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Old Nov 4, 2011, 06:02 PM   #1
nateo200
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Compressor vs Handbrake.

How much better is compressor? I mean it obviously has more features and integration with Final Cut Pro but it pretty much eats all my RAM, rapes my CPU and takes forever for even 5 minute clips...is there any real quality difference between exporting to H.264 and compressing with Handbrake vs clicking send to compressor? Exporting with Compressor now and my mac is slow as ever...
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Old Nov 4, 2011, 08:35 PM   #2
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What are your hardware specs?
Did you set up Qmaster? How many cores did you give to Qmaster. Not more cores (virtual cores included) than half your RAM - i.e. if you have 4 GB RAM, you shouldn't give Compressor more than 2 cores to work with.
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Old Nov 4, 2011, 08:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by cgbier View Post
What are your hardware specs?
Did you set up Qmaster? How many cores did you give to Qmaster. Not more cores (virtual cores included) than half your RAM - i.e. if you have 4 GB RAM, you shouldn't give Compressor more than 2 cores to work with.
Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro 13" 2010, 6GB RAM, dual internal 250gb HDD's but I use a stiped RAID array as a stractch disk.
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Old Nov 4, 2011, 11:19 PM   #4
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You shouldn't have any problems with Compressor on your machine. I cut a 30 sec. commercial on an 2009 C2D (2.53GHz) yesterday. Export from FCP X via Compressor 4 to a 5 mbps h.264 took less than 3 minutes.

Handbrake is a bit faster with a worse quality (IMHO) than Compressor, but Compressor hangs some now and then. Deleting and restarting the batch helps in most instances.
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Old Nov 5, 2011, 09:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nateo200 View Post
How much better is compressor? I mean it obviously has more features and integration with Final Cut Pro but it pretty much eats all my RAM, rapes my CPU and takes forever for even 5 minute clips...is there any real quality difference between exporting to H.264 and compressing with Handbrake vs clicking send to compressor? Exporting with Compressor now and my mac is slow as ever...
Never send a movie from Final Cut directly to Compressor. Always render a Quicktime file first and then submit the Quicktime file to Compressor.
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Old Nov 5, 2011, 10:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by careypo View Post
Never send a movie from Final Cut directly to Compressor. Always render a Quicktime file first and then submit the Quicktime file to Compressor.
+1

Compressor seems to crawl through encodes that are sent directly from FCP - Plus it forces you to keep FCP open until the job is finished rendering. Export a self contained movie first.

As far as compressor vs handbrake, for H.264 encodes you probably won't see too much of a quality difference. Where compressor is going to excel is in its variety of encode options and the ability to easily queue up multiple clips and multiple destinations/formats at once.
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Old Nov 5, 2011, 10:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by careypo View Post
Never send a movie from Final Cut directly to Compressor. Always render a Quicktime file first and then submit the Quicktime file to Compressor.
A simple export to a reference movie is sufficient (and only takes a minute or two). No need really render.

I know what you mean, but many people don't.
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Old Nov 5, 2011, 11:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by careypo View Post
Never send a movie from Final Cut directly to Compressor. Always render a Quicktime file first and then submit the Quicktime file to Compressor.
Ok that makes more sense. I always make a ProRes 422 LT copy so I can save allot of time doing it this way.
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Old Nov 5, 2011, 03:05 PM   #9
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Image quality will almost always be superior in Handbrake (it uses x264), but it's limited in terms of input codecs, doesn't work with timecode and has no options for colour space conversion or tagging.
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Old Nov 6, 2011, 12:27 AM   #10
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At low to moderate bitrates Handbrake will definitely produce better quality than Compressor and Handbrake is faster too (go figure). However, you may find that Compressor's H.264 output is a little bit more compatible with Apple's hardware products than Handbrake (but many use Handbrake without problems, so YMMV).

