Monday, January 23, 2012

Hell, I'll just throw money at the problem and maybe it'll fix it ...

So I've been searching for some kind of "cheap" fix to speed up production. Lead me to a couple of products but I couldn't get myself to pull the trigger. I mean, I was planning on purchasing FCPX eventually so whatever solution I was planning on using would become useless at that time. Till I stumbled upon on this:

The Elgato turbo.264HD.

Interesting device. It works with a program to speed up the encoding process. The output is pretty limited in that it's all h.264 based and I can't speed up conversions to AIC but after reading about it on Engadget, I had to try it out. And, yes, it does work as advertised.

I did a benchmark of how long it took for my PC, which was encoding streams, to reencode it via Handbrake to something that iMovie will read and let me edit (slowly but surely ...). I did the same on my Mac with the same file and Handbrake. Lastly, the turbo.264.

PC (Q6600 overclocked to 3GHz) - 7:26 (minutes:seconds)
Mac (i5 2.4 GHz 2010 MBP) - 12:02
Mac (turbo.264) - Low 7 minute mark (couldn't find a "log" where it recording exactly how long it took)

Right there is an improvement but not a huge one. I could always opt to just let the PC do the Handbrake encode and save some money. But there was more to the turbo.264 from my testing. It seemed that the h.264 mp4s that the turbo.264 created taxed iMovie less than the mp4s from Handbrake. I can't confirm this but just how the application felt was different enough for me. That and the fact that the turbo.264 also sped up the final encode/projects within iMovie too (supposedly will also work with FCPX). File size was a tad bigger than through Handbrake but I think there was only a 10% difference at most so it wasn't a deal breaker.

So this was a worthwhile purchase for me. Just a heads up to everyone that was considering one of these dongles. It really is a cool device. And ignore the negative Amazon reviews. I think those were posted when the turbo.264 first came out and the software caused issues. The latest software outputs more than acceptable quality h.264 mp4s.

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