Encoder reviews

Review: Microsoft Expression Encoder 3

Expression Encoder 3 is the encoding component of Microsoft’s Expression Studio, a five-product suite ($599 retail/$399 upgrade), and of Expression Web, a three-product suite that also contains Expression Web and Expression Design ($149/$79). Microsoft is also selling Expression Encoder 3 as a stand-alone product with a list price of $49. Seems like a good decision, because although there were some rough edges, Expression Encoder 3 proved very capable and functional in my tests.

Sorenson Squeeze 6 quality analysis up on Digital Content Producer website

My Squeeze 6 quality and performance review just appeared on the Digital Content Producer site. I looked at both Windows Media and H.264 quality, but not VP6 because Squeeze couldn't meet my data rate targets. More on that here.

To see the review, click here.

To see a tutorial illustrating Squeeze's new features, click here.

Sorenson Squeeze 6 and VP6 Encoding

Just a quick note about Sorenson Squeeze 6. I was testing for an upcoming review in my Affordable HD column for Millimeter Magazine and encountered a very serious bug relating to producing in VP6 format. Specifically, in my tests, Squeeze 6 couldn't come anywhere close to my target data rates. For example, when I encoded a file at 500 kbps, the lowest data rate that I could achieve was about 3 mbps. This basically makes the program unusable for most VP6 production.

I pinged Sorenson, who reported that the bug had creeped into a late stage release candidate and just hadn't been caught, but should be resolved with a maintenance release in the next couple of weeks. Otherwise, in my preliminary testing, I saw no other major issues. The review will appear on the Millimeter web site early next week.

In the short term,  if you're buying Squeeze 6 for most VP6 encoding operations, you should wait until the bug is fixed. I'm sure I'll get a patch as soon as it's available and I'll test and confirm when the problem is resolved.

Sorenson Squeeze 6

Sorenson Media recently released Squeeze 6.

If you click to the full article, you can view a screencam that I created for Millimeter magazine. In a couple of weeks, I'll post a written article comparing encoding quality and performance of Squeeze 6 with previous versions and other products in its class.

Sorenson Squeeze 6 - A New Feature Overview

Squeeze6fig1We've all heard about Sorenson Squeeze 6, this article contains an overview of the new features, which include the new review and approval workflow, new filters, faster H.264 encoding and superior integration with Sorenson 360, Sorenson's online video platform.

Review: Kulabyte XStream Live 2.1

If you’re producing a live streaming event, you have three choices when it comes to encoding: You can hire out the work, buy a streaming appliance, or build your own streaming encoder. If you choose the third approach and want to stream HD H.264 video via Flash, Kulabyte’s XStream Live 2.1 Flash video encoder needs to be on your short list. While the interface is still (to put it kindly) a work in progress, the encoder proved very efficient and reliable and produced excellent video quality. Read all about it in this review.

Review: Telestream Episode Engine

For VP6 and H.264 encoding, Telestream’s Episode Engine is fast and produces equal or better quality than most other streaming encoders. For those producing shiny optical discs, MPEG-2 performance and quality is also quite good. However, Windows Media producers should look elsewhere because Engine’s encoding speed is slow and the output quality is subpar.

Apple Compressor - New Encoding Features

Apple released the new Final Cut Studio today; what’s in it for streaming producers? Some nice workflow improvements, especially for producers of short-form content; for producers of long-form content, though, objects in the mirror may not be as close as they appear. More on that below. In terms of more mainstream uses, the big news includes Blu-ray output from within Final Cut Pro and Compressor, three new versions of ProRes, and general improvements to all suite components save DVD Studio Pro. Click over to the main article to read about the additions to Apple Compressor.

Sorenson Boosts Squeeze 5.1's Deinterlacing Quality

If you work with interlaced source footage, the quality of your deinterlacing filter is one of the key components to final compressed quality. Unfortunately for Sorenson Squeeze users, the quality of Squeeze's deinterlacing filters prior to version 5.1 was subpar. If you knew about the problem, you could deinterlace in your editor when producing an intermediate file and avoid the problem. Otherwise, your overall quality was potentially degraded by jaggies like that shown in Figure 1.

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.