These are my AME CC 2018 (12.1.1 | Build 12) settings. 0.30Mbps for 100 minutes (file size is the target). But my exported video has a bitrate of 2.9Mbps (and a 2.06GB file size to boot).
What has gone wrong here? Sure, VBR 2-pass would save me a few bits, but I can't fathom how this 10x size increase has happened. It should be 300kbps, not 3,000kbps. For peculiarities, I used hardware acceleration (QSV) and added a timecode. But besides that...this video is plain jane (recorded via OBS).
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Even the minimum bitrate is still 2x the target. Has anyone experienced this issue?
And, for what it's worth, I ran it again on a much smaller portion of the file (~5 seconds). It's still 10x the bitrate (and thus 10x the size).
Found the answer: the "hardware accelerated" (Quick Sync Video) dribble: beyond worthless for lower bit rates. Switching to software only fixed it right up with the output bit rates actually matching the specified bit rates.
Hopefully this can help others.