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Jerry Hofmann takes a look at Squeeze 7

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CreativeCOW presents Jerry Hofmann takes a look at Squeeze 7 -- Sorenson Squeeze - NEW ! Review


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Sorenson Media has released yet another new and improved version of its venerable app, Squeeze. And once again, they've hit the ball out of the park with the release of Squeeze 7, keeping with the fresh new interface introduced with Squeeze 6. For more information, read my review of Squeeze 6 here: http://library.creativecow.net/articles/hofmann_jerry/squeeze_6_rev.php. If you're not familiar with Squeeze, take a ride on the Reading Railroad to this article which takes a very close look at the general interface, but here are the highlights.


Welcome to Squeeze 7
Welcome to Squeeze 7


A welcome screen includes information and links to videos that will get you started in no time at all, as well as the User Guide, GPU Guide, the Preset Exchange (where users share their best settings for free), Sorenson Media's blog, and Customer Support.


Squeeze 7 offers a clean and intuitive interface.
Squeeze 7 offers a clean and intuitive interface.


When you start Squeeze you're presented with a very intuitive and clean interface. It's so well organized; you can start encoding right away without even cracking a manual. Drag the preset, drag a filter if you'd like, add a destination, and click on the Squeeze It button! It's that easy. It's always been that easy with Sorenson too.

Sorenson Media has expanded the list of new features to include GPU acceleration (faster H.264 encoding with supported graphics cards) adaptive bitrate encoding - heretofore a very time consuming and intricate process to accomplish, and more.

Sorenson Media has always delivered value and performance, and this new version sets the bar even higher. Squeeze 7 now includes Flash, Apple ProRes, and MPEG Transport Streams to its existing input formats. New output formats include WebM, MPEG Transport Streams with H.264 and Dolby AC3 for broadcasters, MPEG-2 elementary streams for Blu-ray authoring with H.264 and VC-1, DVB for cable/satellite/terrestrial television, and some digital signage-specific formats. Squeeze 7 supports audio-only output formats such as Dolby's AC3, AAC, AIFF, M4A, MP3, Ogg, WAV, and WMA.

In addition to the Avid and FCP plugins, Squeeze 7 adds a new plug-in for Adobe Premiere Pro (compatible with Creative Suite versions 4 and 5). Squeeze 7 retains the feature of working with the Sorenson 360 Video Delivery Network.

The two most important new features from my point of view are the Adaptive adaptive bitrate encoding and the accelerated H.264 encoding available if you have a supported graphics card (more about that below).


Adaptive Bitrate Encoding!

Adaptive bitrate encoding creates a type of file set that adjusts playback encoding to match network and device speeds automatically). It used to take a lot of patience and expertise to create, not to mention multiple applications. No more! Squeeze 7 creates an adaptive bitrate file with ease. Streams created this way will always play smoothly no matter what the Internet traffic is doing, and no matter what the user's download speeds are, and the viewer is oblivious to any change in playback - it just works. Makes sense for longer web streams for sure. This workflow is targeted to playback on iOS devices: iPads and iPhones. This feature alone may make the upgrade a no brainer for many users.

Here's what the preset looks like:


The preset
The preset


GPU Acceleration!

If you have a supported graphics card you gain this feature. Squeeze is optimized for Nvidia's CUDA computing architecture. This means if you have a card with the CUDA spec, you'll encode H.264 files up to 3 times faster on a Quad-Core 2.83 Mac with an Nvidia Quadro 5000 GPU than Squeeze 6, which is relying only on your computer's CPU alone. Cool eh?

When Squeeze 7 encoding for H.264 begins, Squeeze analyzes your computer's speed and checks for the CUDA accelerated card. If it determines the card will be faster, it relies on it to do the encode all automatically.

So which cards tap into this powerful feature? I asked the good folks at Sorenson Media what they recommend and here's a current list:

"On the Mac Pro, I recommend the Quadro 4000.

