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PapaJohn
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PapaJohn's Newsletter #166

Expression Encoder


The final release of the new Expression Encoder was Sept 5th. A quick look-over shows some changes since the previous May 07 preview edition.

  • The name Expression Media Encoder caused some confusion with the similarly named Expression Media, so the encoder's official name is now Expression Encoder.
  • Live Encoding ModeThere's a totally new workspace... press the 'Live encoding mode' button to go from the encoding/Silverlight package production environment to a TV studio-like setup where you can stream video from your camcorder to the internet... mixing content from various live and video library sources. Press 'Exit Live Mode' to return to the file encoding mode.
  • The help document comes with it instead of being a separate download. 
  • The help file says it supports more file formats... such as .mod and .mov
  • One Help menu choice is a link to an 'Online Community'.... the Expression Media Encoder newsgroup
  • The 'Clean' Silverlight template is back from the earlier beta version... having been skipped in the RC version.
  • The preview version is limited to 60 days... a fully registered key is needed to continue beyond then.

Here's the link to get it...

http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/overview.aspx?key=media  

The downloaded file is Encoder.en.msi, an 8-1/2 MB installation file. On the first try I was told to uninstall the previous version and rerun the setup. I'm doing this on my XP laptop system, not my Vista one.

The Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs... had two items, one the Microsoft Expression Media Encoder and the other the recent Microsoft Expression Media Encoder Preview Update.... I removed the Encoder first and then the update... maybe I should have done it in the other order as my system crashed totally at the 100% point of the first uninstall... coincidence??... rebooting showed it not in the Control Panel list, so I did the Update removal....

The uninstalls left a folder of 18 profiles and the EMEGuide.doc under the Media Encoder 1.0 folder, which didn't interfere with the new installation.


Supported File FormatsThe second try at the install went well... giving me the 60 day trial version. The install went into a new c:\Program Files\Microsoft Expression\Encoder 1.0 folder... 

The help file lists the video file formats supported... note the asterisked items that need QuickTime or an MPEG-2 decoder.

New to the list since my newsletter #148 about the first beta release of the Encoder are .3g2, .3gp, .dv, .mod, .mov, and .m4p video formats and .m4A, m4B, and .bwf audio formats.

The folder of templates had a new one named 'Clean'... in addition to the 14 that were in the previous release candidate (RC) version. I rendered a sample video with it and added it to my website's set of Silverlight samples. 


I moved the folder of profiles from the previous release to the new installation... added or custom profiles can be used in addition to the included one, like with Movie Maker.


A couple quick checks showed all was well... a plain vanilla encode, followed by making a Silverlight package with the re-added 'Clean' template.

This newsletter won't be a tutorial... I'll take a closer look at selected items, including the Live encoding mode.

but first....

... a couple notes...


Notes...

'Truth Before Commerce' is an interesting concept that's nicely out of sync with today's marketing-oriented world, at least when it comes to providing objective reviews of software.

The image is a link to the Bright Hub alpha website, a Flatburger startup venture that I'm supporting.

Bright Hub

They used an extract from one of my emails as an accent on the new home page...

I ran into an issue with one of my hard drives this week, and it happens to have the master list of newsletter subscribers.... I've pieced together a new list, but it has 10 holes in it. If you hear a comment from someone who is on distribution, but didn't receive it... drop a note. Thanks.

I expect to get the hard drive back into operation.

.... back to the main topic...


Live Source Mode...

For this screen shot, I connected my mini-DV camcorder by firewire and turned it to the record mode for a live source. My other option is a Camtasia screen capture app, one I couldn't make appear in the Encoder. 

For file sources, I reached over to one of the files in my library. You can toggle among the sources when outputting a streaming video.

The Encoder is streaming the currently selected video out my port 8080... to whoever is tuned in. Select the option in the metadata area and it'll save an archive copy of the broadcast as a wmv file as it broadcasts. The path to one of my archive files is...

C:\Documents and Settings\PapaJohn\My Documents\Live stream archive 9-6-2007 1.05 AM.wmv

It feels like I'm in a broadcast control room at my local cable access TV station.

Expression Encoder - Live Source


Video Filters... Compatibility

Filter Compatability

We're all too familiar with issues with codecs when doing video encoding.

The compatibility list is somewhat comforting in being able to stop a specific filter from effecting the process without disabling any apps that use it.

The Tools > Options choice on the menu... in either mode... gets you to the list.

Linger over a line item to see the tooltip for the full path and file name....

The sort order is by Name, and you can't change it by clicking on any of the column headers.


Markers and Thumbnails

chaptersExiting Live mode, let's look at a couple selected features, starting with markers and thumbnails.

The Expression Encoder has a feature to set chapter points, and the Silverlight packages let viewers use them for control...

