Squeeze vs. Episode vs. Adobe Media Encoder

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by malch, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. malch macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #1
    Hi there,
    I'm stuck. I need to encode various and sundry movies for my web site, and I want the Flash files I create to be the very best they can be.
    I own Squeeze 4, and can upgrade to Squeeze 5 Pro for $250, or buy Episode for about $350 (I think both Squeeze 5 Pro and Episode would give me On2 VP6 capability, if that matters)... or... I can upgrade from Adobe CS3 to CS4 for about $800, which is a LOT of money... but I get a lot of upgraded Adobe apps in the process, including their latest, greatest Flash encoder.

    Is there anyone on this forum who's familiar with all three apps? Would you be so kind as to advise?
    Thanks, malch
     
  2. jdjustice macrumors newbie

    jdjustice

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    Hi malch. :)

    In my experience with Squeeze (current version and the previous 2 versions) and Adobe's new CS4 media encoder, my advice would be dependent on a couple of questions (I have only the trial version of Episode but CAN say it is very quick on a Mac, beating Squeeze on the speed factor):

    If you are just doing Flash, and that is all that matters to you, I would say if you are on a budget, then Squeeze 5 would be a good fit. It performs well on Flash encoding and I have never had a video consistency problem with _most_ of the popular codecs it offers -- Spark (Flash 6+), On2 VP6 (Flash 8+), and usually go with the On2 VP6 option for my personal website..

    (If you wish to see some examples of what Squeeze can do with flash, click on my signature, visit my website and in the video section the first music video, filmed with professional cameras, was encoded with Squeeze / On2 VP6 codec at only 508kbps video rate -- you will see that for that fairly reasonable bitrate it stands up the test for pseudo HD - I say 'pseudo HD' since most people's internet connections limit the possibilities for 'true' HD on the web)::

    Example of medium-bitrate Squeeze-encoded Flash (On2 VP6) -- In 'Video Players' Section



    Now, If you need or desire true streaming, CBR, F4V (basically still just MP4 specifically for Flash video) files from the maker of Flash and prefer a prettier interface -- and you are serious about committing to MP4 / F4V formats -- the Adobe CS4 might be the better option. I have had some quality issues with encoding in the MP4 format with Squeeze; noticeably darkened videos being one serious flaw.

    One note about Adobe Media Encoder CS4 though -- I have 4GB DDR 667MHz SDRAM (enough for most things I think) in my 24" iMac -- and processing video with AME eats a LARGE chunk of my RAM -- in fact virtually renders my computer unusable for batch processing especially. So make sure you have 4GB+ RAM or you don't mind only having AME and maybe one other (non-browser!) application on while encoding with the CS4 product.

    I do LOVE the new Suite (CS4) though -- many GUI improvements over CS3 among myriad of other improvements and tweaks to their pro apps. PRO should be emphasized, since some Adobe Master Collection apps (Premiere Pro, After Effects CS4) are huge resource eaters =) But nevertheless, Adobe makes GREAT stuff.

    Good Luck with your endeavors and I guess your conclusion will be based on both economics and maybe the power of your personal computer.

    James Justice




     
  3. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #3
    James,
    Thanks so much for your very informed and thorough reply...
    You clearly know a lot about this, so I hope you don't mind my asking about a problem with Squeeze (I upgraded to v. 5.1 Pro) that even the very nice technical help people at Sorenson haven't been able to solve.
    When I create a wmv file using Squeeze (or Episode, by the way; I've actually invested in both, and both are expensive programs, in an effort to solve this conundrum) the audio gets out of sync with the video... in a five-minute item, the audio starts getting out of sync within the first minute, and gets worse from there. By the four-minute mark it's a full second out.
    The poor guy at Sorenson had me update QT, and Flip3Mac, then repair any permissions, restart, etc., all to no avail. He's stumped. I sent him a copy of a Squeeze-encoded wmv file, and he saw that the audio was out of sync... then, to his surprise, after a restart (that he had to do for some reason), the audio was IN sync. No such luck on my computer. I have a MacBook Pro, by the way, lots of RAM and VRAM, running Leopard...
    Sorenson hasn't been able to help me; neither have the very nice tech help people at Episode.
    So I'm stuck.
    Do you have any ideas?
    Maybe I should try Adobe Media Encoder.
    thanks, Malcolm
     
  4. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #4
    Just checked Adobe Video Encoder (I own CS3), and it seems to only do Flash... so that's not an option.
    Malcolm
     
  5. jdjustice macrumors newbie

    jdjustice

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    I know your issue well.

