This week the Audio Visual Plumber gained access to the software engine of the Cinema Craft Xtream hardware MPEG-2 encoder. This is the same encoder that was used on DVDs like Spiderman 3, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Cars, just to name a few. Cinema Craft is now offering the software engine of this awesome encoder as an Apple Compressor plug-in called Cinema Craft MP. I’ve been looking forward to testing this plug-in since I’ve been having clients tell me that their DVD’s look like crap. I took a 3 minute promo video that I’ve been working on with a lot of fast movement and rich colors that I thought would be a great test piece. Man there’s a lot of custom settings with this plug-in! I thought this would be plug and play, but even the real-time hardware encoders have lots of custom settings and there’s no one-setting-fits-all with these things. After a full day of tweaking, I have created an export that is WAY better than what Compressor can do by itself, even at its highest settings. Definitely worth it for anyone who burns DVD’s regularly for clients, not just DVD authors. But in my mission to create the best looking MPEG-2 that I can, I’m learning techniques in Compressor that I never knew before. With just a bit more tweaking, this plug-in can achieve that “Hollywood DVD look” for a fraction of the price of a hardware encoder. For the past few years I have only made small-run DVDs or very simple Play Only DVDs for clients. But this plug-in has me thinking about getting back into the DVD authoring game.
I would post up comparison videos, but compressed web video just doesn’t show the difference in these DVD videos. Stop by the office and I’ll be happy to give you a demonstration.