Sorenson Media, the folks who specialize in video compression and Web streaming services, are demoing Sorenson Squeeze, the first Variable Bit Rate (VBR) compression application for QuickTime 5 on Mac OS X. Sorenson Squeeze allows you to encode and deliver high-quality QuickTime media for streaming and progressive downloads.
Squeeze exposes many of the advanced features of Sorenson Video 3 that were previously only available to users through Media 100’s Cleaner, a feature-rich sophisticated video compression tool for the professional user, according to Ammen Harper, Sorenson director of product management.
“We’re not positioning Squeeze as a Cleaner replacement,” he told MacCentral. “Cleaner is targeted to pro users. We’re targeting Squeeze at non-professionals, with its simplified work flow and presets that automate many tasks.”
Compression tools aren’t intuitive or easy to use for the average user, Harper said. However, Squeeze doesn’t require in-depth knowledge of compression technology and provides a simple interface for intelligent audio and video compression.
For beginners, its drag-and-drop interface makes intelligent compression of audio and video media as simple as selecting a data rate, Harper said. Squeeze’s main interface includes eight buttons that correspond to preset connection speeds. All you need to do is select the correct speed for your intended audience, drag the button into the “work basket,” and click the compress button. Squeeze’s video analysis evaluates the clip and automatically selects the compression parameters to create the highest quality video possible.
Squeeze also offers some features that should interest professional multimedia producers. By clicking any of the data rate buttons, you view a dialog box containing complete access to fully adjustable advanced settings. You can save these adjustments to the interface as custom setting buttons. Once custom settings are saved, you can drag-and-drop the button into the work basket and Sorenson Squeeze does the rest.
“Because of the simplified workflow that Sorenson Squeeze provides, more people can create great looking video for the Web,” said Jim Sorenson Jr., CEO of Sorenson Media. “We’re also pleased to be the first company to offer a VBR compression application for Mac OS X and QuickTime 5.”
Squeeze offers two-pass VBR and fast-pass VBR and audio VBR for MP3 encoding. The former produces higher-quality video than standard compression with only slightly more processing time. The latter reduces processing time to non-VBR standards, while delivering only slightly lower quality than two-pass VBR compression.
Squeeze provides batch processing for optimizing workflow, allowing users to group files together to be encoded in order. This eliminates the need to start the encoding process manually for each file.
A/V filters gives users maximum flexibility with advanced control of audio/video parameters, including scaling, contrast and brightness, gamma correction, and black-and-white restoration, Harper said. Deinterlacing allows users to remove the interlacing artifacts left by the two fields per frame nature of conventional video.
Multi-processor support leverages the processing power of multiple computers. Its multiple data rate presets includes optimized presets for connections ranging from modems to LAN and high-bandwidth Internet connections (56K, 112K, 256K, 384K, 768K, 1000K). Its inputs include AVI, MOV and DV.
Squeeze is built on Sorenson Media’s Automated Compression Engine (ACE). ACE is a middleware software engine that simplifies the task of compressing audio and video for both progressive download and streaming delivery, Sorenson said. ACE is available for OEM (original equipment manufacturer) licensing and allows third-party software developers to build high-quality streaming media products without having to understand the intricacies of audio and video compression, he added.
Telestream is one of several partners integrating ACE into their products. Telestream’s FlipFactory is an enterprise-level solution that encodes and delivers media in multiple streaming formats.
“Our products are about simplifying the compression workflow,” said Shawn Carnahan, CTO of Telestream. “Sorenson Media’s ACE is a perfect fit to integrate into our products because it allows us to marry Sorenson’s industry-leading video quality in a way that works perfectly within FlipFactory’s world-leading compression automation solutions.”
The video encoders supported in Sorenson Squeeze include both Sorenson Video 3 and Sorenson MPEG 4. The audio encoders will include Qualcomm PureVoice, QDesign Music 2, Fraunhofer MP3, and IMA 4. Sorenson Squeeze requires a Power Macintosh, Mac G3 or G4 with OS X, QuickTime 5, Sorenson Video 3 Pro, 64MB of RAM and 10MB available hard disk space. Since it’s Carbonized, it will work under Mac OS 9, but is being positioned as a Mac OS X application.
Squeeze will be available in both a standard and pro version. The latter will include Sorenson Video 3 and Sorenson MPEG 4. Due to be released in the fourth quarter of the year, pricing hasn’t yet been announced.
Sorenson will also be demonstrating their Vcast system at this week’s Macworld New York. Vcast, a new service that will let users to register online and send video (live or on-demand) to anyone in the world. And they say it fits in perfectly with Apple’s “digital lifestyle” focus. See our
April 5 article for details.
Video on demand (VOD) has been added to Vcast for video archiving and playback. The VOD feature will support QuickTime, RealPlayer and Windows Media Player.