Encode 25 Mbps MPEG-2 Files with Episode Pro
I made an interesting finding recently in regards to encoding 25 Mbps MPEG-2 files using Episode Pro. Not many tools that I've seen allow you to encode to really high bit rates such as 25 Mbps but Episode Pro which is only available for the Mac does. Episode Pro is unique in that the application allows the end user to have complete control over the encoding process as it relates to compression settings, filters and other settings. Not only will Episode Pro encode 25 Mbps MPEG-2 files it will encode 34 Mbps MPEG-2 files as well. Actually, the tool will let you go as high as you want in reference to your bit rate.
Here's how to do it:
You'll first need to duplicate one of the MPEG-2 NTSC compression settings and then name it based on your bit rate.
Next you can double click your compression setting and select the Video tab and under the Bitrate control select CBR. For Average rate type in 25000 kbps or whatever bit rate you desire. Save your setting and apply to your video source.
Why Encode at a 25 Mbps data rate for MPEG-2 files?
Broadcast and Cable TV Spot distribution are reasons to encode MPEG-2 files to 25 Mbps. "DGFastchannel requests MPEG-2 Program streams ranging from 10Mbps to a max of 25Mbps. Of course one might want that maximum quality data rate throughout. You FTP them the spot and the traffic instructions and they deliver to the Broadcast or Cable TV provider. I've done this myself with Episode Pro. The result is that you don't have to go back to BetaSP (or any other tape format) and there's no need to ship the tape." said Craig Seeman, Owner of Third Planet Video.
Craig really likes the DGFastchannel service and recommends that other use such a service. He says their are some specifics to consider if you plan to use the DGFastchannel service. Craig Seeman of Third Planet Video says, "They request top field first and a specific GOP structure. I also do it as a 2 Pass CBR encode. Since they require the file to be 720x480, the resize scales it down from 720x486 (Typical of Beta source material editing as 8 or 10 bit uncompressed in FCP for example). If your FCP timeline source is 720x480 (DVCAM for example), you can turn off the resize filter."
"While there is a cost to using DGFastchannel, it saves the cost of going back to tape, the risk of a bad dub, dealing with shipping. It's an overall cost and time savings", says Craig Seeman, Owner of Third Planet Video.
Note: Special thanks to Craig Seeman, Owner of Third Planet Video and a Flip4Mac Consultant for his contributions on this write-up.