Badaboom's GPU-accelerated Video Encoding Promises A Lot, Not Yet Ready For Prime Time
San Jose (CA) - Digital videographers know the pain and drudgery of rendering video. Even on the fastest processors, rendering high definition H.264 footage can take minutes, even hours, but an upcoming product by Elemental Technologies promises to cut that time dramatically. Using the stream processing power of Nvidia’s CUDA-enabled graphics cards, the Badaboom media converter will transcode video faster than real-time. But there’s a lot more work that needs to be done because in a demonstration at the NVISION conference in San Jose, Badaboom and the upcoming Elemental Technologies plug-in for Adobe Premiere crashed frequently and sometimes refused to process AVCHD video.
To be fair, the Steve Goffena with Elemental Technologies told us the product wasn’t yet finished and said the crashes were to be expected. The Badaboom media converter will come in two versions, one for standard definition content and the Badaboom Pro, which will transcode high definition video. Another attendee asked if the encoder could convert an AVCHD video (a favorite of many flash-based camcorders) into an Apple iPhone-friendly format. After several tries and crashes, the rep encoded the clip at around 14-17 frames a second. Sure it wasn’t a world record, but the task manager showed an impressive 6% CPU utilization during encoding.
Elemental Technologies is also working on a plug-in for Adobe Premiere that will move the encoding from the CPU to GPU. While this product is almost done, the rep could only show us the menu options within Adobe Premiere because the actual rendering engine wasn’t yet finished - so we could set all the options, pull-down menus and checkboxes, but when it came time to render the CPU was still doing the work. This was confirmed by the company rep and the 90%+ reading in the CPU utilization screen.
Goffena said his team is finishing up Badaboom and the Premiere plug-in and should release commercial versions later this year. You can download a beta version of Badaboom on Nvidia’s website, but according to Goffena the program will self-destruct on August 29th. Sadly, there are no plans for a Sony Vegas plug-in.
Even on an 8-core Skulltrail system, rendering long clips of HD H.264 can take quite a while (and god help you if you’re rendering out an entire Blu-Ray disc), so we really hope Elemental Technologies can pull this of.