On the PC, I recommend the GTX 460, GTX 470, GTX 480, or GTX 570 or GTX 580 in the consumer line, and for Quadros the Quadro 4000 or 5000."


Lesser cards with CUDA support will work, but the list above are the "heavy hitters" I'm told. You may already have a supported card if it's a fairly recent computer purchase.

Here's a link to further discussion on this topic: http://forum.sorensonmedia.com/forum/content.php?264-Mainconcept-H.264-AVC-CUDA/


Value and Pricing

Every feature of Squeeze 7 is included of course, including a full year of Sorenson 360 which I reviewed here: http://library.creativecow.net/articles/hofmann_jerry/sorenson360.php

Those two new features alone make the upgrade more than worth the price I think, and with the added support of Adobe NLE software, as well as a slew of new format support, Squeeze 7 hits a home run. As always, Sorenson is a value. It really can compete with much higher end solutions, and you'd have to spend in excess of about $15,000 to get more. An upgrade to Squeeze 7 starts at $199, depending on the version of Squeeze you're upgrading from, and new license of Squeeze 7 is only $799. In my book, this low pricing represents true value.

You can try it out for yourself for free! I love it when companies aren't afraid to let you try before you buy and you can download a version of Squeeze from Sorenson's site right now! Here's the link: https://www.sorensonmedia.com/try/squeeze Hitting it out of the ballpark has been Sorenson Media's way of doing business, and this version of Squeeze is no different. If you want to step up your encoding capabilities from the software that came with your NLE, Sorenson's Squeeze 7 should be at the top of your list. If you're already a Squeeze user, the upgrade is a no brainer especially if you have a CUDA supported graphics card. If you don't, and you do a lot of encoding, you might even consider a graphics card upgrade just to get this speedy (I do mean speedy) encoding as part of your toolbox.

All in all, this is a 5 COW rated piece of software from a company that never disappoints, gives tremendously good service when you're in trouble, and is no doubt, a 5 COW company!

-- Jerry Hofmann


Comments

Re: Jerry Hofmann takes a look at Squeeze 7
by Michel Gallone
Nice review, but I would like to see a very aggressive review with a point to point comparison with Episode pro for example
Thanks

Michel Gallone
Sowatt Music sàrl
Music Post and Shooting
http://sowattmusic.com
Re: Jerry Hofmann takes a look at Squeeze 7
by Jen Swartz
Robert- I understand your frustration and you are right, there is a 100 file queue limit in version 7 of squeeze desktop, so this would slow down your process significantly. For customers who need to encode over 100 files at a time like yourself, we have a number of products that may better fit your needs such as Squeeze Server.

I'd like to set up a time to chat so that way I can fully understand your situation and then we can figure out what your best options are. I definitely think we can save you some headache. You can reach me at:

jswartz@sorensonmedia.com
(801) 501-8617

Thanks,

Jen
Re: Jerry Hofmann takes a look at Squeeze 7
by Robert Davis
Nice Review, i like all the new codecs they added. I do still have 1 major complaint though. Sorenson's sales staff just confirmed that there is still a 100 File queue limit in version 7. This continues to wreak havoc on our work flow as we average a few hundred spots through DG systems a week. Having to wait on the first 100 to flip before loading the second batch has been troublesome (especially when loading clips in on friday).

Before anyone responds and says "Hey! just create a watch folder", please know that some of us need to be specific about sets of spots going out in a particular order, so watch folder is not friendly enough.

Any word on the FTP system uploading more than 1 file at a time? The multi stream conversion is great, but even when your converting say 4 files at once, it still only uploads 1 file at a time... so everything just gets jammed waiting on 1 file to deliver.
Re: Jerry Hofmann takes a look at Squeeze 7
by Pavel Koshevoy
The adaptive streaming preset UI is not well illustrated. If there is only one stream -- it's not adaptive. Add more streams and post a better screenshot. Or better yet post a screenshot of one of the bundled adaptive presets.


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