11 Replies Latest reply on Jun 22, 2012 11:38 PM by Kuhnen Brown

    x264 vs. MainConcept H264 Video Codec for Export

    Typhoon859 Level 1

      Is it possible to use the x264 codec instead of the MainConcept H264 Video Codec to render the compilation in the h264 format from Premiere CS4?

        • 1. Re: x264 vs. MainConcept H264 Video Codec for Export
          Colin Brougham Level 6

          If you're talking about exporting through AME directly using x264, then you need some sort of VfW (Video for Windows) encoder.... for example, x264vfw. No idea if or how well it works with CS4; I've never been impressed with the couple of x264 VfW encoders out there. For one, they're more trouble than the worth, and are pretty unstable most of the time. Plus, you have to encode audio separately and then mux it afterward, which is doable but can be a pain.

           

          I much prefer to use MeGUI. Export a barely-compressed or uncompressed file from AME, and then use Avisynth to create a MeGUI readable script. There's actually an Avisynth script creator module built into MeGUI, which takes away a lot of the pain. I get some pretty phenomenal output in this way--it far surpasses the MainConcept output. The biggest problem is that there is extra time, space, and hassle involved. Choose your poison.

          • 2. Re: x264 vs. MainConcept H264 Video Codec for Export
            Typhoon859 Level 1

            Yes, with the x264 codec, you need to encode the audio separately afterward but I thought that Premiere was doing that for me...  I didn't realize that it was the MainConcept H264 codec itself that was also encoding the audio...  No wonder I'm limited only to the AAC codec for the audio.  The x264 codec is what most encoders use and it produces higher quality.  That's the reason I asked about it.  I noticed this when I realized that the video I encoded from Adobe Premiere looked much worse than when I encoded it through VirtualDubMod with the same settings.  That's when I realized that a different codec as being used.  I know about MeGUI but.. I prefer to write the script myself.  My question is basically if I can use the x264 codec directly from AME.  It's too much of a hastle to export it uncompressed.  If this isn't a possibility, then I'll just deal with what it has.

             

            This is the codec I was talking about: http://x264.nl/

            • 3. Re: x264 vs. MainConcept H264 Video Codec for Export
              Colin Brougham Level 6

              Well, neither x264 or the MC H.264 encoder have anything to do with audio--they're video encoders. I would guess that Adobe uses MainConcept's AAC encoder for audio--not positive though. On the "free" side of things, such as with using MeGUI, you have access to encoders like NeroAAC and FAAC, both of which are freely distributed/available encoders. And AAC is what you want to use with H.264 video--they go hand-in-hand--I don't see why you'd want to use anything else.

               

              x264 gives you access to some more of the capabilities of the H.264 standard, but in and of itself, it's not "better" than another H.264 encoder. I'm able to get quite good results from AME, but it's often slower than other means.

               

              MeGUI is just a front-end for a lot of different tools. It takes AVS scripts as it one-and-only input, so write your own if you want to. I mention the Script Creator module because it's tuned to the most common filters needed for good encoding, and it's got a relatively easy-to-use GUI. I'll often use it to create a base script, and then tweak it as needed.

               

              You might be able to use ffdshow's encoder to write using x264; something to look into.

              • 4. Re: x264 vs. MainConcept H264 Video Codec for Export
                Typhoon859 Level 1

                Yeah but, I don't like FFDShow's encoder.  I know I'm being too fixated but yeah, I'll definitely try things out.  Maybe I'm doing something wrong with the MainConcept encoder but yeah..  Thanks for your help.  I was just roling the dice to see if there was some magic way to get AME to use x264.  I'll look into some more things, some of which you mentioned.

                • 6. Re: x264 vs. MainConcept H264 Video Codec for Export
                  Rallymax-forum Level 3

                  "Is it possible to use the x264 codec instead of the MainConcept H264 Video Codec to render the compilation in the h264 format from Premiere CS4?"

                   

                  You can use the x264pro Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Media Encoder plugin to give you full integration with x264.

                  • 7. Re: x264 vs. MainConcept H264 Video Codec for Export
                    Jim_Simon Level 8

                    WOW!  $600 retail to license what is basically freeware.

                     

                    That's not a very good deal, even at the current sale price of half off.

                    • 8. Re: x264 vs. MainConcept H264 Video Codec for Export
                      Jeff Bellune Adobe Community Professional

                      What's the convenience and speed of using x264 right from inside Pr worth? 

                       

                      There is a free workflow using the x264 CLI or a front-end like MeGUI, but the learning curve is steep.  I guess it's a tradeoff -- time or money.  No free lunch and all that.  Not to mention that using open-source tools to create H.264 doesn't absolve the creator of having to pay licensing and royalty fees to MPEG LA for using H.264 in commercial projects.  To the best of my knowledge, an x264 PRO license includes the fees paid to MPEG LA to properly license the use of the H.264 codec in commercial projects.

                       

                      Jeff

                       

                      Sidebar: Want to raise your blood pressure?  Just read the EULA on your multi-thousand dollar professional camera that records to MPEG2, MPEG4, or AVC.  You, as the camera owner and operator, are only licensed to use the footage you shoot in personal, non-commercial projects.  Using the footage for commercial projects requires buying a license and paying royalties to MPEG LA.  Last I heard, no royalties are required for MPEG4 and AVC for runs of less than 100,000 units.  But for MPEG2, royalty payments to MPEG LA are required for each and every unit sold.  Again, these royalty payments are in addition to the cost of a license to use the codecs in commercial projects.  Failure to pay these fees is actionable in court, and MPEG LA can go after everyone in the production chain, including your client (or anyone else) who views the unlicensed footage.  Even the MainConcept H.264 encoder in Premiere Pro is only licensed for personal, non-commercial use:

                       

                      "16.14 AVC DISTRIBUTION. The following notice applies to Software containing AVC import and export functionality: THIS PRODUCT IS LICENSED UNDER THE AVC PATENT PORTFOLIO LICENSE FOR THE PERSONAL NON-COMMERCIAL USE OF A CONSUMER TO (a) ENCODE VIDEO IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE AVC STANDARD (“AVC VIDEO”) AND/OR (b) DECODE AVC VIDEO THAT WAS ENCODED BY A CONSUMER ENGAGED IN A PERSONAL NON-COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY AND/OR WAS OBTAINED FROM A VIDEO PROVIDER LICENSED TO PROVIDE AVC VIDEO." 

                      • 9. Re: x264 vs. MainConcept H264 Video Codec for Export
                        Rallymax-forum Level 3

                        Sidebar: "Last I heard, no royalties are required for MPEG4 and AVC for runs of less than 100,000 units."

                         

                        ... and even if you do have less than 100,000 units you still need to have a contract with MPEG LA to gain the rights for quantity 1 to 99,999.

                         

                        "Failure to pay these fees is actionable in court, and MPEG LA can go after everyone in the production chain, including your client (or anyone else) who views the unlicensed footage."

                         

                        .. and has... just google for "MPEG LA sues" and you'll see how agressive they (rightfully) are at protecting their Interllectual Property.

                        • 10. Re: x264 vs. MainConcept H264 Video Codec for Export
                          Jim_Simon Level 8

                          What's the convenience and speed of using x264 right from inside Pr worth? 

                           

                          Not $300!  Take off a zero and maybe.

                          • 11. Re: x264 vs. MainConcept H264 Video Codec for Export
                            Kuhnen Brown Level 1

                            Better deal yet is from Telestream Episode.  In the v6.3 release this week (June 21), Episode now offers all flavors of x264 encoding. The price?  Requires a one-time $99 dollar license, enabled by Telestream.

                            Kuhnen