Codec shoot-out 2005 - Final

Table of content:

1 : Introduction
2 : Test setup
3 : Sources, bitrates and sizes
4 : Settings
5 : Test 1: Saving Private Ryan (normal bandwidth) -- ultra high bandwidth
6 : Test 2: Steamboy (normal bandwidth) -- ultra high bandwidth
7 : Conclusion
8 : Outlook

Welcome ladies and gentleman, to the final round of the 2005 codec comparison.

If you have missed the qualification and main round, I suggest you read those articles first as they explain the entire mode of this year's comparison and show the way codecs have taken to qualify for the final round.

The contestants

All codecs were tested in a 2 pass setup using the settings suggested by the developers.

Test setup:

All testing was done on the following hardware:

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+
Shuttle SN25P barebone system
2x 512 MB PC3200 Kingston HyperX DDR RAM CL2
Gigabyte Geforce 7800GT GFX card
Philips 230W5B2 Display connected via DVI

To encode I used the following software:

DGIndex 1.4.5 & DGDecode
AviSynth 2.55 for frameserving
VirtualDub 1.6.11 for VfW encoding
Nandub 1.0 RC2 lumafix to multiplex AVI
Mp4box CVS dated December 16th to multiplex MP4

Sources, Bitrates and Sizes

Movies I encoded:

Saving Private Ryan - Region 1, NTSC, length: 2h49, 243770 frames (@23.976fps). I will call this movie SPR from here on
Steamboy - Region 2, PAL, length: 2h01, 181965 frames (@25.00 fps)

Encoding parameters:

I used a 128kbit/s CBR MP3 audio track I created using BeSweet 1.5 beta 31 for all codecs using the AVI container. I used the same BeSweet and the latest Nero 6 AAC encoder DLLs to create a 128 kbit/s CBR HE AAC audio track for all codecs using the MP4 container. As in previous years, the goal is to put SPR on two 700 MB CDs. For Steamboy, I chose one 700MB CDs. The audio file sizes were as follows:

This resulted in a video bitrate 1018 kbit/s and 1024 kbit/s respectively for SPR (the smaller bitrate for codecs using the AVI container), and 669 kbit/s / 675 kbit/s respectively for Steamboy (once again the lower bitrate is for the codec's using the AVI container). Please refer to the FAQ if you have any questions or doubts why this scenario was chosen.

As you may know, not every rate control mechanism is perfect so here are the final movie sizes I got:

Codec Steamboy SPR  
Ateme 716'134 KB 1'433'338 KB  
DivX 6.1 716'768 KB 1'433'221 KB  
x264 716'933 KB 1'434'337 KB  
XviD 716'420 KB 1'432'586 KB  

Note that 700MB equals 716'800KB, 1400MB equals 1'433'600KB. I've marked every size in orange if it is more than 2.5 MB above target size (2.5 MB is about the oversize a CD can have and you can still burn it without having to activate overburning), red if it's more than 10 MB off target (grounds for disqualification). The ones marked in bright yellow are undersized more than 2.5 MB (that points to a rate control issue as well but is less problematic than oversized files).

As you can see, no codec had any problem staying within the allowable size range.

Codec settings (applied with respect to the default codec settings)

Other important stuff

Here's the AviSynth script I used to encode the movies, so that you can perfectly reproduce my results. I used force film in DGIndex in SPR.

SPR script:


Steamboy script:


Now proceed to the test (low bandwidth JPEG version. This version loads 343 KB of images for the beginning, and the total image size for the SPR test is 1.30 MB). If you have a lot of bandwidth and / or don't mind waiting, there's a high bandwidth PNG version (loads 1.77 MB of images initially and if you want to see all the images, you have to download 6.19 MB). Also note that the high bandwidth version requires that you have enough browser cache left or the images will be reloaded each time you zoom in or out.

This document was last updated on December 26, 2005