Archive for the ‘Sorenson Squeeze’ Category

H264 Profiles: Baseline, Main, High : In Sony Vegas and Sorenson Squeeze

Thursday, June 21st, 2012


  • For H264-based encoders, their configuration dialog typically offers a choice of Profiles, being Baseline, Main or High.  The default varies over varieties of encoder.  What do these mean exactly, and what guidance is there for choosing between them?
  • How do they influence things (encoding speed, quality, file-size) in practice?
  • What are their specific effects in Sony Vegas (my traditional workhorse) and Sorenson Squeeze (that I am currently experimenting with)?
    • Both of these applications offer (among their choices) CUDA-acceleration for H264 encoding.

The answer(s):

  • Profile controls the degree of sophistication in encoding and decoding.
  • It’s best to choose “High”
    • Baseline is the “cheap & nasty” variety, e.g. making no use of B-Frames.
    • Main is intermediate between Baseline and High.
    • High offers best compression, and is the typical profile for broadcast (BluRay and TV).

Experimentally, I found:

  • Within each encoding tool, viewed on its own:
    • Insignificant differences in encoding time and (perhaps to be expected) only marginal differences in file size.
      • Note: In my experiment I used MainConcept to compress HD 1920×1080 25p footage of a mid-shot of a lecturer in a static scene (himself moving undramatically in the context of static lighting and seen against a static and fairly neutral background).  Settings were for bitrates of 12Mbps average, 24Mbps maximum
  • Comparing the different tools:
    • Squeeze 8.5 took about twice as long as Sony Vegas 11 to encode to the same-specified (as far as I can deterimine) target.
  • I was unable to discern any difference in quality.  A quality measuring method would be useful here!

I have remaining uncertainties about specifying the number of reference-frames, both in general and in terms of how to do this in the various encoding applications.


Sorenson Squeeze 8.5 & Cineform: Issue & Fix (Preferences)

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

I installed Sorenson Squeeze 8.5 onto a [MacPro > BootCamp > Windows 7] machine.  I imported (by drag) one of my standard intermediate files, an AVI containing Cineform video and WAV audio for an HD 1920×1080 (square pixels) frame, progressive.  The image displayed in Squeeze looked squashed, reminiscent of an HDV 1440×1080 stretched-pixel image displayed using square pixels.  But as stated, the source pixels here were square.

The solution was to go in Squeeze’s Preferences and specify that the file-reader it should use for .avi files should be QuickTime, not DirectX etc.  Sounds like Squeeze has a long-standing affinity for QuickTime, which for me is reminiscent of my experiences with Boris RED etc.  Quelle nuisance!


Sorenson Squeeze CUDA Requirements

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
    • MainConcept H.264/AVC CUDA System Requirements
    • In order to take advantage of GPU acceleration of MainConcept H.264/AVC, the following is required:
      • Squeeze 7 or later.
      • NVIDIA video card with CUDA support (any GeForce 8, 9, 100, 200-series GPUs, Fermi, Tesla and Quadro with a minimum of 512 MB.
      • CUDA architecture 1.1 (any card except of 8800 GTS, 8800 Ultra, 8800 GTX and some Teslas and Quadros). CUDA architecture 1.0 to 1.3 implies a Tesla video card. CUDA architecture of 2.0 implies a Fermi video card.
        • I note that the exceptions do not appear to include my MacPro’s card, which is an 8800 GT (without an “S”, “Ultra” or “X” on the end)
      • Windows, XP, Vista, Windows 7 (32-bit/64-bit).
        • Minimum NVIDIA Driver version v196.21 (no Fermi support)
        • Minimum NVIDIA Driver version v196.47 (Fermi support)
      • OS X 10.5.7 or later.
        • Minimum NVIDIA CUDA Driver version 3.1.14
        • Minimum NVIDIA GPU Driver version (19.5.9f02)

Avid MC: Bundled Tools & Apps: Their Purpose

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

When you purchase Avid Media Composer, you also get a set of other applications, whose purpose (at least to the newbie) is not immediately obvious.  So I did some investigation and produced a summary of them, as below.  I have no experience of actually using them, I just trawled ReadMe files and (mostly) the web.  Here are my (interim) conclusions:

