The GPU Streamlines Video Creation

Twenty-four hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Whether it’s a cat taking a shower, a make-up tutorial, or the next Beyoncé singing her heart out, home video is incredibly popular.

It’s a testament to the fact that it's cheaper than ever to create high definition video. Compact camcorders cost less than $150, and even some cell phones can record in HD. Windows and MacOS both have tools to for making DVDs, and low cost solutions now exist for creating Blu-ray discs.

If you've recently joined the videographing masses, however, you've probably discovered that editing and converting your footage can be painfully slow. But with an AMD Radeon GPU installed, you can reduce the processing time substantially. With GPU processing, you'll also see image quality enhancements, including noise reduction, color correction and proper scaling to the target resolution.

Video files can become very large, so they’re almost always compressed to save space. The variety of different compression formats can be confusing, although relatively few formats are commonly used. MPEG-2 is used to create DVD and sometimes Blu-ray. MPEG-4 and its most important variant, H.264, is for web video and some handheld devices. Occasionally, you’ll see Microsoft’s VC-1 used for high definition playback.

Different compression schemes encode video differently, so video needs to be "transcoded," which means using software to take a video that's encoded and compressed in the camera's format, decode it, then re-encode and re-compresses the video so it's ready to save on a DVD or upload onto YouTube.

It's a resource-hogging job, but the GPU is the ideal tool to do it. For example, compressing a high definition, 1080p video down to a format usable on Apple’s iPhone using an AMD Radeon GPU is noticeably faster (depending on the GPU model) than on the fastest quad core CPUs.

To keep up with the increasing prevalence of low cost, high definition camcorders, developers are continually creating easy-to-use software tools to streamline the transcoding process. AMD’s own Avivo Video Converter or Cyberlink’s Media Espresso make converting videos a snap.

Video editing tools, such as Adobe’s Premiere Elements, help budding videographers design and edit professional-looking videos. AMD Radeon GPUs accelerate transitions and some filters, enabling speedier editing and quicker previews.

With video hardware cheaper than ever, and AMD Radeon GPU technology and software enabling fast conversion of video formats, you can easily preserve your video memories on YouTube, on your mobile device, or even on old fashioned, disc-based media. So what are you waiting for? There are loads of dancing babies, singing cats, and flailing skateboarders out there just begging to be immortalized.

[ This sponsored article was written by IDG Creative Lab, a partner of PCWorld. ]

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