• Price When Reviewed: 250 . 65 . 111

  • Pros: Simple and intuitive interface, multiple export formats, high quality results, and cutting edge codec support.

  • Cons: There’s no Windows output for Mac users, no media viewer, and no direct upload facility.

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

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The latest version of Sorenson’s Squeeze Compression Suite takes a slight departure, looks-wise, from its predecessors. Although it retains the simplistic and intuitive workflow the interface is more akin to higher-end video solutions with dark windows sporting orange and white highlights. The result is an industrial and purposeful look.

An instruction manual is included as a PDF on CD. At over 160 pages the lack of a printed manual is a major oversight, especially for users new to Squeeze. However, the program is highly intuitive and anyone with a fraction of compression experience could probably be compressing a file within 10 minutes of opening the program.

 align=right border=0 /> </div>The Squeeze workflow is simple. You import a file (DV video footage, for example), add any filters it needs, choose the desired export formats (Windows Media, QuickTime, Real, Flash) and clicking the Squeeze It button. 
At this point some new tweaks become apparent. With previous versions of Squeeze, after starting compression the program was then tied up, unable to process any further work or line up new jobs. Thankfully Squeeze 4 has rectified this problem. With items stacked up to be compressed the program continues to function normally, leaving the user free to configure new compressions or use another application. 
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Other improvements in version 4 are complete, yet optional, controls over codecs (including data rates and resulting file sizes) as well as an in/out preview selector. This final feature allows speedy compression of the selected portion of source footage before committing to a full encode.
The biggest boast of Squeeze 4 is also its biggest letdown. While Squeeze 4 can compress files into a staggering array of formats (including the new H.264 AVC formats) it offers no facility to view the resulting files. Players for each format can be obtained but it would make more sense for Squeeze to include its own media viewer for this purpose. 
The other bad news for Mac users is the absence of a Windows Media export option (Microsoft having failed to make a SDK available). Finally, a direct upload facility – to allow users to send compressed files straight to their Web sites – would be helpful.
Squeeze is simple and very effective, and remains one of the easiest compression suites to use and get quality results from. However, you can’t help feeling that with a little more effort, Sorenson could have turned a good product into an incredible one.
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