Encoder Comparison

Star Wars: The Force Awakens


This section lets you see the results of 2 encodes, side-by-side. It basically works like this:

  1. Pick a bunch of stuff from the left and right sides.
  2. Hit the big red Show Changes button.
  3. Scroll down to compare the images!
  4. (optional)
    • Use the Blue Buttons to choose between shrinking fit your screen, showing side-by-side, and showing the full resolution image (with scrollbars if it's too big to fit your screen).
    • There is also an Auto Update button you can use if you're tired of clicking the red Show Changes button each time you make a change.
Warning: If you haven't used the tool before you should scroll waaaay down and read about some of the details, caveats, and gotchas before relying on the results!
Loading comparison interface...
Please be patient!
Optimized images (smaller file size, but may have alternate color profile)


Note that this page is something of a "beta". Depending on traffic and interest, it could be expanded on, or could go down completely at some point. Few main items that have a bearing here:

  1. It originally used about 145 GB of space on a dedicated server for all the images and video clips. This expense was a little hard to justify for one page, so I recently dropped all the video but kept the images (about 9GB). For reference, the entirety of mattgadient.com is about 1 GB if you exclude this page.
  2. These are really time consuming to process (encode, generate screenshots, etc) and put together a custom page for. I have some other comparisons in mind (8/10/12-bit, denoising, audio, etc) but don't want to spend weeks putting them together if it's not something that a number of people would find helpful/useful.
  3. This page is pretty bandwidth-intensive for visitors. Unlike the write-ups on this site (which even dial-up can handle), this page only provides a reasonable experience for those on quick connections.

If you feel strongly one way or another (really like this page or could do without it for example), please leave a comment. It would also be helpful to know what in particular you were interested in (Did you just want to see x264 at different bitrates? Were you wanting to compare x264 with VP9? Something else...?). Thanks!

This Page

This page contains a number of Star Wars: The Force Awakens encode clips, allowing you to compare the result of different encode settings.

Output from all 4 main encoders can be found below at both 480p and 1080p, with 10 different bitrate settings (all speeds). Tune settings & 10 different RF settings are available for x264 and x265.

A few things to note:

  • 1080p and 480p refer to "pre-cropped" versions. Once black bars were cropped, the dimensions became 1920x800 and 854x356 respectively.
  • Bitrate-based encodes all used full 2-pass to try and get the file sizes as exact as possible for fixed-bitrate comparisons between encoders.
  • Only medium speed is provided for RF based encodes.
  • Very low bitrates (50, 100, etc) may result in blank/grey images. This is not a bug: the encoder simply did not have enough bitrate to work with in those situations.
  • Only "bitrate" results are available for VP8 and VP9 - the RF variants for VP8/9 didn't encode properly and I didn't notice until it was too late, so I simply removed them from the tool.
  • VP8 and VP9 appear to enforce minimum bitrate thresh-holds. Be careful when comparing small bitrates (50kbps for example in VP8/9). In that example, while 50kbps was selected, if you look at the output filesize you'll notice that VP8/9 obviously forced the bitrate higher, up to some minimum value.
  • The video clips that used to be on this page were 1m47s in duration - these clips are what the "Video clip size:" sections are referring to. They were comprised of the following time periods from SWTFA, all merged into a single video: 9m15s-9m50s, 56m07s-56m29s, 1h14m08s-1h14m58s.


Contains content from Star Wars: The Force Awakens ( © & ™ Lucasfilm Ltd.)
This content has been legally used on this site, pursuant to Section 29.0 of the Canadian Copyright Act (Royal Assent June 29/2012, Effective Nov 7/2012).