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Sorenson Squeeze Pro 10 Review: More video transcode batch operations, plus newer codec support

Jon L. Jacobi | Jan. 15, 2015
Sorenson Squeeze Pro 10 isn't for the average consumer--at $749, it's far too expensive. However, for those who transcode videos on a regular basis, its batch processing, online review facility, and newfound support for HEVC (High Efficiency Video Codec, aka h.265) and Google's open format VP9 make it a very powerful tool. It has its foibles, but it's the real deal.

Sorenson Squeeze Pro 10 isn't for the average consumer — at $749, it's far too expensive. However, for those who transcode videos on a regular basis, its batch processing, online review facility, and newfound support for HEVC (High Efficiency Video Codec, aka h.265) and Google's open format VP9 make it a very powerful tool. It has its foibles, but it's the real deal.

Aside from adding support for HEVC and VP9, Squeeze's handiest new feature is its ability to encode once, then apply the various multimedia containers, such as MOV, MP4, and MKV. It's a handy time-saving feature, as is the ability to encode to different bit-rates within the same job which the program already possessed.

Using Squeeze is easy, and its interface is pleasing to the eye. It looks professional, which of course adds to its perceived value. The main window is laid out with input functions, output formats and filters in a pane to the right and the preview and jobs panes to the right. Generally speaking, you create a job by opening a file, then add output options either by selecting them and clicking the Apply button, or dragging them to the job. You can open existing files manually (drag and drop is supported), have the program automatically add files placed in a "watch" folder, or capture video from an AV source. 

Squeeze's output options, called Audience Presets, are pre-configured output templates for everything from cell phones to Blu-ray to YouTube. There are also filters such as sepia, de-interlace, watermark, time code, etc. Then there are the Publishing Options — a fancy name for uploading your finished videos to YouTube, Amazon S3, Akamai and other services. At the bottom of the options pane you'll find Notifications and Reviews — the local repository for the messages you receive about your encoding jobs from cohorts and clients who have seen them on Sorenson's Stream (née 360) online posting and reviewing service.

Squeeze 10 Pro is very fast-encoding, being multi-threaded and utilizing all available cores of your CPU for many jobs. However, in my hands-on, it took almost 45 seconds to load on my Core i7-3770/SSD-based system. The time bandit turned out to be loading the myriad VST plug-ins I have installed for my music creation software (DAWs). It's nice that Squeeze 10 Pro allows you to use VSTs to process the audio in your transcoding jobs, but it shouldn't waste time loading VST instruments, and it should be easier to disable them en masse. Currently, you must de-select them one at a time.

I ran into a few more foibles in my hands-on. For instance, while you can transcode OGG Theora and MKV, many such files didn't play back in the preview window. If VLC can do it, this isn't too much to ask. Also, Squeeze 10 supports Nvidia's Cuda hardware acceleration, but not AMD's UVD or VCE, nor Intel's Quick Sync.To be fair, these snags and omissions will affect relatively few users.

 

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