Of the four parts of the Expression Suite of tools,
I'll focus on Expression Media. The Microsoft site provides some info,
and says it's available in a trial version. I'll get a
copy, install it, and give it a quick once-over.
Here's a composite image from the website
info, illustrating a couple key features of Expression
For the trial version of Expression Media, the
Microsoft site has a link to iView Media Pro. I thought Apple
owned anything starting with the letter "i"... is Microsoft
passing us to an Apple-oriented app?).
The 21 day trial is a full-featured version... the
downloaded file is small, at 9MB. The file is
Items of note from the included documentation and a little
About iView Multimedia
Digital asset management pioneer iView
Multimedia Ltd. developed iView MediaPro to help creative professionals
quickly and easily locate, capture, organize, annotate, search, retrieve and
present their digital content. Widely used today by professional
photographers, iView MediaPro integrates seamlessly into a professional’s
established workflow, permitting them to streamline their processes,
shortening time to market, and eliminating costs from the production cycle.
Microsoft Corp. acquired iView Multimedia Ltd in June 2006 and is continuing
to develop this powerful cross-platform cataloging tool into a
next-generation product named Microsoft(R) Expression(R) Media, scheduled
for release in the second quarter of 2007. For more information please see:
It seems the software's roots are in the cataloging
of digital media resources... like Photo Gallery in Vista, and like Picasa
from Google. It runs on Windows and Apple computers, and uses
templates to export the gallery to a website.
iView MediaPro enables you to
create customized, centralized and searchable repositories, called catalogs,
through which you can manage a wide variety and high volume of digital files.
MediaPro supports more than 100 different file formats
including images, audio, video, fonts,
illustrations, desktop publishing files, HTML and digital camera RAW files
(including Adobe DNG, Nikon NEF, Canon TIF, CRW & CR2 and Kodak
Installing and Starting iView
Running the executable creates a c:\Program Files\iView
Media Pro 3 folder. In addition to the main files, it has
sub-folders of Documentation and Plug-ins. I installed it on my MCE XP
laptop, not on my Vista system.
On startup, it offers to search your computer or let you select
specific folders or files. Here's the results of it doing the automatic
searching, which it limits to My Documents folders.
The app has 3 tabs... first the List view
The Thumbnail view...
The Media view is a player of a selected item... in this
case a VOB file
You'll find lots of things to explore from the menu,
as you drill down into things that appeal to you.
I'll pick the Make option from the main
menu and show you some of the slide show and HTML Gallery options, and
touch on the Contact Sheet...
Run Slide Show
A slide show can have up to 16 images/videos playing at once.
The 16 shown below right are two photo stories, 2 wmv videos, and 12
It works on my laptop having 16 videos running at once, but it's
too much of strain to have them all playing smoothly....
Slide Show Options
Set the duration per slide (up to 60 seconds), background color,
transitions (10 to choose from... or none or random), scaling and various
Save Slide Show as Movie
I selected JPG files and the feature worked
Another more agressive test, this one with 16 WMV
files as inputs. It sort of worked but mostly didn't. It said
it finished successfully, but the MOV
it made opens in the Quick Time Player,
but plays a set of thumbnails that are not animated. It's
too small a file to have all 16 videos in it.
third test, with various video file formats ran into something and gave me
It was starting to add one of the VOB files, so maybe there are
limits on file types you can include in a slide show when saving it as
a movie. Moot point as the one that was successful isn't animated.
Here's a feature I like... whipping out a good looking
video gallery on a website.
I selected 16 random videos, opted for the Darkroom Special
theme (one of 14 themes), tweaked only a couple things, and saved the
Impressively, I copied the files to my website, and here's
what I got. Click the link or the image to check it out.
there are some size/aspect ratio issues... but it looks like a
great easy start for an online gallery
The feature makes JPG images (one of about a dozen image
formats) of the thumbnail views (or the list view)... with options to
add a header and footer.
The file saving process is really quick and the contact sheets
There's one more feature I want to show you... the main
menu > Action > Convert Movie Files
Note the absense of WMV as a choice... in a Microsoft product.
Hey, they've only owned the company since last June. I don't think the WMV
format is going away.
Each of the format choices gets you a dialog box to choose
settings... sometimes with more than you expect.
To illustrate, opt for the QuickTime format... press
the Settings button... then the Filter button... explore the choices
such as in this Special Effects 'Lens Flare'...
I didn't stop to render any file conversions... this newsletter
issue has grown enough... time to wrap it up and get it in the mail, a
couple days later than usual.
Closing... and What's Next?
We know what's next... MIX07 at the
end of April... to find out what info Microsoft will be
releasing about Expression Media and the new Encoder.
The trial version of iView
MediaPro doesn't have anything that looks like the screen shot of the
Expression Media Encoder... this note from Sean Alexander, another member of the Expression Team, explains why.
Hi Sanj. Expression Media Encoder is a
part of the Expression Media
asset management product announced late last
year (details athttp://www.microsoft.com/expression
It is not designed to replace
Windows Media Encoder, rather is a tool
optimized for the compression
and publishing of video with "WPF/E".
It's not currently in the
downloadable version (Expression Media was
previously known as iView
MediaPro) though we're working to make it
available for evaluation in a
I'll be at MIX07
J. Also I'd like to again encourage those with
suggestions on what
additional topics they'd like to see covered at
MIX07 to shoot me a
line. We're published the first round of sessions
and are looking for
feedback on others.
interest in video is all over the place... our Sunday newspaper
today had a front page picture that was blurry, to simulate movement.... with a
note to go to their website to see the picture as a video. Everyone wants to do
videos, even a newspaper!!!!
Have a great week and enjoy your video work...