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Old March 24th, 2007, 02:21 PM   #1
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Compressor 2 vs. BitVice

Many people last year said they preferred BitVice over Compressor, saying BitVice gave better results at the expense of slower encode times. These preferences were mostly referring to version "1" of Compressor, but I hadn't seen any direct comparisons to version 2, so decided to find out for myself.

The current tested versions are Compressor 2.3 (CP2); BitVice 1.7 (BV), both tested on a MacPro with 8gb RAM running 10.4.9 and all files being written to an external Fiber array through the ATTO 42ES. Finished encodes were viewed both in DVDSP4 preview and on final output to DVD-5 using 2 different drives, the Sony D150A (Apple-branded Superdrive that shipped with the MacPro) and the Pioneer DVR 111D.

I took DVCPRO 720p24 projects recently shot from the HPX500 for Panasonic demos and used them as the test clips, each about 2 minutes runtime total.

BV certainly took longer to create the same MPEG-2, 2-pass VBR 6.5 max bitrate encode than CP2 but had similar results. Similar, but not the same. BV did a good job overall but there was a slight gamma shift in the final output and I noticed more of the typical stair-stepping artifacts on anything with a diagonal line or curved edges than I did with CP2. The BV interface has certainly had an improvement since the last version I tested - about a year ago - with better access to controls and more details in the log output. In all BV proved to be a very nicely designed encoder with very acceptable results requiring only a tad bit of tweaking to get the final output just right.

CP2 on the other hand was the clear winner between the two; the final output didn't require any gamma tweaking and diagonal/rounded edge artifacts were less noticeable - a cleaner encode is how I'd describe it. The CP2 interface is also much deeper with far greater output options and audio controls than I found in BV. And version 2.3 guarantees Intel-chip compatibility which BV doesn't seem to address yet and AFAIK runs in a Rosetta environment, much as Photoshop CS2 does. This may also explain why BV took almost double the time to do the same encode as CP2.

My only complaint about CP2 is the same one I have about DVDSP4, Shake and a few other Apple pro applications: There is NO option to change the font size in the operations menus, and by default they are very small - too small in fact! Hopefully Apple will wake up to this lack of interface customization in the next iteration of pro apps, but time will tell.

In all, both encoders do a really, really great job. Almost as good as a hardware encoder, but not quite there yet. If you own an older version of Final Cut Studio and are still using Compressor 1 then BitVice would be my encoder of choice, as CP1 had some obvious visual limitations that I was always fighting.

However, if you already have a copy of FC Studio 5 and upgraded to CP2.3 then you've already got one of the best software MPEG-2 encoders money can buy and BV 1.7 would not only be a redundant purchase but a small step backwards.

One of these days I'll get around to testing MegaPeg from Digigami and see how it stacks up against CP2.
Robert Lane is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 24th, 2007, 05:56 PM   #2
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Hey Robert,

Thank you for taking the time to make that comparison.
It is alot of work and saves many of us alot of 'wondering' about it.

Good post.

David McGiffert is offline   Reply

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