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Alternative to Handbrake wanted.

jwar1976

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 29, 2019
144
60
Norwich
Hi all,

I got my 2015 MacBook Pro today and am really enjoying using it. However I have discovered when using handbrake, despite it being a 5th Gen i5, it is slower to encode than my 3rd Gen i5 on my probook, I take it this is because of the lack of Intel Quicksync being allowed to be used on the MacBook Pro ?.

Anyhow I was wondering if there were any alternative video encoders which can be used on the MacBook Pro, which will allow me to encode from say a 12gb 1080p MKV File, to a lower sized MP4 File ?. Or maybe perhaps than quicksync can be enabled via source code, or by installing boot camp onto the MBP and having handbrake through Windows.

Any help or advice would be appreciated

Many thanks
 

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
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I don't know anything about the source of Handbrake, but QuickSync can be used on macOS; and in fact, Final Cut Pro uses QuickSync.

I would imagine that what you want can be achieved with FFMPEG.
 
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Ritsuka

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2006
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You are probably using different settings. You can either select a faster encoder tune, disable decomb and interlace detection if your video is not interlaced. Or switch to H.264 (VideoToolbox) and use QuickSync, but quality won't be as good as when using x264 encoder.
 
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treekram

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2015
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My understanding of QuickSync on the Mac is that the ability to use it is limited in macOS. So it's not a direct option in HandBrake for the Mac and from the documents I see on the web, it's also not available in the macOS version of ffmpeg. If it's available as part of the H.264 (VideoToolbox) as the previous poster says, you don't have the ability to control the "Quality" parameter.

I haven't done testing with the H.264 (VideoToolbox), but I have done some (60+ videos) for the H.265 (VideoToolbox), which is only available on Macs with the T2 chip. Without the ability to control the Quality parameter, for the H.265 (VideoToolbox), the fidelity to the original video (quality) was overall slightly better than the "Fast" default setting using the software x265 encoder, but the compression is bad so much so that really, the H.265 (VideoToolbox) was pretty much useless for the videos I wanted to compress. (I have yet to test the latest version of HandBrake - 1.2.2.) So if the H.264 (VideoToolbox) works the same way (you'd have to test it with the type of videos you want to compress), it might be faster but for no good purpose. Maybe FCP uses QuickSync features that Apple does not choose to make available to other developers on macOS - I don't know.
 

Ritsuka

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2006
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Welcome to the wonderful world of hardware encoders :)
The HEVC hardware encoder is available on recent intel cpus too, you don't need the T2 chip. It's a different encoder thou, so you will have a different result.

Apple uses the same encoder. But FCP default bitrate is so high you won't notice too many artifacts.
 
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treekram

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2015
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Welcome to the wonderful world of hardware encoders :)
The HEVC hardware encoder is available on recent intel cpus too, you don't need the T2 chip. It's a different encoder thou, so you will have a different result.

Apple uses the same encoder. But FCP default bitrate is so high you won't notice too many artifacts.

Interesting - it would be good to know what hardware it's using when using the VideoToolbox - do you know if that's documented?

For the OP, one solution would be to run Windows on the Mac for doing video transcoding if the use of QuickSync that was there with the older computer is supported when using Windows on the Mac.
 
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casperes1996

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Jan 26, 2014
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I haven't done testing with the H.264 (VideoToolbox), but I have done some (60+ videos) for the H.265 (VideoToolbox), which is only available on Macs with the T2 chip. Without the ability to control the Quality parameter, for the H.265 (VideoToolbox), the fidelity to the original video (quality) was overall slightly better than the "Fast" default setting using the software x265 encoder, but the compression is bad so much so that really, the H.265 (VideoToolbox) was pretty much useless for the videos I wanted to compress. (I have yet to test the latest version of HandBrake - 1.2.2.) So if the H.264 (VideoToolbox) works the same way (you'd have to test it with the type of videos you want to compress), it might be faster but for no good purpose. Maybe FCP uses QuickSync features that Apple does not choose to make available to other developers on macOS - I don't know.


Hm. Fascinating. I've never looked into developing software utilising QuickSync. I assumed it to be publicly available since FCP uses it, and there'd be no reason to make it a private Apple-only feature. In fact, only reasons against since it'd make the platform as a whole seem less capable than competitors.

