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Tips and Tricks in Microsoft Expression Encoder 2

written by: PapaJohn•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/24/2011
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As I wrote this series of articles I asked myself some questions. Some answers came easily and others took days of head scratching. I’ll share them with you in Q and A format.

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    Expression Encoder FAQ

    Q. When I first looked at the Compatibility List, it was empty and I thought it might not be working. I continued on and used the Encoder a bit. The next day I checked and found almost 20 line items in it. What happened? Di d it somehow fix itself?

    A. The software was working fine. The list is empty until you import the first multimedia file. It checks the file and adds the codecs and filters it might use to the list. The list grows over time as you import different file types.

    As an aid to understanding which filters and codecs your system has that the Encoder might use for a particular file type, you can see which new items show up in the list when you open the file.

    Q. If the list adds more items when you import a file, does it automatically remove line items when you remove the file from the list of jobs?

    A. No, the list grows but doesn’t shrink. Lots of things in life are one way streets.

    Q. Is the Compatibility List different for each user of the computer?

    A. Yes, if your list is long, and you want to see it start again from scratch, there are a couple ways to do it. One is to create another computer user and the new user’s list will have no line items in it. Another easier way is to delete the file that contains the list. This next question will cover how to delete it.

    Q. In Movie Maker you can easily uncheck all line items in the list by clicking on the first, holding down the shift key as you scroll down to the last one to expand the selection to all items, and then toggle them on or off using the space bar. In Expression Encoder 2 you can use the ‘Enable All’ button to easily check them, but how do you just as easily uncheck them as a batch?

    A. Instead of creating another computer user with a clean slate, you can easily delete the file that contains the list and let the Encoder start rebuilding it from scratch. The file is found by drilling down eight folder levels to:

    c:\Documents and Settings\(UserName)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Expression\Encoder2\Filter.config

    Move, rename, or delete the file and the list will start over as you import files.

    As the Filter.config file is a simple text one, another way to clear the list is to open the file with Notepad and do a ‘find and replace’, changing all the IsOn="True” settings to IsOn="False”. This lets you retain the same list but clear the checks.

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    Q. Do the Compatibility Lists of the Expression Encoder 2 and Movie Maker 6 in Vista show the same items?

    A. No, on my Vista Ultimate system, the list in Expression Encoder 2 had 18 items at the same time the list in Movie Maker 6 had only one, and that line item wasn’t one of those in the Encoder’s list. They are clearly different lists.

    Q. Under the Compatibility List at the left is a checkmark to allow hardware acceleration… or when unchecked not to. What has that to do with the filters and codecs in the list?

    A. Nothing. The help documentation that comes with the Encoder says it’s something to toggle if wmv or MPEG2 files are causing you playback issues, like not being able to preview a job. If the issues are due to your video driver, turning off hardware acceleration might resolve it but at reduced performance. This issue is independent of the filters being used.

    If turning off hardware acceleration helps, check to see if there’s a newer version of your video driver available.

    Q. You’ve mentioned in many articles that each frame doesn’t always show up when viewing files in players or video editing software. Does the Expression Encoder 2 show each frame when previewing the inputs or outputs? I realize this question doesn’t relate to the Compatibility List.

    A. When I started doing videos my magnifying glass could see each frame of a film, so I could confidently count frames. But things are different in the digital environment. I often wonder if a frame is missing or is it that the player can’t see it. My checks show the Encoder doesn’t show them all.

    Here’s a link to my test file if you want to check it on your system. Different computers often provide different results. It’s a DV-AVI file with each of its 100 frames clearly numbered. Extract it from the zip file and do your checking.

    http://www.papajohn.org/video/100NumberedFrames.zip

    Let me know which frames you see or don’t and we can compare notes.

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