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eerola

Using several computers to encode video

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I wrote to some Mac forums in early December about my "private media encoding cloud" project. Because I got many questions about this project, I decided to do a small video about my system.

 

http://youtu.be/u0xwMJAwEI8

 

I have a some Macs in my home LAN, MacBooks and a Mini. I am using the Mini as a HTPC/ DVR. Because of this, the Mini produces quite a lot of content, I want to encode (=compress) it to a Plex (http://plexapp.com) compatible format. Unfortunately encoding on the Mini can take quite long...

 

To speed this up, I decided to set up a system to distribute the encoding to the computers in my home network. I did this using the middleware from Techila (http://www.techilatechnologies.com), which was good because I got the project completed in one night (which is nice if you have family).

 

In my setup, the DVR content is on a shared drive. When I start FFMPEG (http://ffmpeg.org) encoding, the original large video will be split into suitable size smaller files. The Techila layer will automatically configure the computers in my LAN for the project and the encoded clips will be returned to the share. Finally the encoded clips will be merged together.

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Interesting... Does it supports batch-converting entire folders of video material?

 

Does it works with MPEG Streamclip software, or at least supports the same formats?

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Interesting... Does it supports batch-converting entire folders of video material?

My original AppleScript, which I have been running on my HTPC Mini for ages, supports drag-and-dropping any number of input media files. This feature is still supported in the Techila-powered system. Technically, the only change which I did to the original script was replacing the direct FFMPEG call with a wrapper function call, which splits the media file(s), launches the original FFMPEG call on the computers in my system, and joins the processed media files.

Does it works with MPEG Streamclip software, or at least supports the same formats?

I have not tried this with MPEG Streamclip. Basically, I do not see any reason why you could not use this with MPEG Streamclip. MPEG Streamclip would be good at least if you have a only Macs in your environment, and if you have a folder full of media files, which you just want to get encoded. My solution can speed up encoding a folder full of files and individual media files.

 

Openly, I am not very experienced with the Streamclip and all its options, since I have done my projects mainly using EyeTV or FinalCut and FFMPEG. FFMPEG looks a bit lighter than MPEG Streamclip, which is an advantage on the first launch of the distributed processing (as Techila distributes the required libraries automatically to the Workers). But that is a one-time cost and the difference is probably not more than a couple of seconds.

 

At the moment, FFMPEG is my preference because it I know its options and it is cross-platform, which allows me to include Linux and Windows instances to support the encoding if I want to.

 

FFMPEG uses libavcodec, which implements a nice number of codecs. The list of formats supported by libavcodec are listed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libavcodec.

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