddes
Motion Graphics Designer

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eric pautsch
Re: The BEST mpeg2 encoder up to date!!!???
on May 20, 2009 at 11:30:01 pm

The SP encoder from Cinemacraft is the finest encoder I've worked with...opinions vary greatly though. Its $2000.00. From there you start getting into the 10K, 20K or even 40K range. Segment re-encoding is what sets these apart from others. Lots to be said when a client insist on a scene with a higher bitrate or tweak and you are not stuck re-encoding the whole file in hopes in works.

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David Chai
Re: The BEST mpeg2 encoder up to date!!!???
on May 21, 2009 at 12:42:01 am

The Cinema Craft Basic is great if you don't need segment re encoding and costs something like $68. The Xtream engine is better and there is a MAC plugin version for $800, but you can always try out CCE basic and see if it works for you.

Keep in mind, if the bitrates are too low (4.5 or below), and the motion is quick, no MPEG2 encoder is going to help you, but it will be considerably better than the lesser encoders.

David Chai
Director . Camera . Editor
212 363 0159

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Bouke Vahl
Re: The BEST mpeg2 encoder up to date!!!???
on May 23, 2009 at 9:14:32 am

well, i'm a happy Cinemacraft SP user on Windows.
And doing an 8 pass VBR (or even CBR for burned disks) with low datarates gives a much better result than expected.

But for quality, there is another thing.
Shooting DV in NTSC gives you 4:1:1 video.
Transcode that to 4:2:0 MpegII will give you a huge loss in chroma.
One solution is to capture to a 4:2:2 codec over SDI or component.
(You'll need a card).
The theory is a bit unclear, but has to do with a trick in the deck that 'upsamples' the chroma in a better way software transcoding does.
No experience with that myself, as i'm in Pal land and never see NTSC DV.

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Neil Sadwelkar
Re: The BEST mpeg2 encoder up to date!!!???
on Jul 7, 2009 at 1:20:59 pm

You should download these software encoder demo versions. Make short encodes of a variety of types of shots representing the work you normally do. Then play each out of a DVD Player and capture as ProRes or uncompressed into your edit system. Lay them out side by side on the same monitor and compare.

If you don't have capture hardware you can open the m2v files and compare them side by side.

Personally I use Apple Compressor with a variety of settings for different occasions. And it works beautifully. I've compared Compressor encodes with the source file on my Mac monitor and reached the conclusion that for my use Compressor works best.

Neil Sadwelkar

FCP Editor, Mumbai, India.
Completely PAL.

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brian lecrone
Re: The BEST mpeg2 encoder up to date!!!???
on Nov 6, 2009 at 6:04:01 pm

Why has no one mentioned Sorensen Squeeze? Is it significanly less capable the Cinema Craft? It's certainly priced as if it were in high demand.

Brian LeCrone

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Troy Williams
Re: The BEST mpeg2 encoder up to date!!!???
on Jul 17, 2009 at 8:46:17 am

By chance has anyone done any testing on the MPEG2 compression quality of Episode Pro and Sorrenson Squeeze in comparison to the other encoders mentioned?

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