H264 Video Encoding on Amazon's EC2

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Linux
Hardware
Movies

Stream #0 recently started looking at Amazon's EC2 computing offering. We created our first public AMI, based on Debian Squeeze, including FFmpeg and x264 pre-installed. Now that we can easily start instances with the necessary basics installed, it is time to compare the relative merits of the different instance sizes that Amazon offers.

EC2 Instances come in a variety of sizes, with different CPU and RAM capacities. We tested the 64-bit offerings, including the recently announced High-Memory Quadruple Extra Large instance.

Our test file was 5810 frames (a little over 4 minutes and 285MB) of the HD 1920x1080 MP4 AVI version of Big Buck Bunny. The FFmpeg transcode would convert this to H264 using the following 2-pass command:

>ffmpeg -y -i big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi -pass 1 -vcodec libx264 -vpre fastfirstpass -s 1920x1080 -b 2000k -bt 2000k -threads 0 -f mov -an /dev/null && ffmpeg -deinterlace -y -i big_buck_bunny_1080p_surround.avi -pass 2 -acodec libfaac -ab 128k -ac 2 -vcodec libx264 -vpre hq -s 1920x1080 -b 2000k -bt 2000k -threads 0 -f mov big_buck_bunny_1080p_stereo_x264.mov

Now let's look at how each EC2 instance performed.