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Old 10-21-2007, 12:51 AM   #1
Jeff Bellune
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Default ProCoder vs. Squeeze

Hi all,

I am currently evaluating the demos of Sorenson Squeeze 4.5 and ProCoder 1.25.

So far, the quality results of my QuickTime encodes and my MPEG-2 DVD encodes have Squeeze far out in front in terms of color fidelity, saturation and overall video quality. Please be assured that my comparisons were done with both basic and advanced settings in each application as closely matched as possible. And, to my surprise, Squeeze wasn't very far behind in encoding speed.

I know it's not really fair to draw too many conclusions by comparing 2002 encoding technology (ProCoder 1.25) with 2007 encoding technology (Squeeze 4.5), so I am here to ask a few questions.

1. The ability to set keyframes based on scene changes and to set the sensitivity of scene change detection, as well setting a constant keyframe interval, is available for several codecs in Squeeze. I didn't find as many options for setting keyframes in the ProCoder demo. Has this improved in ProCoder 3?

2. AFAIK, Squeeze uses the MainConcept MPEG encoding engine. ProCoder's MPEG encoding engine is supposed to be superior, but that wasn't the case using the demo version using DVD-compliant settings. Is the MPEG encoding in ProCoder 3 significantly better than in the demo?

3. Related to question 2: How deep into the quality settings should I have to get before ProCoder's MPEG2 DVD encoding is expected to be superior to Squeeze's? Do I have to go all the way to Mastering? Or is low-bitrate, high-motion encoding quality the only real advantage that ProCoder has?

4. Squeeze has the Sorenson Video 3 Pro codec available, ProCoder has only the Basic version of the codec available. Has this changed in ProCoder 3?

5. Squeeze has the ability to set a max file size for output, which lets the encoder make the necessary data rate and keyframe decisions to meet the target file size. Can ProCoder 3 do anything similar?

6. Squeeze uses the On2 VP6 Pro Flash codec - is this available for ProCoder 3 via update, upgrade, add-on or plug-in?

Thanks for any insight,

-Jeff
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Old 10-21-2007, 05:42 AM   #2
pjsssss
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Interesting...that is almost the exact opposite of what I have read. Usually Squeeze encoding time is quicker and Procoders quality is slightly better.
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Old 10-21-2007, 07:26 AM   #3
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It depends on the source and taget formats. For instance, HD AVI's to HD Mpeg 2, Squeeze beats ProCoder 3 hands down.
Also worth noting that in some Mpeg 2 circumstances ProCoder 2 is a lot faster than ProCoder 3, possibly due to some fixes that were requested in version 2.

On the Flash output to ON2VP6- NO it's not possible with ProCoder 3 but you can use the very inferior Flash 7 output if you wish.
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Old 10-21-2007, 02:48 PM   #4
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In my experience Sorenson's Flash quality is far superior to Procoder 3, but Procoder's MPEG2 mastering quality is superior to anything Sorenson 4.5 can produce. I use both Procoder 3 and Sorenson 4.5.
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Old 10-21-2007, 05:08 PM   #5
Jeff Bellune
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsn108 View Post
I use both Procoder 3 and Sorenson 4.5.
That's the solution I would like to use, unfortunately client demand doesn't yet justify the additional expense. For now, I have to choose. :-)

Thanks for the responses so far. Please keep those answers and opinions coming.

-Jeff
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Old 10-25-2007, 01:44 AM   #6
Jeff Bellune
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I decided to purchase Squeeze.

I really, really wanted to prefer PC3, but I couldn't. I like the PC interface better, I like that it puts the source/input file's properties right out there for me to see, and I like the idea of mastering-quality mpeg2 encoding (caveat below). The NTSC --> PAL conversion tool is a plus, too (if/when I ever need it).

But the negatives outweighed the positives.

1. OOB, and with minor tweaking, the Squeeze conversions looked better. Maybe with more intense tweaking in both PC and in my playback software I could have reversed that, but why go to the trouble when Squeeze makes it easier?

2. I could compare QT and MPEG2 conversions side-by-side. Squeeze won. Squeeze's H.264 conversions looked good, too, but I couldn't put them up against PC3 using the demo of PC. Squeeze already has a leg up with Flash. On2 makes a plug-in for Flash export that is available for QT-aware apps like PC2, but the demo didn't recognize it and I don't know if it would work with PC3. Generally, PC's demo didn't let me get my hands on enough formats to make a solid comparison with Squeeze.

3. I use Adobe's Production Premium CS3. Too many users in the Adobe forums have reported problems with PC MPEG2 files in Encore for me to be confident about how CS3 will get along with PC3's MPEGs. That's another reason I wanted to get my hands on a PC3 encoded MPEG - to test it in Encore.

Overall, I did like ProCoder, and the UI is hands-down better than Squeeze. But I trust Squeeze's output because I could test it from the latest version. A decision to go with ProCoder would have been a leap of faith - one that I'm not yet ready to take.

-Jeff
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Old 10-25-2007, 01:51 AM   #7
GrassValley_BH
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Hi Jeff,

A very fair assessment. You need to choose the tool that's best for the job at hand, and this time it was Squeeze. I hope you keep us in mind for future things though!
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Old 10-25-2007, 02:22 AM   #8
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I haven't had any problems with ProCoder 3 Mpeg files coming into Encore CS3.
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Old 10-25-2007, 06:10 AM   #9
Jeff Bellune
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Hi Brandon,

I will definitely keep my eye on ProCoder. :-)

If the powers-that-be at GV are considering whether or not to make PC3 available as a demo (or even PC2), I hope my Update post will help convince them to go ahead and do it.

@shueardm,

Thanks for the input. I'm sure there are tons of folks who have no trouble at all with PC mpegs in Encore. But there have been enough people reporting problems with PC mpegs to make me worried enough to want to test on my system.

Regards,
-Jeff
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Old 10-25-2007, 01:37 PM   #10
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Just read about the arrival of SONIC Cinevision SD for DVD encoding. THAT would be wild to play with. ($1999 AU RRP)
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