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The Expression Encoder workflow

Microsoft Expression Encoder is an advanced audio/video-encoding and live-broadcasting application especially suited for generating content that takes full advantage of the rich graphic and interactive capability of Microsoft Silverlight playback scenarios. You can also generate Windows Media video and audio files that are optimized for other web playback scenarios, or appropriate for playback on portable devices.

The general workflow for creating an encoded file in Expression Encoder includes the following tasks:

  • Import your source video.

  • Modify your video.

  • Set preview and encoding options.

  • Choose an output format.

  • Upload video to your remote device.

Each of these tasks is explained in the following sections.

You begin your work by creating an encoding session, or job. A job can contain any number of imported videos. For example, you can create one job that consists only of car-racing videos, and you can create a second, separate job that consists only of boat-racing videos. You output each of these videos to its own target, which could be anything from a simple WMV file to a smooth-streaming, high-definition Silverlight presentation that includes a highly interactive, graphically rich template. You can create and save any number of jobs.

For more information about creating a job, see Importing your media.

Once you have imported all the videos that you want to process, you can trim or cut segments from them. You can also add clips such as leaders or trailers, markers, and script commands to them. You can perform other refining edits and processing adjustments, such as adding overlays or changing the volume level of audio.

For more information about modifying your media, see Editing your media.

Once you refine your media to your satisfaction, you can then set your output format and encoding options for each clip in the job. An output format specifies the container that will include your media, along with the codec type. Expression Encoder can output your media in the following audio and video formats:

  • Windows Media Video and Windows Media Audio.

  • MP4 and AAC.

  • IIS Smooth Streaming.

At this point, you have two choices. You can manually set your options, or you can use one of the many included presets to quickly set the key parameters for your video. Presets are preconfigured profiles that include format and encoding settings that are suitable for a wide variety of audience and playback scenarios.

If you want to choose your option manually, set your output format and other encoding options in the Encode panel. If you want to use presets, add one from the Presets tab.

For more information about using presets, see Create presets and Apply presets. For more information about output formats and encoding settings, see Encoding your media for streaming.

One key encoding option is the ability to encode using multiple streams. If you host your web site on a computer that has Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) 7, and the Smooth Streaming extension for IIS7, you can take advantage of the Smooth Streaming technology. You can use this technology to stream content to Silverlight clients that can dynamically adjust playback rates and quality to account for changes in bandwidth.

For more information about Smooth Streaming, see About IIS Smooth Streaming.

As you add settings, you can continually preview them by using the intelligent encoding and A/B Compare features in Expression Encoder to make sure that you are making the best decision for your project and for your audience.

For more information, see Using Intelligent Encoding and Compare encoding methods (A/B Compare).

Finally, when you have finished your modifications, you can encode your video. You have two choices of output methods: You can encode either with or without Silverlight templates.

For playback on the web, Expression Encoder is optimized to take advantage of the media capabilities of Silverlight. Silverlight is a technology that supports a true subset of the XML-based XAML. Silverlight lets you create next-generation, rich web client experiences, and delivers a lightweight client that supports vector graphics, 2D animation, rich audio and video integration, and a rich .NET Framework programming model. Silverlight is also cross-platform, supporting Windows Vista, Windows XP, and versions of Apple Macintosh OS X not earlier than 10.4.8. Silverlight works in different browsers, supporting playback in all versions of Windows Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari. Once you have encoded your media, you can publish it to your website using a variety of bit rates and even multiple streams.

If you encode with a template, you use default templates based on HTML or XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language) to create a Silverlight media playback experience that features graphically rich skins and unique interactivity. The output template feature is extensible; you can create your own well-formed templates from other development programs, such as Microsoft Expression Blend, and add them to Expression Encoder.

For more information about encoding a file for Silverlight, see the following topics:

You can also choose not to use a template and still create a high-quality .wmv or .wma file that can play back in media players such as Windows Media Player.

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For more information about Silverlight technology, see the Silverlight Home page and the Silverlight Community page.

Once you have created an encoded file, you have several options. You can post it to your blog or web page, or you can transfer it to your mobile device.

For more information, see Publish your media.

In addition to creating files, you can create and encode a live multimedia session that you can stream to users from your workstation, or from a Windows Media server. You can integrate multiple live and file-based sources into your broadcast. Expression Encoder will encode and output your presentation dynamically.

For more information, see Live Encoding.

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