Set the markers at the frames you want, and then opt for thumbnails... at all markers or just selected ones. Checking the top option like I did selects them all.

Opt for thumbnails

When the file is playing in a Silverlight package such as the 'Clean' style, move your mouse over the upper part and the chapter points with thumbnails will appear... click on one to move to that part of the video. 


Image Overlays

Image OverlayIf your overlay image has a solid background, select the option to Use Transparent Background to remove it. This command samples the pixel color at the 0,0 coordinates of your image, which is in the upper-left corner, and removes that color from the image.

Here's a BMP image, a 3D URL on a blue background... the blueness turned transparent when the option was selected. This opens the making of such transparent overlays to all image apps that can make a solid color background. You don't need anything more than Paint.

Overlay on Blue


Conclusion and Closing... and What's Next?

I haven't had a chance to exercise the compatibility list items yet, as the Expression Encoder works well on both my XP and Vista laptops with whatever input files I use.

And there hasn't been any issues playing the online Silverlight packages produced by the Encoder.

I find the Help menu including a link to the newsgroup to be interesting, and a nice touch...   

PapaJohn


I look forward to comments and discussion about this and other newsletters on the forums at:

Windows Movie Makers.net

Have a great week...

PapaJohn

Movie Maker, Photo Story 3, DVD Maker, Expression Media - www.papajohn.org
Photo Story 2 - www.papajohn.org/PhotoStory2/PS.html


Products and Services

I'm involved in anything and everything that supports the users of Movie Maker and Photo Story, and adding more regularly. Some are free and others reasonably priced.


Radio and Podcasting

theDVShowTheDVShow is the only weekly Podcast having more useful information about desktop video editing and production than anywhere else on the Web. Digital video editing, nonlinear editing, streaming media, software releases, tutorials, business tips, technical help, download of the day and news on the latest products to make everything easier. It's where professional and consumer desktop video users go to stay on the cutting edge. 

Call the phone mail machine to get your technical question answered on the air... call (206)-203-3516

The radio broadcast is from Boston, and the website has downloadable podcast files. The June 19th 2005 podcast was the first 'bi-weekly' show with a segment about Movie Maker 2. The frequency of radio Q&A sessions about Movie Maker has fallen off as submitted questions are minimal.  Maybe Vista will perk it up a bit.


Do Amazing ThingsBooks

Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things (with its online companion on www.papajohn.org ), published by Microsoft Press...

Movie Maker 2 - Zero to Hero - with support on the publisher's forum -  Friends of Ed

Learning VirtualDub - published by Packt Publishing in April 2005, is the first book about VirtualDub software. I wrote the introductory chapter about downloading and setting up the software: VirtualDub, VDubMod and AVISynth.

Virtual Dub

A large percentage of book sales are of electronic copies. The Packt Publishing Website page  for the book provides a full table of contents and chapter summaries... and a link to a full free online copy of Chapter 3, Capture Preprocessing.


Magazines

MaximumPC

A six page article Making Movies with Vista was in the Spring 2007 Special Edition (page 78). It covered the movie making process from camcorder tape to viewing it on a standard video DVD.

The 2006 Summer Special edition included a 7 page tutorial Create a Ken Burns-Style Slideshow with Photo Story 3.

The November 2005 edition had a well done reworked 6 page reprint of the article about Movie Maker, starting on page 42 after the Happy 20th Birthday article for Windows.

The Winter 2005 quarterly special had a 7 page tutorial Make a Killer Home Movie with Maker 2. The special edition of the video made for it is  on my website as a file download.

Microsoft Home (online magazine)

I and others you'll recognize were interviewed for an article about Movie Maker for a  Microsoft Home magazine article... here's the link.


Websites

Movie Maker and Photo Story - www.papajohn.org - the site's goals are: doing amazing things, providing a detailed tutorial for PhotoStory 3, and helping you solve Movie Maker problems.

It's been expanded to include the version 6 of Movie Maker in Vista, along with the new Photo Gallery and DVD Maker apps.

PhotoStory 2 - www.papajohn.org/photostory2/PS2.html - a detailed tutorial about using the earlier version. It's been a long time since I've updated anything on it, but it still gets pretty good viewer traffic.


Online Support - Forums and Newsgroups

I'm a regular or moderator on many online forums and newsgroups, the key ones being:

Forums are open to all for viewing, but require registration of those who want to post. Moderators actively participate to ensure the forum discussions move forward and stay on track.

Movie Maker and Photo Story forums at Windows Movie Makers

SimplyDV

SimplyDV - for camcorder hardware and Apple, Windows, and any other video editing software. Include pictures in your posts to help explain them.

Newsgroups are wide open for all to view and post... moderation is collective by the participants.

