TLDR: If you run a Mac using Apple Silicon, update
dramatically speed up your encodes.
Late last year I traded in my beloved iMac Pro for an
iMac Pro Portable
14" MacBook Pro. I cannot overstate how much I love this machine, and when
paired with the LG UltraFine 5K, it is actually a really phenomenal
setup. I have nearly all the benefits of my beloved iMac Pro, but I can
pick it up and move it without a ridiculous carrying case.
When I got the machine, one of the first things I tried, for speed-testing
purposes, was a
ffmpeg encode. As has been mentioned before,
ffmpeg constantly, either directly, or via Don Melton’s
Given this was my first Apple Silicon Mac, and I sprung for the M1 Max, I was super excited to see how fast transcodes were going to be on this new hotness.
I was sorely disappointed. It seemed that encodes were capped at a mere 2× — about 60fps.
As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one giving this some serious 🤨. I was
pointed to an issue in the repo for the aforementioned
repository. Many other people thought this looked really weird.
Thankfully, about a month ago,
ffmpeg patched as well. This was
eventually integrated into
ffmpeg version 5.0, which was released on 14 January.
However, I install most things using Homebrew, and the Homebrew formula
wasn’t updated. Using a neat trick that Homebrew supports, I was able
to grab and build the latest (read:
HEAD) version of
ffmpeg and get fast
encodes. However, if you’re not inclined to deal with stuff that fiddly,
as of yesterday, the
ffmpeg formula has been updated.
So, if you do any transcoding using
ffmpeg on your Apple Silicon Mac, now
is the time to do a
Before the new
ffmpeg goodies, I topped out encodes at about 2×. Now, using
the latest-and-greatest released version of
ffmpeg, I am getting quite a bit
more than that. On a test
mpeg2video file that I recorded using Channels,
I was able to get a full 10×. 🎉