Sorenson Squeeze for QuickTime
by John B. Virata

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Sorenson Squeeze for QuickTime is a $299 compression tool that is built around the Sorenson Video 3 Professional codec. Squeeze enables you to compress your completed video projects into Apple's QuickTime format in a range of settings that you choose based on the delivery mechanism. Squeeze enables you to compress your video for delivery via Modem, ISDN, Broadband low, broadband, broadband hi, LAN, and CD. You can also capture your DV directly into Sorenson Squeeze and convert the DV files to QuickTime.

The audio encoders that ship with Squeeze include Qualcomm PureVoice, QDesign Music 2, Fraunhofer MP3, and IMA. Sorenson Squeeze can accept DV, MOV, and AVI files and outputs to QuickTime's Movie (MOV) format as well as Macromedia's Flash file formats. [an error occurred while processing this directive]
The Squeeze Filters window.

Sorenson Squeeze supports both one-pass and two-pass variable bit rate compression. One-pass VBR compression speeds up your processing time but gives you a lower-quality video file than two-pass VBR compression, which is slower, but gives you a higher quality video file. Squeeze analyzes the whole video before compressing it, determining what information is ideal for compressing and is most unnoticeable to the human eye. Sorenson recommends using the two-pass method only for progressive download movies. Sorenson Video is a interframe codec, which the manual says examines many frames based on their difference from the last, or preceding frame. This is different from intraframe, which compresses each frame separately and independent of the frames around it.
The Squeeze Settings window.


The Interface
The Squeeze interface features seven buttons that enable you to choose your target delivery medium. The buttons are Modem(64k), ISDN(120k), Broadband Lo(200k), Broadband(424k), Broadband Hi(896k), LAN/CD(1128k), and CD/HQ(1952k). When you select one of the specific buttons, Squeeze will compress your video for that particular distribution medium. You can also select several or all of the buttons and Squeeze will que up the compression engine and compress your video for each format, one at a time.
Click image to see a preset broadband low video

A Custom button is available that enables you to customize the compression settings for your particular application. Here you will find the Advanced settings window, where you can specify your video's data rates, frame rates, compression methods, and the frame size. For audio, you can specify data rates, sample rates, and channels (stereo, etc).
Click image to see a preset ISDN video

The Advanced settings window also enables you to tweak your video a bit before you "Squeeze it". You can modify your video's contrast, White restore, Black restore, Brightness, and Gamma. Other parameters that you can set include Fade in/out, which enables you to create black or white fade ins and outs at the start or end of your video; Smoothing, which is supposed to even out the blocky edges in low data rate video; audio normalization, video noise reduction, deinterlacing, White/Black restore,
The Squeeze Video noise reduction window


For film that is transferred to video, Squeeze offers an Inverse Telecine feature that enables you to remove the extra frames that are added when you convert film to video.
Click image to see a preset modem video


Audio
Squeeze supports Qualcomm PureVoice, QDesign Music 2, Fraunhofer MP3, and IMA.
Qualcomm PureVoice is designed to encode speech and other human voice applications. It compresses in both full compression at 9:1 (PureVoice Full rate) and half compression at 19:1 Qualcomm half-rate), and Optimize Compression for Streaming, for streaming audio over the Internet.
Fraunhofer MP3 enables you to encode audio in the MP3 format. It enables you to adjust the sample rate as well as the data rate.
Apple's IMA audio format compresses 16-bit audio at 4:1. It is best used when burning audio for playback on CD-ROM.
QDesign Music 2 is designed to encode audio for publishing broadcast quality sound for real time distribution on the Web, according to the manual. The audio can then be incorporated into any QuickTime compatible media file such as video and animation.

Sorenson Vcast
You must have a forum to show off your newly compressed videos, so, in an effort to alleviate this issue (not to mention sell more Squeeze), Sorenson offers Vcast, a live and on-demand webcasting service that enables you to deliver your compressed video to targeted audiences over the Web. Two services are available:
Vcast Video-on-Demand, which enables you to store your videos on a video server to which you give those who you wish to view the videos access to. This service starts at around $50 a month.
Vcast Live enables you to stream your live event to others in real time. Pricing for this service starts at $200. For more information on this service, visit www.sorenson.com
The Squeeze Cropping Window

First Impressions
Squeeze is a pretty handy application for compressing videos in both QuickTime movie and Macromedia Flash file formats. The batch processing capability as well as the multiple video file format support, and the capability to set your compression session to compress both to QuickTime and Flash is very cool. The video filters, plus the capability to crop your video to standard 4:3 as well as 16:9 aspect ratios can also come in handy in many situations. I did expect a little faster performance with Squeeze, given I tested the application on a dual G4 450 with 1GB RAM. I must also point out that the original source video file that Squeeze compressed, in three different formats, was a 73MB DV file.

Sorenson Squeeze runs on Windows 98/2000/ME/XP and Mac OS 9.1 or OS X and requires QuickTime 5. The Mac version requires a G3 processor or greater and 128MB RAM. The Windows version, which is a version 1 release, requires a Pentium-II PC or greater and 128MB RAM. Soresons Squeeze for Macromedia Flash MX is also available. For more information, visit www.sorenson.com




Related sites:Creative MacDigital ProducerDigital Video EditingDigital Webcast
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