The software used to transcode or encode video footage can make or break the end-result. Sorenson Media has been an industry leader for many years in this market and the latest version of their latest flagship product, Squeeze 10, does not disappoint.
Squeeze 9 was a major breakthrough in terms of interface and some new features, but it also had one stubborn bug: when you transcoded 120fps clips, it insisted on converting the footage to 60fps. Squeeze 10 fixes this long-standing bug and comes with a bunch of nice new features, including preliminary support for 4K transcoding, HEVC/x265 encoding/decoding, multiple closed caption system support for insertion of closed captions, HLS encryption and audio-only support, multi-rate bundle encoding and simple format conversion.
The latter undoubtedly is an answer to apps like EditReady that offer a simple interface to transcode to one format only. Squeeze 10 offers simple transcoding (actually re-wrapping) to MP4, MOV and MKV. The biggest new feature you will want to use Squeeze 10 for is of course 4K transcoding. No other transcoding app delivers this yet, although Squeeze 10 only comes with preliminary support, meaning we will be seeing more presets in a future upgrade — and perhaps even an update.
The second big thing about Squeeze 10 is HEVC/x265 support. I don’t know of any online services supporting x265 yet, but it will become mainstream sooner rather than later and Squeeze 10 is ready for it.
Personally, what I noticed the most was the speed bump Squeeze has once again been given. The clips I threw at the app transcoded a good 10% to 15% faster than when running its predecessor. Of course, I also tested the new features, starting with the closed caption capabilities. Using MacCaption, I created several subtitles and captions. Squeeze 10 exported the .scc EIA-608/EIA-708 without a problem.
I then tested the new transcoding formats, one by one. There was only one I couldn’t view the end-result properly of, which was HEVC/x265. I tried viewing it in Telestream’s Switch, which has limited support for the new codec and it looked good but the app crashed whenever I tried to play the file or change the Inspector’s mode from inspecting to editing. The most important thing, however, is that Squeeze 10’s x265 support looks good and is pretty fast.
4K support preliminary?
The other codecs all performed as expected. Not surprisingly, 4K transcoding took a bit longer than other formats and is currently limited to H.264 and x265 with Sorenson Media’s representatives stressing the fact its support is preliminary. Well, the latter could very well be true, but after I tested a 2.7K/24p file to be upscaled and transcoded to 4K, I can only say it works really well. Even the upscaling part of my trial worked well. Running a real 4K through Squeeze 10 was of course just as flawless.
Squeeze 10 supports VP9, the successor of VP8 Flash and WebM. It’s the only transcoding app that supports this new codec as far as I know, and its resulting file was a Firefox webm binary that contained everything to play the clip in the Firefox and Chrome browsers. A HTML file for other browsers was generated too. In short, you can transcode to HTML5 video immediately to your FTP server — right from within Squeeze — and start playing that video when it’s uploaded.
Squeeze 10 strives to make transcoding less of a hassle in many different ways. For example, you can use a Multi-Rate Bundle Encoding preset. This automatically packages files for Apple HLS, Adobe Dynamic Streaming, MS Smooth Streaming and MPEG DASH downloads or any combination of these. It only encodes each data rate once and then packages the results into multiple formats without you having to intervene. This new feature saves quite some time and is unique for Squeeze 10.
Squeeze 10 integrates — as did the previous versions — with Sorenson Media’s own streaming video service, which when it was launched was primarily meant as an easy way to offer co-workers and clients an approval mechanism. However, Sorenson Media has re-branded the “360” service into “Squeeze Stream”, which sounds better and is a true online video delivery platform, complete with SEO, analytics and a WordPress plug-in. If you want to stream videos from your account you can embed code into a web page, much like when using Youtube. However, the quality is much, much better and the streaming not slower — and there are no ads!
Buying Squeeze 10 includes a subscription with 5GB free Squeeze Stream storage forever. Squeeze 10 is an absolute must if you regularly transcode video files. Squeeze 10 Pro, which is the version I tested, costs approx. €708.00. In return you get a product that is ready for the future and enables you to create polished video. In any format.