Squeeze 6 – No, But Yes

After a few weeks testing with Sorenson Squeeze 6, I can say that I will upgrade my licenses.  I can’t say that it’s worth the money charged for an upgrade, and I’m not interested in the new “features.”  They fixed one bug that had made me crazy with the Main Concept H.264 codec.  They’ve zipped up the speed quite a bit.  Basically, when you have multiple licenses of a software and they decide that a bug fix should be a new version, your choices are to upgrade or let it pass and buy into something else.

Granted, I have Anystream Agility, Digital Rapids, Procoder and Flix Pro.  But I’ve put a few years into Squeeze and I still believe that it could be a Professional Level video encoding software in the future.

This is a continuation of my first run of tests for some specific problems:  see previous post to get caught up.

My testing was very specific to what we do, so YMMV.

Testing Runs

  • Source was Norah Jones “Chasing Pirates” downsized from an HDCAM capture.  YUY2 AVI.
  • Profile was three VP6 FLVs, three WM9 and four H.264 Main Concept.  All 2 pass.

The source file was exactly as I wanted it.  I don’t trust cropping, resizing, deinterlacing, inverse-telecine, gamma correction (or anything else you can name) to encoding software filters.  If you’re used to using Avisynth, you’ll know what I mean.

First speed run with Squeeze 5 – 2:48 video took ~51 minutes to encode.  I had Squeeze set to four Simultaneous Compressions (Maximum).  Squeeze was able to do the three WMV files at once, but could not do more than one VP6 or MP4 at a time.  About half of the 51 minutes was watching Squeeze slog through the last three H.264 encodes.

Next up, Squeeze 6 – the same 2:48 video took ~22:30 minutes on Squeeze 6.  VP6 is now multi-threaded but Main Concept is not, i.e. no simultaneous compressions.

Knowing what the “support” staff at Sorenson would say, I tried this with the Sorenson H.264 codec.  That did do simutaneous encodes but…the whole thing took longer.  Leading to my next test:

Main Concept H.264 vs. Sorenson H.264 – doing only the H.264 encodes, here’s the problem:  Sorenson H.264, running four encodes at a time, took 14 minutes.  Main Concept, running one at a time, took 6 minutes (with CABAC!).

Watch Folders – using Watch Folders should be a part of any Professional encoding software.  Squeeze has had them for quite a while.  Very often you had to use them.  If you tried to import 20 or 25 sources into Squeeze 5 it would (I assume) run out of memory and crash.  So on to the Watch Folder.  The problem there was: no simultaneous encodes.  Each file grinds through each encoding profile separately.  Using projects with up to 14 profiles, this can be a drag.  Many projects took three times as long to complete.

Sad to say, it’s exactly the same in Squeeze 6.  My hopes dashed again.

Conclusions

Improved:

  • Speed boost can be up to and over double.
  • fixed small bug with Main Concept sticking on the last few frames

Still the same:

  • Cannot create hinted QuickTime H.264 MOV
  • No support for Avisynth
  • Main Concept H.264 – no simutaneous encodes
  • Watch Folders – no simutaneous encodes.

If you are encoding a lot to a lot of different codecs, I do recommend that you buy Squeeze 6.  If you are using Squeeze 5, and have been happy with it, it’s probably not worth the upgrade.  For me, I’ll wait a bit for them to iron out any bugs that I haven’t run into yet, but it seems inevitable.

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William

Know lots of stuff about (mostly) meaningless things.

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