Captures sound good. Clean LD source, uncompressed is good, using VirtualDub
is fine. Vegas is nice to edit. SoundForge
is great for audio work. Nice setup.
The thing to understand about MainConcept
is that it is simply an engine, and not a piece of software. Hopefully that makes sense. The engine is bought by other companies and tweaked to their needs. Sony, Ulead, Adobe, Sonic and a few others use it.
- Sony's MainConcept
is probably the best version of MC.
- Adobe's looks good too.
- Sonic and Ulead use a really minimalist version, but still not horrible by any means (not soft).
- Your observation of in-house MC 1.4 encoder released by MC directly is about on par with most people. it's soft and gooey looking. The MPEG capture tool inside it is lacking too, and sucks up too much CPU. Great engine, poor usage.
CinemaCraft (CCE) is full of noise. It adds a kind of digital "grain" referred to as "mosquito noise". For this reason alone many people hate it. Most CCE lovers flock to the unneeded up-to-9-pass encoding.
TMPGEnc is based on freeware turned payware. It is an excellent encoder when you want to filter to heck out of video. If you source is perfect, TMPGENC is not for you. It is not really "soft" as much as it gives a "plastic" or "flat" (sometimes even "muddy") look to the video.
I still have Procoder 1.5. I had the 2.0 trial for a while, but it has problems. The 2.0 engine is supposed to be better ... BUT... there are reports that it's MASTERING mode is flawed. The new 2.0 is a faster and higher quality engine ... however MASTERING takes less time than HIGHEST and often looks worse. Go figure. Flaw of the software. (The non-paying crowd also gets to deal with addition issues, as the illegal hacks do not work correctly.)
I've used VDUB filters before in the past, but never really in capture. I just ran a test to be sure, and my memory is correct: these are mainly blur filters. They could trade detail for less noise. It is a decent filter however. Different source will react differently, so run some tests. I had the filter at the default level (about 20% towards the right on slider) and it did clean up a decent amount of grain on an old tape. It's comparable to ATI VideoSoap. It worked fine on my P4 1.8Ghz using HuffYUV
I hate Procoder's audio encoding. People complain about TMGPENC having audio imperfections, but it's flawless compared to PC. If you can avoid encode audio in PC, that would be great. Adobe Premiere has an option to export WAV audio separate off the timeline, and I use that.
PC 1.5 also has a bug where the MPG video-only files have a blank audio stream sometimes, so I've had to demux files in the past. No idea why (though it may have something to do with some quirky tweaks I did one time).
Consumer encoders and professional encoders are pretty much the same thing. PC, by all rights, is a pro encoder. So is CCE and MC. HOWEVER, pros also have expensive hardware to encode with, so that can also be part of the different. AND they have the original high quality source scanned in, not a digital re-acquisition from an analog format that is already lossy.
And yes, the longer you're at the hobby, the more picky you get. You may have finally hit that plateau where you will not be happy. Especially if you watch tv on a huge screen or HDTV.
So yes, 2-pass 6000-8000k VBR is about your max potential.
If you want to clip off a 10MB (or smaller) chunk of the final MPEG file (video only), upload ONE file here:
Note: If your net connection is too slow, it may time out.
Believe it or not, MPEG encoders are MUCH MUCH better in 2005 than they were in 2001. Back then, we mostly had XING, LSX, Panasonic and a couple other miserable choices. While PC, MC, etc existed ... they were mostly "pro only" and unknown to consumers.