Squeeze Play: Sorenson's New Encoding Suite Hits the Mark
With a brand-new interface, batch processing, output to major formats, and both high-definition and H.264 capability, the new Squeeze 4 Compression Suite marks Sorenson’s latest attempt to go after users who want a compression tool that doesn’t bind them to a single codec. It’s not scheduled to ship until the third quarter, but a look at the beta version released earlier this month indicates that Sorenson’s on the right track.
"We’re trying to appeal to a broader user base," says product manager Randon Morford. "The codec is the bait, but the application is the hook. We’ve got all the bait, all the codecs, but without a good hook, you’re not going to keep your customers."
While the HD additions won’t mean much in the streaming space, the interface and workflow upgrades are significant improvements, regardless of what formats your working with. Squeeze 4 still includes the familiar Watch folder—where you queue video files to be compressed— and Sorenson has added a Batch Tree window. When you drag an uncompressed video clip there, it appears as a Job, onto which you can drag any number of Intelligent Presets (which include format, frame rate, and HD options), as well as any of the four Filters (darken, lighten, generic Web, and VHS to Web). (See Figure 1)
You’re not limited to the Intelligent Presets, of course; by double-clicking on any of the formats, you can control data rate, frame size/rate, audio sample size/rate, and encoding method (CBR or VBR), or any other settings a particular codec allows. (See Figure 2)