Speed up encoding

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by waloshin, May 11, 2017.

  1. waloshin macrumors 68040

    waloshin

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    #1
    My system is a
    Intel i7 7700
    16 GB 2400 MHz ddr4
    Asus R9 280X 3 GB
    2.5" laptop 1 TB hard drive
    Premiere pro cs6
    Matrox MX02 Mini max

    Capturing 3.5 hours of VHS in Mpeg2 i-frame 25 Mbps.

    Encoding takes 2 hours. This seems way too slow to be profitable if converting VHS over to digital.

    Any way to significantly speed up the encoding speed?
     
  2. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #2
    Capturing from tape can only take place in real time, IOW 3.5 hr of tape takes 3.5 hr to capture. By "2 hours" do you mean after the capture, you export or transcode that and it takes another 2 hr?
     
  3. flyinmac macrumors 68030

    flyinmac

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    United States
    #3
    I would caution you to remember that VHS is not high definition.

    You cannot speed up your capture time (unless you have specialized equipment that can capture a tape running faster).

    But, you also cannot replace video definition or quality that was never there to begin with. So be sure you are not trying to encode your capture video to High Definition.

    Your output quality would ideally be set only marginally better than your input source (to prevent further degradation, but reduce wasting resources by encoding at a quality level that will never be there).

    Likewise with digital. For example, if your source is 480p, all you're doing is wasting CPU time and drive space to try to reencode the file at 1080p. The 1080p version will be visually the same quality as its original 480p source, but it will take up more processing time and drive space.
     
  4. aarond12 macrumors 65816

    aarond12

    Joined:
    May 20, 2002
    Location:
    Dallas, TX USA
    #4
    Flyinmac is right. I looked up your capture device, the Matrox MX02 Mini Max, and it is a high-definition capture device with component and HDMI inputs. While that is a very nice capture device, it is overkill for VHS or other standard-definition sources.

    As joema2 said, the initial capture can only be done in real-time. A 2 hour VHS tape will take 2 hours to capture. Once captured (assuming your software won't do real-time conversion), you can use an application such as FFMPEG (available on all platforms) to convert it to your ideal format. FFMPEG will take full advantage of your very powerful CPU and will probably transcode your standard-definition video at 10x speed.

    Some capture software will transcode during capture. You may want to look into using different capture software or explore the options available in your capture software.

    When I capture VHS tapes, I use a Sony DVMC-DA2 capture device. It's standard definition and captures in DV format. This format edits very easily and transcodes very quickly.
     
  5. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #5
    Import as answered above. Export to perhaps ProRes format. Then, queue up your ProRes exports before you go to bed in Handbrake and let it do the crunching of them into MP4 files. It may still take a few hours to render the final but you can let your computer do that work while you are asleep.

    Else, there is dedicated hardware for VHS to digital. For example, VHS to DVD equipment. Consider doing that to leave the computer/computing out of the equation.

    Third option is outsource it. There are plenty of shops that will take old video and do the conversions to digital for you. If you want to edit the footage, send your tapes in with a hard drive and have them convert them to Pro Res for you. Then work with the ProRes files for your editing step, export as ProRes, then let Handbrake render for you while you sleep. You reference "profitable" so I'm guessing you are trying to sell this particular service. If so, perhaps outsource that part of the service and price your part accordingly (so you can make a profit). If you shop around, you may be able to find a shop that will do the whole job for you for $X, and then you mark up $X to get your profit.
     
  6. flyinmac macrumors 68030

    flyinmac

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Location:
    United States
    #6
    It is important to remember that each export / conversion or encoding / reencoding of a particular video will further degrade its quality. So ideally it would go straight from source to destination format.

    A generally good explanation is here:

    https://www.howtogeek.com/142174/wh...e-why-you-shouldnt-convert-lossy-to-lossless/

    While that site focuses more on audio and picture files, the general theory applies to video as well (perhaps to an even greater perceivable level).
     
  7. waloshin thread starter macrumors 68040

    waloshin

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    #7
    I am aware that VHS transferring is real time, but yes to encode afterwards for saving takes around 2 hours at 25 Mb/s though I have dropped it down to 15 Mb/s which has cut the time down to 1 hour.

    aarond12

    The MX02 Mini also has S-Video in through the component.
     
  8. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #8
    What codec are you encoding to? If it is a long-GOP format like H264, that is inherently serialized and CPU-bound, so cannot be accelerated by GPU methods. Adobe Premiere Pro doesn't use Quick Sync on Macs, so (unassisted) it will encode at about 1/4 the speed of FCPX.

    The Matrox MX02 supposedly uses hardware-accelerated encoding, IOW it's a proprietary vendor-specific technology similar to Quick Sync. If your encoding is slow, I'd query other MX02 users on Macs to find out what their typical encoding times are, and whether any driver updates or Matrox config options could improve this.
     
  9. waloshin thread starter macrumors 68040

    waloshin

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    #9
    I encode to mpeg 2 i-frame
     
  10. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #10
    Using FCPX and Apple Compressor on my 2015 iMac 27, I did two test encodes of standard-dev DV material to H264 and to MPEG-2 i-frame at roughly that bit rate.

    Encoding 15 min. of content to H264 took 59 seconds; 3.5 hr of content would take 13 min 46 sec.
    Encoding 15 min. of content to MPEG-2 i-frame took 1 min 39 sec; 3.5 hr of content would take 23 min 6 sec.

