Sorenson Squeeze for Quicktime is a multimedia drag and drop application that allows
you to "squeeze" your large video files into much smaller compressed videos.
Sorenson Squeeze comes with Sorenson
Video 3 Pro,
the compression technology that Squeeze uses.
Squeeze is actually the answer to something that I've always wanted for video compression:
a background processing application that uses Sorenson Video compression. I used
to use Quicktime Player export for video compression, but that runs in the foreground,
taking all the CPU and not allowing you to do anything else until it's done. The
beauty of Squeeze is that you can drop your video onto the Squeeze window, choose
your compression settings, and then let the compression run in the background while
you continue to do other work.
In addition to Sorenson Video 3 Pro (SV3 Pro), other encoders that are included
with Squeeze are Qualcomm PureVoice, QDesign Music 2, Fraunhofer MP3, and IMA.0
The feature set for Squeeze includes the features of Sorenson Video 3.1 Pro, and
for One-Pass Variable Bit Rate (VBR) Compression
for Two-Pass VBR
Presets (Squeeze includes optimized presets for connections ranging from modem to
high-quality CD delivery. Squeeze also lets advanced users customize their settings.)
Capture (Squeeze captures digital video through any DV source, whether it is a digital
video camera or an analog-to-digital converter.)
Processing through Watch Folders
Filters (includes Fade in/out, smoothing, noise reduction, and more.)
for QuickTime .MOV movie files.
The first thing I discovered is that Squeeze is not really a true drag and drop Mac
application. When you open the Squeeze application, you get the standard open file
dialog to choose a video to compress. If you cancel the dialog, you get no window
at all, just the Squeeze menus. Granted, you can drag a video file onto the Squeeze
application icon, and Squeeze will open up that video. However, once you have the
Squeeze window up, you cannot drag another video onto the window (which is what I
would expect of a true drag and drop application). You must either drag the file
to the application icon, or use the Squeeze menu to open the file.
Once a video is opened, the standard Squeeze window is displayed.
Sorenson Squeeze Window
The toolbar at the
top displays a series of presets, including the last "Custom" button which
lets you create your own compression settings. The left side of the window contains
the video you are compressing, and the right side displays the list of compression
settings (you can choose more than one). In the example above, the "Broadband
Hi" preset was selected, resulting with the setting values listed under "Squeeze
The interface is very simple, yet in many ways, quite awkward. For example, when
I clicked on "Custom", I expected a new window to open up that allowed
me to customize the settings. Instead, it simply adds the default custom settings
to the Summary list. Upon reading the PDF User Guide that comes with Squeeze, I learned
that you must double-click the custom button to open the advanced settings windows
where you can change the different settings. In fact, you can double-click any of
the presets and alter the settings. The negative about that is that if you change
a preset button, there is no revert. The only way to get those settings back is to
quit the Squeeze application, and then come back in. Also noticeably absent was any
preferences. It would be nice to be able to adjust the Custom settings to a value
that I could use for future Squeeze sessions, but everything you change, including
the Custom button changes, are all lost once you quit the application.
The presets are pretty good shortcuts for those who don't want to fuss with the compression
settings. You can choose from a variety of presets, ranging from Modem (smallest
file size) to CD High Quality (largest). For example, for Modem settings, Squeeze
uses SV3 Pro video compression, 160 by 120 pixels in size, 1:3 frame rate ratio,
48 kbps video rate, and QDesign mono audio compression at 16 kbps audio rate. For
CD HQ settings, it uses SV3 Pro video compression, 640 by 480 pixels in size, 1:1
frame rate ratio, 1600 kbps video rate, and IMS stereo audio compression at 352 kbps
audio rate. A 27 MB raw digital video file compressed to 72 KB in a matter of seconds
for the Modem preset, and to 1.9 MB in a couple of minutes for the CD HQ settings.
The quality of the output in both cases was excellent, and to compress the file down
to 72 KB for emailing over a modem almost seems like a miracle.
Another interface issue I had on the output, however, was that there is no save dialog
to let me choose the location or filename of the output file. Squeeze automatically
saves the output into the same directory as the original, and automatically names
the file according to which preset is selected (for example, MyVideo.mov would be
saved as MyVideo_Modem.mov using the Modem preset).
As promised, the video compression did occur in the background, which allowed me
to continue writing this review while the test files were being compressed. You can
even speed up the compression by double-clicking the preset and changing the compression
method from Sorenson 2-Pass VBR to 1-Pass VBR. The compression is faster and the
video quality is still great, but the file sizes are a little bigger. For example,
instead of the 72KB Modem movie, it created a 104KB movie. On the other hand, the
CD HQ went from 1.9MB to 1.3MB (actually smaller using the 1-pass). I don't understand
VBR technology well enough to make heads or tails of that. Experimentation may be
the best teacher.
Below is the results of the Modem preset using the 2-pass VBR compression:
Sorenson Squeeze is a Macintosh gem (and it is cross-platform, so Windows users can
use it as well). The basic functionality of compression large video files to much
smaller files while retaining great quality is like magic, and the ability to do
this in the background adds to your productivity. The preset buttons are great shortcuts
for users that don't want or need to learn about compression settings. The interface,
however, can really be improved. It almost feels as though the interface for the
application was thrown together in haste. It should be noted that this is a 1.0 release,
so hopefully subsequent releases will bring the interface more in line with being
a Mac savvy application.
The bottom line is that the program works, and works well. Squeeze does wonders for
compressing your videos, allowing you to easily share them with friends or burn them
on CDs. Because Squeeze uses SV3 Pro technology, the results are small files with
great quality video. I highly recommend Squeeze for video experts and novices alike.
Even if you already have SV3 Pro, it's worth getting Squeeze for the added benefit
of background processing and preset settings.
- Compresses large
video files to small manageable files retaining great quality
- Supports background
- Preset buttons are
great shortcuts for video novices and experts alike
- Does not support
dragging a video file onto Squeeze window
- There is no revert
when changing settings of preset buttons
- Does not allow you
to specify the name and location of your output files
3 1/2 out of 5 Mice
|Ease of Use
General System Requirements
PowerMac or better, or Pentium II PC or better
OS 9.1 thru X, or Windows 98, 2000, ME or XP