I just did some research, and it does seem like the API for QuickSync is public.
https://software.intel.com/en-us/forums/intel-media-sdk/topic/531632


"I am using MacX Videoconverter Pro from the App Store and it has an Quicksync option, which really makes it much faster and does consume less CPU power, so the MBA 13 i7 is still usable well while converting"
From:
https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/220177/intel-quicksync-on-osx
 

jwar1976

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 29, 2019
144
60
Norwich
Thanks for the replies everyone, once again, so much useful information. I will take a look at the recommendations and see how I get on with them. In the next couple of months, I will be building up a i7-8th gen tower, which will be my main photo editing and video encoding machine, but as I am currently away from home quite a bit, I thought I would put the MBP to good use.

I have just installed Windows 10 via boot camp and have tried Handbrake, but there isn’t much difference to that of the one on Mac OS, so will be trying the other recommendations of software.

Thanks again to all that have advised, once I have got to grips with the software, I will post results, in case it helps others.
 

treekram

macrumors 68000
Nov 9, 2015
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Honolulu HI
Hm. Fascinating. I've never looked into developing software utilising QuickSync. I assumed it to be publicly available since FCP uses it, and there'd be no reason to make it a private Apple-only feature. In fact, only reasons against since it'd make the platform as a whole seem less capable than competitors.

I just did some research, and it does seem like the API for QuickSync is public.
https://software.intel.com/en-us/forums/intel-media-sdk/topic/531632


"I am using MacX Videoconverter Pro from the App Store and it has an Quicksync option, which really makes it much faster and does consume less CPU power, so the MBA 13 i7 is still usable well while converting"
From:
https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/220177/intel-quicksync-on-osx

The issue seems to be not that you can't get QuickSync on macOS, but that it's limited. Supposedly that's why HandBrake and ffmpeg don't include them in their Mac versions. So in the first link from Intel (from 2014), Intel says you have to go through the Apple API's to use QuickSync. Ideally, you should be able to get the full QuickSync feature set that you have on Windows on macOS. But that doesn't not seem to be the case. Even on Linux, the ffmpeg folks say the feature set is limited.
https://trac.ffmpeg.org/wiki/HWAccelIntro
(search the document for "libmfx")

Thanks for the replies everyone, once again, so much useful information. I will take a look at the recommendations and see how I get on with them. In the next couple of months, I will be building up a i7-8th gen tower, which will be my main photo editing and video encoding machine, but as I am currently away from home quite a bit, I thought I would put the MBP to good use.

I have just installed Windows 10 via boot camp and have tried Handbrake, but there isn’t much difference to that of the one on Mac OS, so will be trying the other recommendations of software.

Thanks again to all that have advised, once I have got to grips with the software, I will post results, in case it helps others.

That's unfortunate but it's good to know.
 

Dimwhit

macrumors 68000
Apr 10, 2007
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FF Works (www.ffworks.net). I looked for a while for a Handbrake replacement, and ffworks is absolutely fantastic. It's not free, but it's worth every penny. It uses FFMPEG and guides you through installing it. The conversions are fast, and my favorite feature is that it very quickly does passthrough conversion to just wrap a different container around the file if you're ok with whatever audio/video settings are already in the file. Seriously, it's worth it.
 

Ritsuka

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2006
1,184
674
There is so much disinformation in this thread…

First, you can use QuickSync on macOS, via VideoToolbox, it's a bit limited (no quality based option) but it works the same as on Windows. And you can use it in HandBrake.

Second, all those applications uses the same encoders (x264, x265, etc…) so the only speed different is caused by the different settings you use.

The "app x is faster than app y" is simply wrong.
 

jwar1976

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 29, 2019
144
60
Norwich
I am currently trying out MacX & IVl, and trying out different profiles to keep resolution but have highest compression. When I used to use handbrake, I used to have a variable bit rate of 1880, on MKV files that were 1080p. All files are played back either on my iPad or my TV via Kodi on a Firestick. I will also take a look at this video toolbox.
 

jwar1976

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 29, 2019
144
60
Norwich

Wow that does look like a great program. I done a high quality encode on MacX earlier, but that only knocked a 8gb file down to 5gb. So then tried that 8gb file on Handbrake and was amazed that it was giving me on average 55fps, so only took around 70 minutes to squash it down to 1.7gb, without any loss of quality.

However when I tried Handbrake again on a different MKV file of a slightly larger size of 11gb, it only gave me on average 30fps and it took about 3.5hrs to squash down to 2.2gb. As almost 100% of my files are 1080p MKV, it would be great if I can continue to compress down to a fraction of the size, without any loss of quality & also without it taking hours to do, especially as my Synology is gradually getting full.

