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Sorenson Squeeze 4.5 Compression SuiteVideo compression tool adds support for Blu Ray, HD DVD, PSP, 3GPP, and video iPod formats
Sorenson Squeeze is one of the most widely used video compression suites for both Macintosh and Windows users. The company has made it a point to keep the software compatible with the latest video file formats, and version 4.5 adds some new support. Virtually every video that I put up on Digital Media Net has been compressed with Sorenson Squeeze because it outputs high quality, is very easy to use, and supports the widest video file formats.
The company has updated the suite to version 4.5, adding some new features to this already robust video compression tool. As more and more devices have the capability to play back video, the video format choices have become wider, both at the high end with Blu Ray and HD DVD, as well as at the low end with video iPods, video capable cell phones PSPs, and other multimedia playback devices. We'll take a look at some of those new features as well as the interface in this review.
The Squeeze interface hasn't changed much so you can't get lost in it. Everything is laid out so you can be Squeezing videos after just a few clicks of the mouse. To Squeeze some videos, you first have to import the videos into the application. You can import files from a folder, a watch folder, or from a DV camera. After you import a file, your next step, if you choose to do so, is to apply a filter to the video file. Your choices here are Darken, Generic Web, Lighten, and VHS to Web.
These filters can be applied as is or you can go into the Filter Settings and make adjustments to such parameters as brightness, contrast, gamma, white restore, black restore, deinterlace and video noise reduction until you are satisfied with the result. You can also choose to normalize the audio and choose to add a video/audio fade in/out to the clip. There is also a filter preview slider that enables you to see the video looks before you apply a filter and after you apply the filter, a zoom tool for getting closer into the video for cropping. From the main preview window, you can change the aspect ratios from the Aspect pulldown menu, crop the video, zoom in and out, and move around the video using the move tool. In addition, you can also set in and out points to compress only the portion of the video that you need to compress, add a marker to create a new source.
|Blu Ray and HD DVD are now supported in Squeeze 4.5|
After you apply any filters, you choose your format and compression settings. Your choices here include a variety of settings and presets for MPEG-4, Macromedia Flash Movie files (SWF), Flash video (FLV), QuickTime (MOV), Windows Media Video (WMV), Real Media (RM), MPEG-1/2 (MPG), and MP3 audio. Squeeze has added some new settings in 4.5 that address some of the new devices that can playback video.
The application now supports Apple's H.264 format for outputting MPEG-4 or QuickTime files, offers video presets for 3GPP for cell phones and Sony's PlayStation Portable, as well as presets for Blu-Ray and HD-DVD file formats. Sorenson Squeeze 4.5 can also read and write metadata input for the more popular video formats, QuickTime, Windows Media, Flash, Real, MP3 and MP4. You simply choose a setting or series of settings from the Format and Compression Settings window, hit the apply button and Sorenson is ready to Squeeze the video files. Squeeze supports the following input and output formats:
aac, aacPlus, AIFF, ASF, AVI, DV, MOV, MP3, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WAV, WMA, WMV
3GPP, aacPlus, aac, AIFF, DV, DVD, FLV (Spark and VP6), MP3, MPA, MPG (MP1 and MP2), MP4 AVC (H.264), MPV, PSP, RM, SVCD, SWF, VCD, WAV, WMV
DVD Disc burning
Squeeze 4.5 has added the capability to burn a DVD with chapter markers created in Squeeze 4.5 right from the program. You don't have to Squeeze your videos in MPEG format and then take those files to an outside DVD burning application to get them onto DVD, as Squeeze 4.5 has added this capability to easily do just this. This is a timesaver especially when you want to just get the video files onto a disc quickly.
Sorenson Squeeze has always been the standard video compression tool for which others are judged. It is so good that it is my tool of choice for compressing videos for playback on DMN. The quality is always excellent, and the company has made version 4.5 faster than 4.3. Version 4.5 has also added support for the latest video formats, ranging from PSP and video iPod compatibility, to Blu Ray (Blu Ray NSTC, PAL, 720-60i, 1080 60i, and 1080 24p) and HD DVD (HD DVD 1080 24p) formats at the high end. No matter the format, the workflow is the same; import your video files, add any filters if necessary, choose the format and compression scheme and Squeeze it. It is really that simple. Sorenson Squeeze 4.5 Compression Suite is priced at $499. Upgrades for 4.x users is $79, while upgrades for 3.x and earlier users is $229. The application is available for both Windows and PowerPC and Intel based Macintosh computers. For more information, visit http://www.sorensonmedia.com/
John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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