I’ve been saying it for most of the past decade: When it comes to managing and manipulating digital video you really only need three tools in your day-to-day life: yes, you need Adobe Photoshop; yes, you need your NLE; and yes you need Sorenson Squeeze. The latest version 9 is the first major update in a year and a half, and the most significant revision to the world’s most versatile transcoding tool since v6 three years ago
Among its new features Squeeze 9 offers extensive HTML5 video capabilities supported by all the major platforms and browsers. As creators of content we understand that HTML5 dominates today’s web video scene; incorporating a tag that allows native playback without resorting to auxiliary players or plug-ins like Flash. The HTML5 spec includes various playout options at full-screen or at reduced sizes so a tool like Squeeze that can handle the full spectrum is all the more imperative. In Squeeze 9 HTML5’s very sophisticated algorithms are linked deceptively to a single preset to keep the transcoding process simple for most users.
Supports nearly every video codecknown to man
True to form Squeeze 9 PRO supports nearly every video codec known to man from ProRes 444 to MXF and WebM meaning this is a tool that will see frequent and continuous use in a wide range of workflows. Sorenson cites quality not speed as the company’s primary focus, as the industry’s most popular codecs like H.264 and the enhanced spec in X.264 are tweaked for optimized output. Not incidentally in my own evaluations the H.264 tweaking has also resulted in greater speed, registering at least 3X – 4X higher output speed than the Adobe Media Encoder, and almost twice as fast as Sorenson’s own Squeeze 8 from a year or so ago.
Broadcasters have lamented the lack of closed-caption support in Squeeze. Version 9 has now implemented this support for types 608 and 708 and time code. Impressively a nifty new pre-roll & post-roll function enables assembly of multiple videos, say, an opening splash, program, and end credits in the concatenated output. For many producers this feature can improve efficiency when preparing a series of videos that share common assets. The feature is limited to one pre-roll video and one post-roll video, which is sufficient for most folks.
The Squeeze 9 interface may look simple but don’t let looks fool you. Easy is Hard. Sorenson doesn’t dumb down the tool to accommodate the broadest range of entry-level users. It makes the tool more intelligent.
That takes a lot of work. And a lot of intelligence.