I will take a look at the FF Works and see how much compression I am able to get without loss of quality.

Thanks again for the information.
 

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
5,532
3,336
Horsens, Denmark
The issue seems to be not that you can't get QuickSync on macOS, but that it's limited. Supposedly that's why HandBrake and ffmpeg don't include them in their Mac versions. So in the first link from Intel (from 2014), Intel says you have to go through the Apple API's to use QuickSync. Ideally, you should be able to get the full QuickSync feature set that you have on Windows on macOS. But that doesn't not seem to be the case. Even on Linux, the ffmpeg folks say the feature set is limited.

Right. Thanks for the reference.
I read Apple's APIs for this a bit (not super thoroughly). It's clear that you don't access QuickSync directly in any way whatsoever, but if it weren't restrictive, Apple's approach would be brillant. It's a generalised encode-accelerator that automatically uses appropriate hardware accelerators for chosen settings. - Again, a shame if it's limited in when it's possible to get it to use QS compared to the Windows APIs from Intel, but it's a cool approach regardlelss.

Second, all those applications uses the same encoders (x264, x265, etc…) so the only speed different is caused by the different settings you use.

The "app x is faster than app y" is simply wrong.

And you added a bit to the misinformation :)

A codec is not the same as an encoder. The programs may be encoding with the x.264 codec, yes, but the encoder is the program that arranges the data to conform to the codec, and you can write that algorithm in many different ways, whilst still ending up with a file that conforms to the codec you chose in the end. Now if all the apps used the same encoder that'd be a different story; Like FFMpeg or whatnot; But I'm not convinced they do. An h.264 file encoded with QuickTime, with identical settings to one encoded with FFMpeg could have different time or space complexity for the output whilst delivering the same result in the end.
 

Ritsuka

macrumors 65816
Sep 3, 2006
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x264 is an encoder, the format is h.264. So much for correcting my post… and I was talking about free or almost free software. A small developer won’t write a new encoder, they don’t have the resources.
QuickTime is know to have a terrible h.264 encoder anyway.
 

casperes1996

macrumors 603
Jan 26, 2014
5,532
3,336
Horsens, Denmark
x264 is an encoder, the format is h.264. So much for correcting my post… and I was talking about free or almost free software. A small developer won’t write a new encoder, they don’t have the resources.
QuickTime is know to have a terrible h.264 encoder anyway.

I stand corrected with respect to x.264. I always just viewed x.264 and h.264 as synonyms without really knowing why there were two names for it, but I now see that x.264 is a VideoLAN encodder. So sorry for the incorrect correction.

I wouldn't say QT's encoder is terrible, but it's not something I'd use professionally. But there's also Apple's ProVideoEncoder used in Final Cut and Compressor. The point I was making was, however, just that different pieces of software can indeed have different characteristics performance wise even with the same codec as output.

And you're right that FOSS (and most comercial software for that matter too) won't go out of their way to develop their own encoder when perfectly good options already exist. - But there's more than one to pick from as well.
 

silverlakerCA

macrumors newbie
May 2, 2020
25
2
FF Works (www.ffworks.net). I looked for a while for a Handbrake replacement, and ffworks is absolutely fantastic. It's not free, but it's worth every penny. It uses FFMPEG and guides you through installing it. The conversions are fast, and my favorite feature is that it very quickly does passthrough conversion to just wrap a different container around the file if you're ok with whatever audio/video settings are already in the file. Seriously, it's worth it.

I just downloaded and purchases FFWorks. I could use your help... want to convert .mp4 files and be able to put them onto iPad and play via airplay to TV. I have three documentaries I have to screen, downloaded them onto my desktop but can't figure out how to get it onto my ipad.
 

jlc1978

macrumors 68030
Aug 14, 2009
2,860
1,171
I just downloaded and purchases FFWorks. I could use your help... want to convert .mp4 files and be able to put them onto iPad and play via airplay to TV. I have three documentaries I have to screen, downloaded them onto my desktop but can't figure out how to get it onto my ipad.
The iPad should play the MP4 just fine; no need to convert. I use inFuse as my player of choice. If you are using Catalina you can share the files. I haven't tried Airdrop but am guessing it would work as well.

 

travelsheep

macrumors 6502a
May 30, 2013
682
693
No mention of Apple Compressor? I use it all the time instead of Handbrake. In fact, the only reason I switched is because (accidentally) I discovered that Compressor is a lot faster and doesn't even start the fan on my MacBook Pro 2018.
 
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