Media Encoder Vs Compressor - 4x speed increase ??? WTF

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Magrathea, May 18, 2012.

  1. Magrathea macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2008
    I have a 2012 Mac Mini with an i7 processor / AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256 MB and needed to transcode a video from 1080p60i to a smaller size. I started off with compressor and it told me it was going to take 4 hours. I did not deinterlace the video + one pass so as to make the encode time quicker. I then decided to see how long Media Encoder CS5.5 would take, also about 4 hours.

    I then made a copy of the preferences file from media encoder and moved the footage over to a MBP 2010 with a measly 330m GT graphic card, also dual core I7 same speed. To my surprise it said it was going to take 2 hours! Ok same processor and worse graphics card and half the time, ok that works for me.

    Now here the kicker, I have a horrid i5 Lenovo laptop that I seldom use, the trackpad is soooo bad but she's a great machine for the price and sometime you have to go over the the dark side. I decided to run my little experiment with Media Encoder CS5.5 and the same footage on this machine, it has a 512Mb 310M Gt card and low and behold it took 50 mins!! And it's a blinking i5 processor.

    So how come my mini is so slow compared to the MBP and why, oh why is the i5 4x quicker. I am not aware that CUDA works for encoding at all in Media Encoder 5.5 so what is going on here????
  2. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    Were your settings 100% the same for all tests? ie. one pass vs 2 pass? same bitrate etc..? Changes in settings can make a massive difference.
  3. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    All I can say is compressor is ridiculously slow....they haven't really updated it at all...its still 32bit. I'm so glad Handbrake can encode from ProRes now as its the fastest! I usually output my big ass pro res file then encode a 720p H.264 file @ 2000kbps just to sample it while Compressor takes 999999 hours to create H.264 for Blu-ray...
  4. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    nateo200, that's (use Handbrake on the ProRes export) what I do too. I've experimented with Compressor vs. Media Encoder 5.5 vs. Handbrake and Handbrake is THE way to go.
  5. Kevin Monahan macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2011
  6. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
  7. Magrathea thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2008
    Ok, I just realized that my Lenovo was for some reason not encoding the video but actually just the audio so it did in fact say it was going to take 6 hours to encode the file on the i5 processor. ( I didn't have quicktime installed on win doze 7 so it got messed up some how, very strange)

    I'm still wondering how the laptop is quicker by 2x than the mini, the only difference apart from the graphics card is the OS, laptop is with Snow Leopard and mini is Lion so perhaps that's the problem?
  8. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
  9. Magrathea thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2008
    Handbreak although clunky is indeed faster. Says it's going to be done in 2h vs 5-6 for compressor. It may even be de-interlacing the video too? I'm not sure how to access the de-interlacing setting in Handbrake.

    I really need a min of a quad core I think for long form encoding - the item being encoded is 1h17m in duration so for normal videos I guess I can wait.

    (I recorded a video for a buddy with my go pro and it was 5 hours long! I recall ending up with a very long encode time)
  10. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone)

    Of course if you set up Compressor / Qmaster properly (ie not the default settings) you may see 2x or better speeds.
  11. Magrathea thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2008
    I am using FCPx and the latest version of compressor so it uses all the cores, unlike the previous version but show me how to get better performance. It blow s my mind that of the tens of thousands of employees at Apple there isn't a single one of them who can get Compressor to use the GPU to do the encoding?
  12. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    It has been a sad fact that Apple's own compression speeds tend to be the slowest around.
  13. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    The CS6 uses the Main Concept (mc) H.264 encoder (slow, low quality). AFAIK Sorenson Squeeze uses the same encoder.

    x264 is much better.

    I use either x264 (from the Terminal), HandBrake (uses also x264) on Mac OS X or MeGUI on Windows. Best quality, if you use the correct settings (i never use the default presets).

    My HandBrake "x264 Advanced Option String" for 29.97 fps (on a Quad Core MBP):
    Target: Two pass encoding for H.264 level 4.1 media players. Bitrate calculation:
    For example:
    bitrate=6836 kBit/s
  14. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    Only thing I like about Compressor's H264 vs Handbrake is the quality is superb with the Blu-ray H.264 preset vs Handbrake at similar bit rates. I like how in Compressor you set an Average bit rate and then a max, I've played back my videos with a bit rate monitor and I feel like Compressor's variable bit rate encodes jump around more when needed...not saying Handbrake is bad but I'd like to set a max bit rate of maybe 30mbps with whatever average I want so I know that whatever I'm encoding has space to jump to very high bit rates during certain scene's with allot of motion (though Multi-uneven hexagon setting in x264 in Handbrake makes a worlds difference!).

    Not sure if your talking about just FCP X using all the cores but Compressor 4 is still 32bit meaning it won't use both cores like FCP X does and can't access all your RAM, I think 32-bit max's out at 4GB which I guess is fine since lots and lots of RAM isn't always needed for encoding but I do personally have 8gigs at my disposal.
  15. ecore01, Oct 1, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012

    ecore01 macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2012
    Batch Convert video the most professional, fastest and cheapest way: MPEG Streamclip

    there is a great solution for this,

    it's extremely fast (4 simultanious conversions, extremely large batch lists, click & run immediatly)

    and best of all:


    where I came from
    I needed to batch convert Canon 5D footage (33GB!) to Apple Pro Ress 422, didn't work at all:

    Compressor didn't work, took me days, didn't respond, terrible, Apple ruined it.

    Quicktime 7 Pro opening it by hand, one by one, worked pretty fast though, but no batch functionality, not going to do the hand job...
    But there should be something possible one might think if the handjob is faster than the batch job.

    Adobe Media Encoder crashed with such large amounts of data, no go eather.

    But MPEG StreamClip did it for me, even better, faster, more settings, cropping, de-interlacing, audio-settings, all the things you need. You even can repair your Time Code. I use StreamClip since the beginning. Works flawless on Apple & Windows:

    download it here:

    It's worth sending the maker money, food, drinks & flowers since he did a job for free that Apple couldn't come up with. Please reward this guy! This works for me since the very beginning.

    MPEG StreamClip needs to be in every filmmakers toolbox.

    system info:

    MacBook Pro

    17-inch, Mid 2010

    Processor 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7

    Memory 8 GB 1067 MHz DDR3

    Graphics Intel HD Graphics 288 MB

    Software Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5 (11G56)

    Final Cut Pro 7 latest update

    MPEG Streamclip: Version 1.9.2 (1.9.2)

    Converting 33GB of Canon 5D DSLR footage to Apple ProRess 422 took me about 2 hours.

    Problem solved.
  16. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    Yes MPEG Stream clip is installed on every mac that needs to do transcoding. I love the little program. I transcode all my Canon DSLR video to ProRes 422 BEFORE editing that way my mac doesn't choke on the video before I touch it! Only transcoding I have to do then is changes I've made with color correction and VFX which is obviously less than converting all the footage from H.264 to ProRes 422. MPEG stream clip flys through the footage transcoding too...its sorta amazing considering the software is only 32-bit as well. I can even transcode some proprietary codecs with the right plugins too. I transcoded from REDCODE to ProRes 4444 once.
  17. mediacomposer macrumors newbie


    Jun 21, 2010
    Boston, MA
    I'd also check to see where your keyframes are at... I make sure they're every frame...

Share This Page