Test 3: Futurama

The 3rd and last test deals with a completely different type of movie (well, actually it's not a movie but a series but let's not be picky, shall we?): animation. In animated features we often have large areas that are uniformly colored so the codecs are challenged to reproduce such areas properly. Edges between such areas also become rather important. I personally haven't seen an animated feature that I liked yet, so I settled for an animated TV series that I like (Bender's my favorite ;): Futurama. As usual with TV series, the DVDs are interlaced so I had to let Decomb return me a progressive stream. While certain codecs can handle interlaced material, my previous experience with interlaced material for DVD-R output was that interlaced encoding is always less efficient.

I reviewed the intro up to the scene in the animal clinic (frames 1 - 4965) and the scene leading up to the el chuba nebre song (frames 23517 - 24259).

Futurama starts with a funny ad, which has a red-violet background in this particular episode. No codec really likes this ad and I got various amounts of blocks and smearing in almost every codec. RV9 had the least problem with the ad (there were still plenty of it), and XviD also had a little less blocks than the rest of the pack.

After the ad we have the series intro.

Then let's focus on edges and a color that no codec likes: red.

The next scene takes place at the animal clinic. Bender tries to kill Nibbler but Leela stops him by ripping out his arm.

Once again, the difference between the codecs has become smaller since the last comparison and in some scenes it was pretty hard to spot visible differences. Nevertheless, there are two codecs that I feel deserve special recognition: RV9 has done justice to its reputation as a codec for animated features. While not being perfect, its output is visually pleasing. XviD is also not far behind RV9.

Other than that, 3ivX and ffvfw were a bit blockier than the rest, which is nothing new if you have seen the previous two tests. I also felt that VP6 wasn't as good with animated content as with regular movies.

Now proceed to the conclusion.

This document was last updated on January 20, 2004