Sorenson Squeeze 8 Review

Our review of Sorenson Squeeze 8 is similar to our previous review of Squeeze 7 and much of what we wrote still applies to Squeeze 8.   The latest rev of Sorenson Squeeze looks and feels the same and is an evolution of the professional compression suite with robust support for the most widely used codecs for broadcast, web and mobile platforms as well as physical media.  We'll focus on the new features versus the nuts and bults which you can read in our previous review.

There are a few new items in Squeeze 8. Sorenson says the H.264 CUDA GPU acceleration has been improved but we didn't notice any real speed difference in our tests. Squeeze 8 also offers the new x264 open source coded variation of the H.264 codec but we encountered some problems running it when doing batch renders. We're working with Sorenson's technical support to try and solve the problem.  We mostly encountered errors when encoding to 1080p with the built in YouTube presets using the x264 codec.  No other codecs gave us problems. 

Other new features include new PC adaptive bit-rate formats to complement the Apple presets and direct publishing to YouTube including the ability to set privacy options, keywords, categories, and comment options.   This offers some convenience but YouTube now makes it easy to upload multiple files and since it's own backend will do the encoding in the cloud you only need 1 HiRes master to upload per video.

In spite of a few hiccups Squeeze 8 still has the same elegant design with a simple workflow that produces excellent results. Import the source files, pick the codecs, FTP sites, do your tweaks and let it work.

Our test system this time around was a Supermicro 12 core workstation with a Quadro 2000. We were able to run renders with and without CUDA acceleration. You can check out a batch of renders in some common formats here. Since we didn't notice much a difference in speed using the GPU we tended to simply encode using the CPU only.  This approach also aleviated any concerns we had about the quality of the GPU acceleration being as good as the multipass encodes using the CPU only.   GPU only allows 2 pass encoding while CPU only allows 4 passes. 

New output formats can be added on the fly to a job in progress as well. That’s been a handy feature we use quite a bit. On a tight schedule we may get a request to have multiple copies of the same video in various formats for the approval process. We might stage the videos on YouTube in a high res H.264 while simultaneously having the legal team review a low quality WMV that’s email friendly and the web team prepage Web M versions for the new HTML corporate web site. Squeeze 8 makes this type of workflow easy, especially when it’s multiple videos and FTP sites involved. Render and upload time is always a good time to grab some food versus babysitting a computer.

We're not sure Squeeze 8 offers enough to make the move from Squeeze 7, however if you're new to programs like Squeeze or simply out of date, Squeeze 8 certainly is one of the best solutions in multiformat encoding and distribution management.  

Visit Sorenson Media for more information.