It's been a busy day of announcements!
Amidst the hubbub of the introduction of Silverlight, complete with industry pundits drooling with glee at the thought of a titanic clash between Adobe and Microsoft, we also announced a key new media utility as part of the Expression Suite. Expression Media Encoder is aimed at video and audio professionals who want to generate rich media content for use within Silverlight.
Having imported a raw video file, you can set a plethora of encoding options: output size, format, bit rate, key frames, overlays, cropping; you can do A/B comparisons of different encoding settings to identify the appropriate trade-off between bandwidth and quality; you can add markers to the video that can be used for subtitles, chapter headings, or even firing off script events; and lastly, you can save all these settings to an XML file for batch operation from a command line.
It's pretty hard to describe a video tool in words alone, so instead I brought the Channel 9 camcorder on an impromptu visit to see James Clarke, one of the program managers responsible for Expression Media Encoder. He showed me a pretty impressive demo that he was in the final stages of preparing for NAB that ties everything I've mentioned together, along with custom skins, live streaming and encoding, and the Silverlight video brush feature I mentioned in my last post. Of course, you'll see Silverlight running both on a Windows PC and a Macintosh!