Monday, November 9, 2009

Expression Encoder 3 Screen Capture : A small wonder…

Me and my other blogger friends all over the world already written many things about Expression Studio and Tools inside Expression Studio like Blend,Web,Encoder etc. With the launch of Expression Studio Version 3, Microsoft given us a simply amazing tool name as “Expression Encoder 3 Screen Capture” which though is not much talk about but already created wave in communities across the world.

While giving feedback to my articles here, Many suggested me that why I am not going for any screencasts here? Believe me, I still prefer typing long post over screencasts, But yes I am planning to have some screencasts in near future. When I took this activity and initiate it to hunt down a tool which will help me to do so, I found a big player in this arena as “Camtasia Studio”. My first impression was its freeware, then I realized that its paid software(They do give 30 days trial), well for good things cost hardly matters, But its always good to first look for other options. When I installed Expression Studio 3 on my machine, I was more keen towards Blend,Design and Encoder being a Silverlight enthusiast like you all, I totally neglected this Screen Capture that time (How dumb !).

Well, enough of story, now lets talk about Expression Encoder 3 Screen Capture. In a nutshell, Its a screen capturing utility introduce by Microsoft along with Expression Studio 3. You can find it in your start menu once you install Expression Studio 3. Once you click on that, you will find following on your screen :


You can see four basic buttons on this UI, Out of these first two belong to Audio and Video, Then other two are Settings and Recording respectively. Once you click on Settings,you will find following window :


You can see various Tabs here, each corresponds to some specific operation, Screen tab is only to set Bitrate and Frame rate, Camera Tab helps you to choose your Built-In Cam or attached cam for recording like this :


You will get all necessary settings option for your camera here. Moving ahead to Audio :


It will help you to choose Audio Options and even here you can set Bitrate and Format in corresponding dropdowns, HotKey Tab basically help you to configure this player and you can set your own hotkeys here,else it will take default :


Once all these setting are done, Another important Tab here is “Other” which will let you know where this screen capture going to get store and what other options are there like this :


After these steps, Once you you back to main screen, After clicking on “Record” button, It will show you a Red Box covering your screen along with two free guidelines which will allow you to select which part of screen you want to capture, Remember by default it is screen as capturing object and not camera, For camera you need to go to Camera and do the necessary settings there. It will look like this :


You have full freedom to set the size and/or some specific resolution by following option which you will get :


After your recording, you will see a Preview of what you capture on screen like this :



At this Preview player, you have 2 options, First is to save this project as XESC format or Second option is to encode this properly via Encoder(Still you have to save that file before going to encoder), Yes you do have Encoder option at right side bottom of this preview player, Then story is pretty straight, Encode and upload it wherever you want, On blogs, forums anywhere, Silverlight hosting is definitely a good option always.

So, do you like this new way of doing Screen Captures? Isn’t it useful for Screencasts, This is power by Expression Encoder,Big plus point about this tool is the “simplicity” which we always find in any Microsoft Product.(Attempt here is not to blindly compare with Camtasia Studio or other screen capturing tools, But to create awareness about it since its part of Expression family).Its quick,efficient and most important is small in size..hence I name this tool as “A small wonder…”, I hope you like this article, This is bit away from Silverlight and Expression Blend and Design which we talk here a lot, But I found this tool worth blogging and I feel it might be useful to most of you, So I made this attempt. I am now again will go back to our main arena of Silverlight from next article. Thanks and let me know your feedback as usual.



Michael C. Kennedy said...

Thanks for the write-up! Looks very interesting. I've long wanted an alternative to Camtasia.

Vikram Pendse said...

@Michael : Thanks, Hope people will start using this for their small webcasts and video capturing assignments, way to go !