Real World Video Compression has posted a Encoder Shootout between three common Mac software compression options, and one hardware assisted solution. The disparity in price between the tools tested is enormous…with VisualHub at under $25, and Episode Pro nearly $1000. Much like the pricing, the speed and quality of the results were varied.
“…on the Macbook Pro, the Turbo264 was the clear winner, coming in at realtime for the encode for both versions. Surprisingly however, Visual Hub came in second at fairly close to real time. Both Episode and Compressor did about the same coming in at 2 to 4x depending on the encoder and setting. Interestingly enough, each took a great deal longer on one encode, but not the same one (compressor struggled with the iPhone clip, while Episode choked on the Apple TV one). Arguably, I can guess that both Episode & Compressor are doing multi-pass encodes by default, while Visual Hub is doing a single pass. I’m not sure about Turbo as its offloading the encode process to the external DSP, but i’ll throw a guess that it’s single pass until i learn otherwise.”
It is very important to note that this test relied only on default templates for each tool. The author made no attempt to establish a baseline set of encoding options and settings, so the results shouldn’t be read as a definitive answer for which tool is the best performer overall. To the authors credit, he makes this clear…it is a shootout of “quick and dirty” default settings only. While it’s an informative test in that regard, I wish he had also performed a comparative test with identical settings for each tool. Perhaps it will be revisited in a future article…
UPDATE: Andy has expanded on his encoder research by performing a more comparative test and taking time to optimize each software solution. You can read about his findings here.
This FreshDV Classic article is licensed and republished at ProVideoCoalition with permission.