Image Processing Reference
imply that the QuickTime codecs are in any way bad. They are useful across a wide spectrum
of applications and in disciplines where the user interface must be simplified. The Popwire
Compression Master user interface allows you to control just about anything you would
want to while the encoders in QuickTime are optimized for ease of use. But here we have
both alternatives available, so it's the best possible scenario for the compression engineer.
The fact that QuickTime is integrated as well as the embedded encoders is also
important because this dramatically increases the number of audio/visual formats that
can be imported. So while you can export via QuickTime, it tends to be used more as an
input mechanism with the output going through the Popwire encoders.
Compression Master has some very sophisticated noise-filtering and de-interlacing
support. If you have footage with severe interlaced artifacts, this tool might process them
out where other tools would try to retain the detail and waste bit rate. You can also con-
vert between NTSC and PAL formats as part of the temporal processing support. Unusual
for a compression tool, you can also add watermarking. This can be taken from another
movie file to make it even harder to detect and remove.
The Popwire Compression Engine supports server-based workflow control with
watch folders. You can build powerful compression-processing farms by deploying com-
pression engines on servers and making them available as a service to the client users.
Popwire Technology products run on a variety of hardware. For performance rea-
sons, some applications need to scale to hardware beyond that which desktop manufac-
turers can deliver. For example, server software may need to run on a Sun Microsystems
Solaris machine to attain the required computing leverage although similar performance
might be achieved with distributed processing on Apple X-Server clusters.
The client tools are available on Mac OS X. Popwire's Compression Engine is
deployed on Mac OS X or Solaris servers, and Broadcaster is available on Mac OS. Live
Engine (Broadcaster) runs on a modestly powerful Intel PC running Linux if you need it
on that platform.
Table 30-3 lists the main formats that Compression Master supports. The baseline
support is considered to be version 2, but some new codec support has been added for the
version 3 release (November 2004). This is indicated in the table. Notably, this is the first
released product on Mac OS X that encodes WM9. Other manufacturers are following this
route as well.
Codecs that were available in previous releases of Compression Master have been
improved. Some new filters and preprocessing options have been added, as has 2-pass
coding on codecs that only supported 1-pass coding previously. There is also support for
transcoding between NTSC and PAL in the new version. In the press release, special
attention is drawn to the transcoding between DV and MPEG-2 that preserves the inter-
lacing. This is useful for postproduction work. It was a solid product before, but now it's
More codecs are being added, and a further release is scheduled to coincide with the
NAB conference in April 2005. The spring 2005 release is expected to include an H.264
In addition to video formats, Compression Master also imports and exports a vari-
ety of audio files, including RealAudio. The Popwire Technology products take input from