Review: Sorenson Squeeze 6

Studio Monthly by Scott Simmons

A huge upgrade, with many UI improvements for editors and other video pros who are not necessarily savvy compression artists when it comes to Web deliverables

This review of the new Sorenson Squeeze 6 is from an editor's point of view. Compression is very much a "dark art," as I have heard it called, with a lot of different factors going into what makes good (and fast) compression. A true compression artist weighs many factors when deciding on bit rate and image size and has studied the different speeds when compressing to different hard drives. I haven't really done any of those things; nor will I look at a specific compressed frame and compare artifacts from different codecs and competing applications for this review. As an editor and not a dedicated compression artist, I don't have the time or the desire to dive into that kind of minutiae when it comes to compressing video. It's more about finding usable settings that produce acceptable results for client viewing copies, DVDs or uploads to YouTube or Vimeo. There is some trial and error involved in getting the file size to image quality ratio just right, but once it's close, I tend to stick with those numbers. I'm currently using a modified iPhone preset for a number of HD projects that I am working on and that is producing good results for Web-based client approvals. While I do want good output from a compression utility, I also want a tool that is stable, functional and relatively easy to use. I've been having mixed results with the newest version of Apple Compressor, stability being the primary problem, so when Sorenson offered to send over a copy of the new version of Squeeze, I was happy to give it a try.

The first thing a veteran user of the old Squeeze will notice is that the interface has been updated but not entirely changed. It's a simple interface that will let a new user get to work right away. In the upper left corner of the application window, you'll see icons for three different input options: importing files, capturing from a device, and the very handy Watch Folder, which keeps an eye on a designated folder and automatically encodes media placed there. There are also tabbed panels listing all your presets, filters, publishing options and notifications running down the left side of the Squeeze 6's application window. The Preview window and Job window, where all your clips to be encoded will appear, are on the right. Operation is simple: Drag a clip into the Job window or click the Import File icon and the clip appears in the Job window. Then it's as simple as walking your way down the left side of the app to set up an encode. read more...

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