    So 2 hr to encode 3.5 hr of similar material does seem a bit long, even for Premiere which is often about 1/4 as fast as FCPX at encoding on the same hardware. I don't know why it's taking that long, but restricting our view to the MPEG-2 conversion times I got, that's a 5.2x difference, roughly what I've observed before when testing Premiere.

    Each conversion pathway is unique and can entail varying computational loads and software efficiencies. There are some uncommon ones where Premiere is faster than FCPX. Your best bet is to test various ones and try to find a faster one. If there is some encode setting that CS6 will do sufficiently fast, it might be quicker in the long run to use that then do the final stage of conversion with Handbrake. Or you might find one that is sufficiently fast by itself, even if the codec or bitrate might be different than you prefer.

    Another alternative is to simply capture the VHS tape to a file then if trimming is required use a specialized "no encode" tool. It is possible to trim or edit the rendered output file without re-encoding it. You'd have to Google those, but they exist and I've used them before. However test it carefully to ensure it doesn't corrupt the file.

    Unfortunately encoding efficiency is rarely documented so it's a matter of trial and error, or asking people with similar hardware/software what their performance is.
     
  11. Gymnut macrumors 68000

    Gymnut

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2003
    #11
    I used the Elgato Video Capture for about 150 VHS tapes that date back from the early 80s to to the mid 2000s and was pretty pleased with the H.264 results. Encoding is done as the deck is playing and at the end of the capture, you can trim the head and tails to clean the start and end.

    In truth, the quality of the deck you're capturing from and the connection interfacing between the deck and computer will probably matter more than the codec since H.264 is pretty good. I was able to find a Panasonic S-VHS deck in our office and connected via S-Video. I wish I had access to a TBC, but there was some basic tracking controls on the deck, and I had very few tapes that were in poor condition(probably due to it being stored in ideal conditions).

    https://www.elgato.com/en/video-capture
     
  12. Acden macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    #12
    It very depends on bitrate. What did you use? In Premiere I'm using H.264 Pal DV, 1-pass VBR 3 to 6 bitrate. And I got the same results as topic-starter.

    I saw interesting feature today: My i7-2600 is 4% loaded drives about 2% while encoding... I didn't understand the bahaviour of Premiere 2017 on Windows. But speed was the same as earlier with 70% of loading of CPU.
     
  13. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #13
    I used 1-pass VBR about 15 mbps to both H.264 and MPEG-2 in FCPX; he used 25 mbps. I've done previous encoding tests using Premiere CC 2017 (on Mac) and it was also a lot slower, although faster than CS6. The main problem is CS6 is not very fast at encoding. It doesn't use Quick Sync, although that's probably not the only reason: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Quick_Sync_Video

    If he only wants to capture the long VHS tapes and chop out the commercials, the fastest way might be using a "no encode" edit utility which directly edits a copy of the file then writes that to disk. I've used several of those and they are finicky but can be very fast. Examples:

    http://www.echeng.com/journal/2016/10/2/trimming-h264-mp4-video-files-without-re-encoding
    http://www.fame-ring.com/smart_cutter.html
     
  14. Acden macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    #14
    What are you talking about? He is capturing VHS, so it is Apple ProRes or .AVI format, NOT h264!!! He should encode in h264 after capturing. There are almost no ways to capture directly in h264, otherway it could finish with frame-drops!


    About Intel QuickSync - what versions of Premiere on Mac and PC uses this feature and what needed to activate it? I have read that they stopped to support this feature in some versions and it needs additional plugin to work. So, how to start using it?
     
  15. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #15
    As you can see, he said he's capturing in MPEG-2 which is a compressed intra-frame codec. Maybe he means it's encoded (not captured) in that format. However as one possibility I interpreted him literally which means it's MPEG-2.

    Another possibility (although he didn't say this) is it's captured in .AVI or ProRes. In that case using a "no encode" editing tool appropriate to that codec could still help, since it avoids the very slow encode performance of CS6. Maybe he could even try iMovie -- if that uses Quick Sync it's probably a lot faster doing the final encode.

    I think only the latest Premiere CC 2017 uses Quick Sync on Windows only, not Mac. You can't control whether it's used -- there is no config parameter for this. The plugin you mentioned was for CS6 Windows only, and I don't think it works in CC and I don't know how well it worked even in CS6. However the OP could consider this if he has Windows -- they have a free eval.: http://tmpgenc.pegasys-inc.com/en/product/tppm4.html
     
  16. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #16
    Back in 2013 I digitized a pile of VHS tapes using a Panasonic AG1980, and the Black Magic Video Recorder (no longer being made).

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...Design_VIDREC_Video_Recorder_USB_Capture.html

    This little device did hardware H.264 conversion. What appeared on my Mac was a .mov file, H.264 and AAC, which immediately played with QT. I edited them with FCPX when I needed to.

    http://www.creativeplanetnetwork.co...eview-blackmagic-design-video-recorder/407079

    I gave mine, and the AG1980, away. Sorry. But surely they are available somewhere like eBay.

    It worked very, very well, and the included software even had an auto stop function, so I could start up a tape and leave it all alone, knowing that I'd have minimal garbage at the end.

    I have the manual as a PDF, but it's too large to attach here. PM me if you'd like to see it, and I'll get it to you somehow.
     
  17. Gymnut macrumors 68000

    Gymnut

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2003
    #17
    Based off his computers specs, he's using a PC so afaik there is no ProRes encoding(only decoding) and .AVI is simply a container. The Elgato Video Capture I linked earlier applies H.264 compression during playback.
     

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