If you work with interlaced source footage, the quality of your deinterlacing filter is one of the key components to final compressed quality. Unfortunately for Sorenson Squeeze users, the quality of Squeeze’s deinterlacing filters prior to version 5.1 was subpar. If you knew about the problem, you could deinterlace in your editor when producing an intermediate file and avoid the problem. Otherwise, your overall quality was potentially degraded by jaggies like that shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Note the random jaggies on the lower right.
I’m happy to report that starting with version 5.1, Sorenson has largely resolved this issue. The updated deinterlacing filter isn’t perfect, but none are, and it’s on par with the quality produced by Premiere Pro.
What about Final Cut Studio? That’s a tougher issue for another day, because though Compressor’s Optical Flow technology produces outstanding quality, the glacial processing times make it commercially unusable for most projects. Other options are very close in quality to Premiere Pro, but again, I’ll detail those another day.
Back in Squeeze, note that the updated filter is available in version 5.1, which is currently a free download at www.sorensonmedia.com/downloads. The setting that produced the best results is shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2. Squeeze’s updated Deinterlace control.
I’ve included some examples comparing Squeeze 5.0, Squeeze 5.1, Premiere Pro and AfterEffects using the now off the market AlgoSuite plug-in, which is my gold standard. Note that these files are from an interlaced source torture test that I created a few years ago and use to test the deinterlacing features of streaming encoders. In terms of procedure, I input the file and produce a 640×480 file in either uncompressed format (like Apple Animation) or the highest quality compressed format supported by the tool.
Click each thumbnail to view the full screen image. You’ll see dramatic improvement between the newest Squeeze version (top left) and the older (bottom left), with Premiere Pro on the lower right and AlgoSuite on the upper right.
The only problem that I found was random blocks in one scene, as shown in Figure 3. These are extremely transient artifacts that most viewers wouldn’t notice, but they’re clear in the still frame shot.
In previous versions of Squeeze, jaggy artifacts were so prevalent that it was tough to recommend deinterlacing in Squeeze. With the update, I would deinterlace where it was most convenient, and not work around this deficit as I have in the past.