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Old October 4th, 2003, 06:56 AM   #1
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Realtime WM9 encoder cards

I need to produce Windows Media 9 HD content (1280x720). It will be a mix of 16:9 footage (quite possibly from a GR-HD10U), and 3D computer animation. The quality of the 3D animation (1280x720 30p) is of extreme importance. Not only that, but I would like to encode it in real-time and the encoded material must be pristine. I know that Digital-Rapids and Osprey make cards, but Iím not sure they support HD content. The encoding has to support file based sources. As a frame of reference, I wonder what hardware do Landmark Theaters use?

Frederic Segard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 4th, 2003, 07:23 AM   #2
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This link might be of help, especially the section headed "Integrated Capture/Encoding Solutions and Appliances."

Though I believe the DCS systems installed in Landmark theaters use AMD Opteron processors. Not sure whether they have a need for real-time encoding on the fly like you do, as Landmark's interest is in distribution and not creation of content...
All the best,
Robert K S

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Robert Knecht Schmidt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 4th, 2003, 09:58 PM   #3
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Hi Fred,
By "real time" do you mean that, for example, you're looking for something that would encode 1 minute of HD footage to WM9 and that this conversion would be completed in 60 seconds? If this is what you seek, I don't think there is such a thing. I've been experimenting a bit with encoding uncompressed HD to WM9.
Here are the results I came up with using a P4 2.4 GHz machine with 750 MB of RDRAM to convert 1 minute uncompressed HD to WM9 using Microsoft's free encoder.
The first number is the "quality" (in Mbps). Tha second number is the resultant "file size" (in MB). The third number is "how long it would take" (in minutes).

0.5 Mbps ** 0.9 MB ** 45 minutes
1 ** 10 ** 46
3 ** 28 ** 54
5 ** 40 ** 63
6 ** 58 ** 54
7 ** 80 ** 58
9 ** 100 ** 60
15 ** 150 ** 70
20 ** 180 ** 68

Above 9 Mbps, I didn't notice much, if any, improvement in image quality. The minimum you could go is about 6 - 6.5 Mbps.
The best balance between image quality and file size seemed to be at about 7 Mbps. From looking at comparisons of different chips' encoding times, I would think that the best result I could get by using the fastest CPU out right now would be to cut these encode times by 1/3. So say 1 minute now takes 1 hour, the fastest CPU could get it down to 40 minutes. So even at the 40 minutes time for 1 minute HD, for 1 hour of uncompressed HD encoded to WM9, you'd be looking at 40 hours.
I'd welcome others' thoughts on this.
P.S. With my current 2.4 GHz CPU, 1 hour of HD encoded to WM9 would take 2 1/2 days straight!
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