Keith Combs' Blahg

Ramblings from another nerd on the grid

Expression Encoder Screen Capture 3 – HD screencast demonstration

Expression Encoder Screen Capture 3 – HD screencast demonstration

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image You’ve seen me do literally hundreds of Camtasia captured screencast demos.  One of the screencasts I did on Windows Server 2008 was captured using the Windows Media Encoder x64 product.  That product has now been depricated and the screencast below was captured with a new product called  Expression Encoder Screen Capture 3.  This product ships with and is designed to run with Expression Encoder 3.

This new screen capturing tool does a great job of capturing high quality work you might like to demonstrate via a blog or webpage.  The screencast below was captured where the source machine was running a display resolution of 1920x1200.  In the demo I also execute and run a Halo 3 720p HD video.  That Halo 3 video is 30fps and the data rate for the video is right at 6MB.  Try duplicating this capture with other products on the market or the internet.  Let me know how successful you were.  Grin.

The following demo requires the released version of Silverlight 3.  Install from http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/get-started/install/default.aspx.  I haven’t quite figured out the code to force that check in the blog post.  So for now, there’s a little manual human intervention required.  You can handle it.  Smiles.

The Demo

Download Location

If you want to download the Windows Media Video file that was produced by Expression Encoder 3, right mouse click the following link and SAVE TARGET AS to a location local to your machine.

http://msinetpub.vo.llnwd.net/d1/keithcombs/screencasts/ee3/CaptureDemo/EncoderCapture.wmv

Some Notes on the Source and Output

The captured file size ended up being slightly less than 800MB.  After selecting the Expression Encoder 3 VC-1 Screen profile and making some slight adjustments, I encoded to the Silverlight VC-1 format with a resulting file size of 40.5MB.  That’s some serious crunching and compression folks.

The most impressive aspect is the quality of output.  To truly appreciate this, run this screencast on a 24” monitor that has a native res of 1920x1200 and go full screen with the Silverlight 3 player control.  The full screen button shows up if you move your mouse into the lower portion of the player and the controls pop up.  The button I am referring to is bottom right.  When full screen on a 24” monitor, the clarity should be nearly perfect with very little blurriness, artifacting, or other noise.

If you are using a smaller LCD panel like I am at the moment (15.4” laptop LCD at 1680x1050), you will see some blurriness but it should not be too bad.  I haven’t yet decided what ot use in the future for my recordings so feedback now would be VERY welcome.

Since the data rate for this screencast is 4MB, those of you with slower internet connection may see some issues with playback buffering before the file is progressively downloaded.  I am not using the adaptive bitrate streaming for this example.

Software locations

Be sure to install the released version of Silverlight 3 at http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/get-started/install/default.aspx.  After that, be sure to download the trial versions of the Expression Suite 3 products at http://www.microsoft.com/expression/try-it/#PageTop when they come out (soon).  Expression Blend 3 with Sketchflow is available now.

Other References

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  • What codec does it use for screen capture? WMV screen codec?

  • Someone,

    Here's the answer from the http://blogs.msdn.com/expressionencoder/ blog"

    "One of the benefits of our new implementation is that we capture to a light weight intermediate CODEC, developed by Microsoft Research, rather than attempting to capture and encode directly to VC-1 or H.264."

  • Great job!  Thanks for sharing!!!  I can't wait to try it out myself.

  • Time Warner Road Runner (Wisconsin) now disallows transferring files larger then 20MB.

    This recently caused me to fail to receive technical support from Microsoft as I could not send a screen captured video even when remade into the smallest series of parts required to convey the problem to technical support.

    If Microsoft intends to continue to try to earn money selling media software I seriously suggest the company use its considerable clout to bring attention to this matter that the scum companies like Time Warner Road Runner and the other scum cable companies are disallowing people to transder files over the Internet.

  • Clinton,

    Is that video only?  Do they allow .ISO images for something like Windows 7 ???

  • Great to hear that there is a new codec to capture screen.

    What is the codec about. Can it be used in DirectShow?

  • a powerful toolkit! I like the small but powerful one.

  • What codec is used for avi media files

  • The place to ask the questions is on the blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/expression

  • Just watched that fullscreen on 24" 1920x1200 monitor.

    When I saw it was just 40MB --- WOW!  Very nice product!  Any chance of a cheap 'lite' version for consumers??  This seems aimed at business/commercial users.

  • Peter:

    It's free.  You can do it for free and the video length is limited to 10 mins, which i think is enough for most cases.  

  • When you say it's free, but limited to 10 mins, does that mean the screen capture utility will continue to function after the main application's time trial has expired or do you just get 10minute recording for the trial period and then you have to buy the full product?

  • I should not have used the word free.  I was told we had a free version but I did not investigate before I used that word.  I should have said trial version.

    According to the FAQ, the product is limited to 10 minutes of recording, and probably output as well.  That is normal for video products because I believe an MPEG royalty kicks in beyond that.  It also appears the trial is time bombed.  I did not know that when I said free.

    If you need additional detail I can probably get the product group to clarify some of this at http://www.microsoft.com/expression/products/Encoder_FAQ.aspx.

  • Expression Encoder 3 comes with Expresion Web 3 which is you have any qualifying product is $79 (upgrade) and the list of qualifying products is broad:

    Any Microsoft® Expression product

    Any Adobe Creative Suite product

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 or later (for Expression Studio 3)

    Any Microsoft Office product (for Expression Web 3)