Squeeze 4.5 Compression Suite

Squeeze 4.5 Compression Suite

You can import multiple videos, assign compression settings to them, and go grab a coffee while Squeeze does its thing.


If you're creating video for the Internet, mobile devices, CD-ROM, or DVD, you know that the fun of editing stops when it comes time to compress your work. It's one of those things you hate to do because you usually need to make your file size as small as possible, which inevitably forces you to compromise video and sound quality. That's why it helps to have an application like Sorenson Squeeze, which specializes in compressing video. Version 4.5 of the Squeeze Compression Suite doesn't add any major new features to the last version we reviewed (3 out of 5 stars, May/06, p50), but it sports a few nips, tucks, and bug fixes, in addition to Universal binary support.


One mark of distinction is that Squeeze can now compress video into every major video format, including QuickTime, Flash, Real, and Windows Media. Squeeze also includes some high-quality commercial compression codecs, such as Sorenson Video 3 Pro (great for making videos that play in earlier versions of QuickTime) and the On2 VP6 Pro codec for Flash 8.


Squeeze's cluttered interface is actually easy to use. From a single window, you can import one or multiple videos to compress, choose from a long list of compression settings and effect filters to apply, and preview your final video. Squeeze provides dozens of compression settings for all formats, so you can get decent results without knowing a thing about compression. If you know what you're doing, you can also tweak and resave those settings to achieve even better quality.


Squeeze 4.5 compresses video faster than ever. On two Intel-based machines, a MacBook Pro and a Mac Pro, our tests finished two to three times faster than when using Squeeze 4.3. On a PowerPC-based Mac, the new Squeeze ran about 20 to 40 percent faster - not earth shattering, but a respectable step forward.


Against Apple's Compressor (part of the Final Cut Studio suite and Final Cut Express HD), Squeeze didn't measure up, speedwise. When we compressed a 2-minute HD video into H.264 format at a 1Mbps data rate on our Mac Pro, Squeeze used only 120 percent of the Mac's 400 percent total horsepower (a Mac Pro has a pair of dual-core processors; if all of the cores run at full capacity, you end up with 400 percent). Squeeze finished the job in 10 minutes and 30 seconds. Compressor did a better job of harnessing the Mac Pro's multiple cores, using about 230 percent of the total CPU power and finishing in 6 minutes and 41 seconds.


But wait; there's more to the speed story. In the test above, Squeeze and Compressor both delivered videos that looked soft and smudgy, so we tweaked the settings. We adjusted the Quality slider in Squeeze to produce a much sharper video, which, unexpectedly, took only 9 minutes to compress. We had to futz with a lot of confusing options in Compressor to get a similar quality boost, which doubled the compression time to more than 12 minutes.


Our main problem with Squeeze: It comes in three confusing - and expensive - flavors. A Flash-only version, Squeeze 4.5 for Flash, is $249 and includes the top-notch On2 VP6 Pro codec. The $499 Squeeze 4.5 Compression Suite compresses into all formats, but it curiously substitutes an inferior Spark codec for the VP6 one and also uses so-so codecs for Windows Media. Finally, Squeeze 4.5 PowerPack works in all formats and includes the better VP6 codec for Flash and a better Windows Media codec - but it costs a whopping $799.


The bottom line. Squeeze does a good job of simplifying the video compression process. We just wish Sorenson could deliver great codecs (especially for Flash) without digging so deep into our wallets.


COMPANY: Sorenson Media
CONTACT: www.sorensonmedia.com
PRICE: $249 to $799; $79 to $229 upgrade
REQUIREMENTS: G4 or Intel processor, Mac OS 10.3 or later, QuickTime 7 or later, 128 MB RAM; 90MB disk space
Improved software performance. Supports lots of video formats and codecs. Fixes sound popping/clicking bugs. Universal binary.
Doesn't exploit multicore CPUs. Expensive.





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Sorenson Squeeze is one of the most widely used video compression suites for both Macintosh and Windows users. The company has made it a point to keep the software compatible with the latest video file formats, and version 4.5 adds some new support.


techno rotari

Quality slider in Squeeze to produce a much sharper video, which, unexpectedly, took only 9 minutes to compress its very fast, and thats great. Try to use. Thanx.

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