One of my hobbies is converting Virginia Tech football games from video to digital. I’m using Final Cut Studio to do the job. I export my video’s to MPEG-4 H.264 640×480 resolution at 2500 kbits/s and 128kbps AAC audio. Normally, I export only one half of a football game at a time and let it do the encoding while I’m sleeping. A 30 – 40 minute video will take about 3 to 4 hours on my Power Mac Dual G5 2.0ghz machine.
I had been reading about the Elgato Turbo.264 device which offloads the encoding from the computers CPU to the Turbo.264 Video Encoder Hardware. It looks like a thumb drive and plugs into a USB 2.0 port. Well, I ordered it and received it today.
I did a test to see how it performed. I took a video clip of a Virginia Tech game that was 2 minutes 6 seconds and exported it to Apple TV format. This translates to a 720×480 video at 2500 kbits/s data rate. It took about 9 minutes. Then I plugged in the Elgato Turbo.264 thingamajiggy and had the clip export to the Apple TV (Elgato Turbo) setting. It was done in less than 3 minutes! Amazing! So how’s the quality? Looking at the two video’s side by side, the Turbo.264 encoded video looks far better.
For my final test, I copied the video to my Mac mini which is running Ubuntu 7.04. I brought up VLC and the video looks great on Ubuntu as well.
I highly recommend it. And you too can save $2500 like I did. The Mac Pro is $2499. The Elgato Turbo.264 is far less at Amazon.