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Product Review: RealProducer 10 Competes On Features, Codecs

Dynamic Encoding Complexity Control: The big news here is what Real calls "Dynamic Encoding Complexity Control." Reducing encoding complexity reduces the amount of intensive calculation required to compress video in real-time. Have you ever noticed the difference between encoding a live source and encoding from another high-quality video file? Transcoding from a file almost always looks better, since it does not have to happen in real-time. The encoder has all the time it needs to work in high-complexity mode, getting the best possible quality out of the target bandwidth. In a live encoding, older versions of RealProducer would automatically switch to "low complexity" mode, sacrificing image quality but minimizing the load on the usually overtaxed CPU.

The new "Dynamic" feature divides the complexity spectrum into four levels. During a live encoding, RealProducer will start out at the highest level, and automatically degrade to lower ones only if the process becomes CPU-bound. What this means to you is better live encoding performance, if you've got the CPU horsepower to take advantage of it.

For taking control of your CPU usage, you can also manually set the complexity. If you've got multiple copies of RealProducer running on one machine (or are simultaneously encoding multiple bitrates in one instance of Producer), you can use the complexity setting to dole out CPU to your highest priority encoding.

Encoding several different versions at once: RealProducer already lets you specify several destinations for your encoded media file. You can send the finished output to any number of different servers while also saving as a local file or files. This is old news. What's new in RP10 is that you can now specify several different output formats in one session, and have them go to different destinations.

You can create two versions of a video file – with different sizes, bitrates, and codecs, filtering, etc – and have them saved to different files or streamed to different servers. This can take the place of having to run multiple copies of Producer on one machine (which, in turn, requires that you have multiple capture cards or devices). This feature also is only available if you use the command-line interface, or via manually editing your job file. The job file is an XML config file that can define every aspect of an encoding session's settings – sources, codecs, prefiltering, destinations – everything in the RP10 GUI, as well as a bunch of stuff that's not available through the GUI. Full documentation of the job file's syntax is available in the impressively thorough RealProducer 10 User's Guide, which comes with the downloaded product.

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