  • Avid TransferManager – Is e.g. for uploading to a Playback Server []
  • AMA – the camera-specific AMA Plugins (e.g. for Sony XDCAM) are no longer bundled with MC, you have to download and install them separately. []
  • Avid MetaSync automates the inclusion of metadata (expressed in suitable XML formats) into Avid editing systems, including synchronisation with video and audio. The metadata can be anything from subtitles / closed captioning to synchronized entertainments such as lightshows or simulator rides.   []
  • Avid MetaFuze’s primary, if not only purpose is to prep files for Media Composer use – an “outboard importer”.  Avid’s article at summarises it nicely.  Though bundled with Media Composer, it is also available free. That means for example that preprocessing work (e.g. generation of burnt-timecode proxies and online files) can be generated (e.g. in DNxHD) by anyone whether or not they have an Avid system.  Potentially then a great option for breaking up work into collaborative / parallel workflows. []
  • Sorenson Squeeze – a well-known compressor/encoder, bundled as part of Avid Media Composer (MC) but also an independent product in its own right. Avid MC5.5 specifies version v6.04 but further updates are available from Sorenson itself.  There is a free-to-Avid-users update from v6.x to v6.5.  The latest version is v7.0 (with CUDA).  Presumably these later versions are officially unsupported by Avid (but how much does that matter in practice?). []
  • Avid EDL Manager imports and exports EDL (in various flavours) – from/to a bin (e.g. thumbnails storyboard layout?) (or a Sequence or MXF file?).  It can be run stand-alone or from within Avid.  EDLs are somewhat of a hangover from the past, so it’s unlikely to be of much use in my case, but worth knowing about as an option, and as such still features in other people’s current workflows. []
  • Avid Film Scribe generates Cut Lists and Change Lists (used in transfer from video edit to film edit) in more contemporary formats than EDL, e.g. XML formats involved in VFX / DPX workflows (? I am on very unfamiliar ground here ?).  It can generate such formats from a Sequence and also it can be used to translate between some formats.[]
  • Avid Log Exchange (ALE) is an Avid log file format that has become a de facto standard in the post industry. It is a text-based metadata exchange format used in applications from telecine to standalone logging applications, and is supported by many NLEs.  The ALE format is based on a Comma or Tab -delimited file format. []
  • Avid After Effects EMP is (not a disruptive elctronic weapon but) an Avid-supplied plugin for Adobe After Effects allowing that application to use a DNA family video output box such as Mojo (“ordinaire”) or Nitris to provide External Monitor Preview (EMP) on a monitor.  Helpful in order to make use of that Avid box for the Adobe After Effects application, both for convenience and consistency.  Unfortunately it does not work with the more recent DX family, such as the Mojo DX box. []
  • The Avid DNA Diags application is for diagnostics on DNA family e.g. Mojo “ordinaire” (not DX) []
  • The Avid Quicktime Codecs extend QuickTime for encoding and decoding to/from Avid codecs such as DNxHD.  Essentially they add such formats to QuickTime on your system.  The LE codecs are “Light Edition” – only needed on systems where Avid is not already installed.   []
  • Avid Media Log is a standalone app supplied with Avid systems enabling assistants on non-Avid machines to select and log raw (as opposed to RAW) footage in a manner that can easily be transferred into an Avid session/system elsewhere, where the result appears as an Avid Project.  Apparently, Media Log is much like the digitize tool on Media Composer.  But I’ve never used that either… It can output e.g. to ALE (explained below) and hence e.g to other NLEs.  []
  • Misc “Avid Downloads” (?) Looking at  my Avid Downloads page, there is a much larger list of items than I expected, and suspect that many of them are not relevant.  For example, what is Avid Deko?  It’s listed on my Avid Downloads page, though I don’t know if I would be able to activate it, or whether it would be worth the trouble.  It’s listed as Deko 2200.  So I googled and YouTubed about it…  Impression: that version (2200) is very obsolete. []
  • On my web “travels”, I discovered a great article entitled “The Avid Ecosystem” at [], listing many of the resources for the Avid world: links, tutorials, filters, applications, training…
  • It’s helpful to see some of the above items in the context of illustrative workflows, e.g.:

Sorenson Squeeze (6.X): Usage

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

How to use Sorenson Squeeze:

  • The post-(free)-“purchase” Checkout webpage from Sorenson listed the following:
    • Getting Started With Squeeze
      • Watch our Getting Started Video to familiarize yourself with Sorenson Squeeze 7.
    • The Preset Exchange
      • Choose from a variety of useful encoding profiles and formats created by video experts and the Squeeze community.
    • Squeeze Forums
      • Join the Squeeze User Forums and get answers to commonly asked questions.
  • Further links:

Avid MC: Update 5.0-5.5: Sorenson Squeeze (Which Version?)

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Sorenson Squeeze – a well-known compressor/encoder, bundled as part of Avid Media Composer (MC) but also an independent product in its own right.

  • Avid specify a specific version but also it is available from Sorenson itself in various updates.
    • The MC 5.5.2 manifest specifies a specific version of Squeeze, namely 6.0.4.
    • I choose instead Sorenson’s own update for Avid users, namely v6.5.
      • The reasoning is below (under “More…”).
  • Also activated the “free MP3 Codec” bundled with Squeeze.


Avid MC: Update not to 5.5.1 but 5.5.2 (& Additional Apps eg Boris etc)

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Updating Avid Media Composer (MC) to v5.5.2:

  • I purchased an update from Avid Media Composer (MC) v5.0 to v5.5.
    • Actually I purchased PhraseFind, with which the MC 5.5 upgrade was bundled for free.
  • Following the purchase, I received an email with dowload links for PhraseFind and for MC 5.5.1.
  • I subsequently became aware that MC 5.5.1 had been superseded by an update to MC 5.5.2.
  • Two routes to this latest version were possible: update-patch or stanalone-install.
  • Advice from a “guru” on an Avid forum confirmed my instince: go for the standalone install.
  • I chose to follow that advice.
  • I downloaded a combined installer forMC 5.5.2 and PhraseFind.
  • Installation procedure:
    • First I uninstalled all Avid-associated software and started from scratch.
      • No need to deactivate before uninstall since I am using a dongle, not activation.
    • Installed the new MC version (with PhraseFind) with no problems.
    • Went about installing the Avid Production Suite applications, such as Boris, Sorenson Squeeze, Sonic DVD.
      • See separate posts on each of these items.