Sorenson Squeeze Adds Workflow Enhancements

Sorenson Squeeze is a name well-known to video professionals. For many, it is the only go-to application for video encoding, as it has earned its reputation primarily for the advanced algorithms it uses to generate high-quality video encodes. So videophiles should be happy to learn that the software's next generation, Sorenson Squeeze 6, is available starting today. As with previous generations of Squeeze, the new version brings with it performance improvements, tweaks to the user interface, new filters, and more supported file formats. But perhaps the biggest change that Squeeze 6 brings is a new focus on workflow.

No matter how speedy your rig is, it still takes time to encode videos--depending on the project, it can often take hours. Squeeze frees you from checking your system periodically, by now sending you e-mail and SMS notifications when your job is done. Taking this even a step further, part of the workflow allows you to easily automate the process of uploading the encoded video to a number of online locations, including Akamai, Limelight, YouTube, and Sorenson Media's own Sorenson 360 Video Delivery Network. Squeeze 6 comes with a free one-year subscription to Sorenson 360 (when your free one-year subscription expires, the pricing for Sorenson 360 starts at $99 per month). You can also set the software to automatically send out a Tweet with a link for your newly-updated video on Sorenson 360.

A large part of the reason why Sorenson Media is including a free year of Sorenson 360 access, is to enable the new "Review and Approval Workflow" capabilities. Part of the Squeeze 6 workflow allows you to also add the e-mail addresses and mobile phone numbers of anyone you want to be notified when an encoded video has been uploaded to Sorenson 360--this could be a great way of notifying clients that a video is available for their feedback or approval. Access to these videos can be password protected, and can be viewed from a system's browser or even an iPhone. The e-mail or text notification that the client receives includes a link to a Sorenson 360 page that includes the video and a place for them to add comments and either approve or reject of the video. As soon as a client approves or rejects a video and provides comments, an e-mail or text alert gets sent back to you, notifying you of the client's response.

Of course, no new version of Squeeze would be complete without performance improvements. Sorenson Media claims that their own testing shows up to a 250-percent improvement in the time it takes to Squeeze 6 encode H.264 and VP6 video formats, compared to Sorenson Squeeze 5. (Both H.264 and VP6 video format support come standard with every version of Squeeze 6--VP6 used to only come with the Pro version of the software.) During a phone conference we had with the Sorenson Media folks, we were also told that they were seeing up to a 500-percent speed increase with a pre-release version of Squeeze 6 in both VP6 and Flash encoding, over Squeeze 5.

Some other improvements that Squeeze 6 brings are new video filters, such as "blur, RGB, tint, white balance and timecode." Squeeze 6 now also acts an integrated QuickTime Exporter, so you can now encode to Squeeze directly from within any application that supports the QuickTime Exporter--such as Final Cut Pro, iMovie, or Avid apps--without having to actually launch Squeeze as a separate application. Starting today, Sorenson Media is also launching a new Preset Exchange:

"To coincide with the release of Squeeze 6, Sorenson Media has also launched an innovative new Preset Exchange, an online repository of professional 'video encoding recipes' or presets. The presets in the Exchange have been created by top industry compression experts, thereby providing Squeeze 6 users with direct access to the same encoding tools used by seasoned encoding professionals to get the best
quality out of their encoding processes. Because the Preset Exchange is seamlessly integrated with Squeeze 6, users can instantly import new presets into Squeeze by clicking 'Install' on the Preset Exchange Web site."

Squeeze 6 is available now in both Windows and Mac versions. With a price tag of $799 for Squeeze 6 and $399 for Squeeze 6 for Flash, the software is still geared very much towards the video professional and video enthusiasts with deep pockets. Users of older versions of Squeeze are eligible for discounts--Squeeze 5 Pro users can upgrade to Squeeze 6 for $199. The free one-year subscription to Sorenson 360 includes 5GB of storage, 100 streams per month, and video lengths up to 30 minutes.

Correction: Upgrades to Squeeze 6 from previous versions of Squeeze start at $199, and not $99 as originally stated in this news story. The story above has been corrected.