The Silverlight process can use wmv video files made by
Movie Maker, but not stories made by Photo Story 3.... different codecs
are used to make and play them. That's why we have to take the story
through the Expression Media Encoder.
Let's go through the steps in detail, after...
1. Setup the Expression
Stories are compressed with the Windows Media
image codec and can't be used in Silverlight packages, which needs wmv
files compressed with a Windows Media video codec. You could use Movie
Maker to convert the story, but for this exercise I'll use the Expression
This fully functioning version
will expire 30 days after installation unless you use the product key to
extend it to 180 days. The key is provided with the
Microsoft website info.
I downloaded fresh copies as I wrote
this, and installed them on my Vista Home Basic laptop. Until now
I'd only been using the Encoder on my XP laptop.
Install and Open...
The installation, followed by the
update, went well using whatever the defaults
the Encoder use Start > All Programs > Microsoft Expression >
Microsoft Expression Media Encoder... even easier in Vista is to just type a few
letters such as 'enc' and select it from the short list of apps and files
prompted... enter the product key to extend the trial version
from 30 days to 180. That'll get you well past the end of the year
holidays, even if you procrastinate in putting your end of the year stories
and movies online.
ready to make Silverlight packages.
2. Convert a Story to a Silverlight
I made a
new story for the newsletter, a tweak of a Manarola, Italy
story I'd previously made to use as the opening clip of one of my
dragged and dropped it from a file manager (Total Commander) into the
Encoder. Drop it anyplace and it'll know where to go.
screenshot of my encoder session... ready to press the 'Encode' button that
generates the Silverlight package. If you only wanted the video file, don't
select a template. Choosing a template gets you the full package including the
video wmv file.
was widescreen, but with the frame around it I didn't want it letterboxed.
I opted for the 'Stretch' mode in the Video Profile settings. Some
distortion is acceptable and preferred to the letterbox black bars being
part of the video under the overlying frame.
Add Overlay... icon or frame
The encoder calls it an 'Overlay Icon' (see the
above picture), but I use it for any sized overlay, up
to full-frame images. For this sample I used a picture frame
with its center cutout and made transparent (using Paint.net). It's a
png file I use as an overlay in Movie Maker.
the 'Maintain Aspect Ratio' in the 'Overlay' settings area. That lets you
stretch it to full frame size... or any other size and position over
Select a Silverlight template and
to pick one of the choices with RC at the end of its name, or it
won't work in the latest Release Candidate version of Silverlight. The template
provides the style for the online player. If your list doesn't include
those with RC, then you have the Encoder but not
Leaving most of the default settings as is,
I pressed the Encode button...
It took about 10 minutes to create the package
of files in my default folder...
Encoder\Output\TOSHIBANOTEBOOK 8-26-2007 2.16.32
You don't need to understand
what all these files are... just know that the wmv is the video file made from
the story, and the Default.html file is the website page to open... or call on
from another page.
you open the wmv file it'll play in Windows Media Player as usual.
To see it playing in a
full-sized Silverlight package on a web page, open the Default.html
file with your browser. Here's a link to my sample...
I got a Silverlight update
message when first previewing... you'll probably also need an update, and
your browser will need restarting after the update... quick and
see only blackness in the player, check that the template you
used included an RC extension. A template with the same name but without RC
won't play in the latest Silverlight version. Re-render it with an appropriate
template if needed. I know this because my first one was only
3. Upload the package...
website... any website. That's all you need for an online Silverlight
experience... playable on Windows and Mac computers.
that, you may want to use someone else's video in an online Silverlight
package, or embed your package in a website page with other things on
the downloaded video files go? How do you get a copy?
Silverlight player is using a wmv file, which is a file-download process.
The file goes into a temporary Internet file folder.
XP - c:\Documents
and Settings\PapaJohn\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\ContentIE5\(some
Vista - protection measures make
access to the downloaded file a bit trickier... I couldn't browse to it or
find it in a search when using Explorer or Total
In Vista I got
it by using the Internet Explorer 11 menu > Tools >
Internet Options > General tab > Browsing history Settings button >
View Files > sort by Type > change the sort order so it goes from Z
to A > the Windows Media Audio/Video file type will be toward the top of
the list > select the file and copy it to another more
4. Embed the Silverlight Player in
a website page...
the total html code for my sample page... the Encoder did all the hard
parts. All I needed to do to embed the Silverlight player with the
story was to include an iframe in my website page.
are all in the same folder so I didn't have to tell it the path to the
You're seeing my typical html editing using Notepad... not pretty, just
Closing... and What's Next?
have detected by now that I have a pretty positive bias toward the new
Expression Media Encoder. This newsletter adds another positive
test sample to my experiences with it. I'm careful to do lots of testing
before heavily investing (time and effort, not necessarily money) in a new
What I can
still use is some feedback from Mac users... can you view my Silverlight
I have some experimenting ahead of me to learn more about how to
best embed Silverlight players, sizing and positioning them on website
We're taking off for a long holiday weekend of fun with one of
our sons and his family... Have a great week and enjoy your summer
fun and video work...