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Squeeze Play: Sorenson's New Encoding Suite Hits the Mark

All of these changes can be applied locally to a single clip or globally to the entire contents of the Batch Tree window. "If you bring in three different videos you want to encode, you can drag and drop 56Kbps QuickTime on one, but also drag and drop Windows Media 384Kbps on the entire job," Morford says. Squeeze uses color differentiation to indicate which settings are global and which are local. When you click Squeeze It, the application begins compressing and applying filters from top to bottom in the Batch Tree window; while Squeeze is compressing a clip into one format, you can always make changes in the settings for formats it hasn’t gotten to yet.

Your clip is displayed in the Preview window, where you can zoom in and out as well as crop your frame. The window is detachable from the interface, so you can watch it full screen or even on another monitor; when you dock it back into the application, it resizes to fit the standard window size. You can also set in and out markers to do a test run: Select a few seconds of your video and highlight the format, then click Play Preview to see what it will look like. In previous versions of Squeeze, you had to remember to remove those in and out markers when you wanted to do your final compression. "I’d set something to encode overnight, walk away, and then come back in the morning to find out I’d only encoded three seconds," Morford says. Now, the preview markers only create a temporary file, and when you click Squeeze It, the application knows to encode the entire clip.

In our beta tests, we ran into no problems, and the compressions came off without a hitch. It compressed an 86.7MB, 27-second QuickTime movie into 384Kbps MPEG-4, Flash Video, QuickTime, Windows Media, and Real files. The QuickTime compression was the quickest, at 27 seconds, while the Windows Media file took 49 seconds, with negligible picture quality difference. The time and picture quality differential between Real, QuickTime, and Windows encodes at 1080 HD was similarly close. It’s too early to draw any solid conclusions—we’ll run a full review upon its final release—but all the signs point toward Squeeze 4 becoming an even bigger player in the encoding space.

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