Choosing an encoder

Content in this category details the operation and quality of streaming video encoding tools.

Test Drive: Telestream Episode Pro

telestream_episode_pro_200.jpgTelestream Episode Pro has emerged as a top performer on the Mac, and last December, Telestream released a Windows version. It’s an affordable tool that all HD producers on both platforms need to be aware of, so I’m devoting this month’s Affordable HD to a review of this product. In this first installment, I’ll review the interface and discuss I/O, the new watch-folder functionality and the Preview window. Next time, I’ll detail performance and output quality and compatibility.

2009 Encoder Shootout

Wow! Another year has passed. And so it’s time for another round of encoding tool updates. In this roundup, I’ll compare the output quality, speed, and codec-related feature set of the most prominent crop of sub-$1,000 encoders and provide the results in report-card form. For the most part, the best in each category rated an A, the worst a C, and the rest B’s. Though this will vary by the encoding tool and category, a C grade should be a concern if you’re currently using or plan to use the encoding tool. Where a feature is significantly limited in a particular encoder, I've noted it in the tables with asterisks and explained the issue in the text.

ProRes on Windows

If you edit on both Mac and Windows workstations using Final Cut Pro and Adobe CS4, running ProRes on Windows can be a great capability. Read all about it here.

Choosing your Streaming Encoding Tool

Once you’ve chosen a codec, you have to choose an encoding tool. In this column, I’ll outline the codec-specific and automation-related questions you should ask before using or buying an encoding tool, and then describe the three levels of encoding tools.