Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sorenson Squeeze 6 Review

by Harry B. Miller III, A.C.E.

I keep wanting to like Sorenson Squeeze. It comes bundled with Avid Media Composer, so it adds to the value of the MC suite.

The current release, version 6, offers a plethora of options for input and output. These include .ac3, .vob, . wmv, .wma., aif,. avi,. mp4, .mp3, .m4v…. you get the idea. And the output formats additionally include Adobe Flash (but not Flash 10), Quicktime, and MPEG-2. Honestly, I don't know what half of these file types are. And that is Squeeze's biggest problem; there are so many options in selecting the correct input and output for video, that I find Squeeze barely usable.

As an example of the programs confusing complexity. It lists a series of output formats. These include "QuickTime (.mov)" and "QuickTime Export". I have no idea why these are different. When looking in the submenus I can tell there are different types of outputs (Quicktime Export seems to be more sound related). But what a confusing naming system.

When I look at the QuickTime (.mov) export formats, there are a series of preset outputs with names that again confuse more than enlighten. There is a "QT 1Mbps" and a "QT 360p (16x9)". The first is named with a data rate, the second is named with a frame size. Which is better, with the smaller file size? Who knows.

Generally I have two important tasks that I need from a program like Squeeze: output to DVD, and rip from a non-protected DVD. (As a side note, as much as I've tried to understand Flash for my website, the format is beyond me).

I did a comparison of Squeeze vs. my favorite DVD burning software, Toast by Roxio. I took a 4 minute Quicktime .mov, encoded as h.264, 24 fps. To setup, encode, burn, and verify the disk in Toast took 9.5 minutes. Squeeze took 19 minutes. The Toast DVD played flawlessly. The Squeeze disk kept dropping frames.

My second test was to extract the video from the same DVD. My preferred software for this task is Cinematize. It took 3:20 to rip, and the resultant DVCPro Quicktime looked excellent. Squeeze took 16 minutes to 480p format, and looked extremely compressed.

Finally I tried converting a QT from frame size 640x480 to 320x240. The 4 minute clip was 500 mb. Squeeze took 4.5 minutes, compressed the file to 13 mb, and resulted in very stuttery video. Quicktime Pro took 2 minutes to encode, reduced the file to 7 mb, and it looked fine.

Whenever I see a new version of software, I want to give it a try, and I want it to be better than what I have. I want to like Squeeze. But it isn't for me. This even though I have to use three programs to do the same thing (Toast, Cinematize, and Quicktime Pro).

I'm sure there are ways to get great results from Squeeze 6. I just don't know how.


Blogger Stuart Bass, A.C.E. said...

I have been using two methods to accelerate compression time. One is using the Elgato Turbo .264 (can be bought on Amazon). This USB device accelerates compression about 3 times. I believe Toast 10 recognizes it.

The super fast way if your using an 8 core CPU is to use Apple's Q-master with the Compressor. This bad boy allows you to distribute processing across all 8 cores or even other machines on a network. Over at Cougartown I saw them compression 22 minute HD shows for DVD's in 3 minutes.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think squeeze has to many presets.
Toast is exellent and very "home" user friendly but it didint have the options and power for good MPEG/DVD Encoding. But you have to know what your doing in Squeeze.

Sebastian D

5:51 AM  

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