    I have never successfully been able to solve that exact issue using _any_ compression app on Macintosh / Leopard.

    WMVs (and just WMVs) will as you described output audio and video that is not in sync.

    My solution to this problem and the only way I have been able to do this (make WMV video without sync problems) was to purchase a copy of VMware Fusion and run Microsoft Expression Encoder in Windows XP virtually (on my Mac). This works perfectly.... I don't know why this problem persists but it is a real and serious issue IMO.

    It may be cheaper to get AME, but you can only encode FLV and F4V (no other formats and limited options compared to Squeeze and Episode) with that application (in case you were unaware).

    I wish I could be of more assistance but I am aware that this is an issue with most, if not all encoders on the Mac when you aren't running Windows on it. This, to me, suggests it is an Apple issue rather than the vendors' problem. But I can't be sure .

    Good Luck!!

    James

     
  6. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #6
    James... I can't thank you enough! No one, at Squeeze or Episode, or anywhere, has been able to solve this, or even truly understand it. I feel so much better just knowing that I'm not insane (which is what tech help at these places starts to wonder about if nothing they can suggest helps).
    I will dig out my (retired) copy of VMWare Fusion, and do it as you suggest.
    Again, thanks so much.
    Malcolm
     
  7. YoGramMamma macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2006
    #7
    of interest...

    I stumbled upon this thread and may have a bit of insight based on a bath of videos i just recently encoded.

    While I do agree that there needs to be a much more officially sanctioned way to make good looking WMVs on a mac, Episode does a pretty decent job.

    A client of mine requested a batch of videos to be encoded in WMV multibitrate files. Episode can handle this, and does a good job at using 99% of all 8 of my processing cores to churn out the encodings pretty swiftly. When i go to play back using the Flip4Mac plugin within quicktime OR just using quicklook, the audio is slightly out of sync. It maintains its out-of-sync-ness throughout the whole hour long duration....

    HOWEVER, when you play back the file using VLC media player, the same file is perfectly in sync and plays back smoother. Because I only really work on mac computers and usually am not around any PCs i have never played a file back on windows media player on a PC, but i'm wondering / suspecting that a lot of the imperfections we are seeing with the WMV encodes are due to a poor Flip4Mac plugin or some funky translation thats not going right within the mac.

    Just thought i'd mention it. Download the free VLC player (which is great because it plays just about every format under the sun) and test it out and see if you are seeing the same things I am seeing.
     
  8. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #8
    Hi Yogram... thanks very much for this...
    I'll try it out as soon as I can fire up the SATA drive that has those wmv files on it. All this time I've been cursing wmv, and maybe it's been Flip4Mac's fault!!!
    I'll post back with my results.
    Cheers, malch
     
  9. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #9
    O.K., just tried to play a freshly-made wmv file (I used the latest version of Sorenson Squeeze this time, just for fun). It plays hopelessly out of sync in QT, so I tried VLC.
    I get an error message saying: "No suitable decoder module. VLC does not support the audio or video format "wmap". Unfortunately there is no way for you to fix this"
    I agree, there's no way for me to fix this. But can't VLC fix this? Or Flip4Mac? For crying out loud, I spent a good chunk of money on the most expensive version of Flip4Mac you can get: Flip4Mac WMV Studio Pro HD. And it can't play a wmv file with audio and video in sync???
    Any advice?
    malch
     
  10. malch thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    #10
    Just tried another wmv file that I made a few weeks ago, using Episode...
    In QuickTime (using Flip4Mac) it plays... out of sync. Audio lag. Horrible.

    I then tried VLC, and it played...
    in sync...

    !!!

    This is fantastic.
    But if this narrows the evil ghost in my system down to Flip4Mac (and this is still an "if") I still don't understand why Flip4Mac isn't working. I've sent a note to the Telestream people, who make Flip4Mac, to ask them.
    I'll post here if I hear anything.
    Thanks once again YoG, for your brilliant suggestion.

    But... why when I send a wmv file to my client at work, who uses a windows machine, does she see it as out-of-sync too?

    malch
     

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