However, if you are doing relatively high-bit-rate encodes (let's say above 2Mbps for standard definition output) then I'd probably stick with Compressor since you're likely to see little difference in the relative quality of the output. The only exception to this "rule" is if you need to do any deinterlacing, in which case I'd stick with Handbrake's decomb filter which is much, MUCH, MUCH faster than anything of equal quality from Compressor (in fact, in terms of basic quality, Handbrake's decomb/deinterlace will typically exceed anything you can do in Compressor). That's not to say that you can't get good quality deinterlacing and rate conversion from Compressor, it's just that you may find that Handbrake will work with a much wider variety of cadences and sources (for deinterlacing).

Last edited by fpnc; Nov 6, 2011 at 12:34 AM.
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Old Nov 6, 2011, 12:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erendiox View Post
Compressor seems to crawl through encodes that are sent directly from FCP - Plus it forces you to keep FCP open until the job is finished rendering. Export a self contained movie first.
Is this for a previous version of Final Cut because I am able to quit Final Cut after sending a job to Compressor 4 ?
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Old Nov 6, 2011, 04:39 PM   #12
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It was introduced with FCP7 - Send to Compressor or Share with Compressor. One of these options allow you to close FCP or keep on editing.

Don't know which option right now, as I never upgraded to 7.
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Old Aug 26, 2012, 01:35 AM   #13
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Gonna update here...

So I'm gonna update now since in the past year I've done ALLOT of encodes with both Handbrake and Compressor to really compare. From things like AVCHD and Blu-ray authoring (where Compressor is the safest for compatibility) to Blu-ray back up and re-compression (where Handbrake offers superior and advanced settings with its x264 encoder)

Compressor struggles with lower bit rate content as its limited to 4 (or 3) reference frames...at least in most of the H.264 encoders especially the Blu-ray preset as Blu-ray does NOT allow more than 4 ref frames and a ton of other advanced features the x264 encoder has to improve image quality at very low bit rates. Generally Compressor works well for making ultra high quality Blu-rays...I'm always very impressed with my results using compressor. I make videos and my original raw video files are H.264 files anywhere from 50mbps to 100mbps from an HD DSLR....working in an uncompressed workflow tell the re-encode for the Blu-ray I find the image quality to be very good. So for making serious high quality content for professional use Compressor is the way to go, and it seams as though Apple has pushed that pretty good.

Now for Handbrake I'm even MORE impressed, not by quality in general but quality at bit rates less than 1/8th of that of a Blu-ray movie. I took The Expendables and Super 8; both remarkably impressive AVC encodes on Blu-ray 50GB discs by all reviews and accounts and encoded them down to 3.5mbps with Handbrake. I used 4 ref frames but set up all of Handbrakes advanced settings like Subpixel Motion Estimization at level 9 or 10 (which from my experience is a big jump from levels 7 and 8), set up uneven-multihexagonal motion detection which is ridiculously slow, and slows things down by double if not more, 8x8 Transform which improves image quality by at least 7-20%, set B-frames to optimal and lastly set psychovisual rate distortion and adaptive quantization to 1.3 for each...While the encode took some 11 hours for each movie on my MacBook Pro (see my machine specs below) the space savings were worth it in the end...people say more memory is cheap but I'm a broke college student who needs every little saving and can fill ANY size hard drive up

When the BD Rip encodes were finished I was shocked at how detailed the encodes were! They were only 720p but my videophile eye could not tell the difference between the master and the 3.5mbps encodes I had just made on my MacBooks 720p screen...even on my 46" LED the differences were minuscule. Film grain was preserved entirely, contrast was solid and blacks were proper and the infamous blotchiness I notice in low bit rate encodes on dark areas or areas like the sky were not present like I would have expected. 29GB's~ each (for the main feature) down to 3.1gigs each is great as my movie hard drive is unfortunately only 160gigs for now.....Now the DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD files were almost bigger than the movies so I converted them both to DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 as both movies were 7.1 lossless tracks but I wanted to preserve the excellent audio mix as best as I could. Then I threw them onto DVD5's and now I can play them via my macs DVD drive (although they currently reside on my mac because they are my favorites) or on my Panny Blu-ray player (although I have a USB BD burner, I use it for burning and ripping only).
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