Windows Vista newsgroup - microsoft.public.windows.vista.music_pictures_video

Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup - microsoft.public.windowsxp.moviemaker

Photo Story 2 newsgroup -  microsoft.public.plus

Photo Story 3 newsgroup -  microsoft.public.windowsxp.photos


Weekly Newsletters

Movie Maker/Photo Story newsletter. The subscription is $20 for 52 issues, and a link to subscribe is on the main page of  www.papajohn.org or the Products and Services page.

Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):

#167 - Sept 8 (open)

#168 - Sept 15 (open)

#169 - Sept 22 (open)

Newsletters issued more than 6 weeks ago are posted by Rob Morris to an Archive Site on his Windows Movie Makers' website. Links from my website pages to specific newsletters make it easier for viewers to see the content of both while browsing a topic.

Drop an email to suggest a newsletter subject...


Software

Add-On Transitions and Effects

Transition Maker 2  (TM2) is a utility for the ultimate in making your own personal and custom transitions for Movie Maker 2. It's a joint product from Patrick Leabo, the programmer, and myself.

I've beta tested some of the Pixelan packages , including the new packages for Vista, and think very highly of their people and products.

ProDAD's Adorage packages for Movie Maker 2 are additional sources of very professionally developed transitions and effects. Here are links

TransiitonsEffectsPackage for Movie Maker - Volume 1 

PapaJohn's Transitions - Volume 2

PapaJohn's Video Effects - Volume 3


Music

I use lots of professional background music for movies and stories created by Randon Myles, and act as his agent selling tunes. 

There are 62 tunes available from 4 of his many albums... at 99 cents per tune (MP3 or WMA format). Here's a Sample - 45 seconds from 'Groove 2'. The 4 albums are: In the Fields of the on-Feretin , Music for Film Volume III, the Emerald Way, and the Fourth Door.

I don't have a full set of online samples yet, but if you hear something you like in one of my videos, there's a good chance it was done by Randon. Send an email if you are interested.


Personal Database

With more info to manage, consider additional tools that help.

My personal database has been an ongoing project over many years, and is now available to others. A tutorial about using it is on the Managing > Personal Database page of my site, and more info is in the database package itself.

It's free for the asking to regular newsletter subscribers... send an email request and I'll return it with the zipped file, which is less than 1 MB.

To others it's $10. To order, use the button on the top of the Managing > Personal Database page.

On my list of things to do is a video tutorial about how to use it.


Online Galleries Neptune Gallery

neptune Mediashare is the preferred file download service for Movie Maker users... there's a  'PapaJohn Expert Zone' where I keep many of my samples and personal videos. 

Check it at N eptune and the Distributing > Neptune page of the website, where there's a developing tutorial about how to use the service.

Mydeo... and mydeo is the preferred video streaming service. Many of the video samples for newsletter are on it.

Normal sized photo stories stream as well as or better than movies.


Training

In conjunction with the Portage, Michigan library , I offer free training sessions about Movie Maker and Photo Story, an intro. session and a workshop.

Classes will resume at the end of summer, when schools re-open. We'll be re-inventing the topics offered, as the subject of Movie Maker doesn't draw very many... maybe topics such as making and uploading videos to YouTube, and vacation videos to Trip Advisor... using Movie Maker as the tool rather than the primary subject.


Other fee-based services

If you can't save a movie because your project has become too complex, e-mail a copy and I'll divide it into manageable sub-projects, and provide detailed instructions about how to render the parts and assemble them into your final movie. $49.95 (no cost if it's not the right solution or doesn't work) - for details, see the sidebar on the Problem Solving > Can't Save a Movie page of www.papajohn.org

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story training and support services start at $75 per hour - send an email -  PapaJohn@CharterMi.net and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with you to plan and implement them.

Wedding combo website/video packages - check the Living Projects section of the website for samples of what you can expect for the online portion of a package.


© 2007 - PapaJohn; Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

About John 'PapaJohn' Buechler from Microsoft.com
John 'PapaJohn' Buechler John "PapaJohn" Buechler, of Kalamazoo, Mich., goes by PapaJohn online. An avid user of Movie Maker since its first release, and a regular supporter of the community of Movie Maker users, John received a 2003 MVP award from Microsoft for that support. In March 2003, he started a comprehensive website about Movie Maker 2 at www.PapaJohn.org. He maintains the website, writes books and articles, teaches, and provides support services - all for the community of Movie Maker 2 users. An engineer by formal education, John is a computer database and multimedia expert by business and personal experience. He co-authored the first book about Movie Maker 2 and is actively working on a second one. You can find his advice in the Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup and in the Windows Movie Makers Forums.

This newsletter is republished with permission of John "PapaJohn" Buechler.
Please note that this is an archive of newsletters and some information may become outdated. PapaJohn, and the webmaster of this site, provides this information "AS IS" with no warranties.

Visit - PapaJohn's Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 Newsletter Index

 

 

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