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[My Microsoft Media Profiles] [Profile .prx downloads] [Making profiles for PS3] [Making profiles for WMM] [Designing custom profiles] [Alternatives to Movie Maker] [Using 3rd party Codecs]
.prx Profiles
Feel free to download any of my profiles and use Profile Editor (or Notepad++) to modify it for your own use, HOWEVER always remember that PhotoStory can only generate QVBR 'Windows Media Video 9.1 Image' Video - if you select anything else, PS3 won't even show the Profile in it's 'Settings' window list (PhotoStory 3 also insists you use a Profile that has 'Audio' i.e. it won't even show 'Video only' Profiles)

My Profiles

For PhotoStory 3, 'right click' the Profile and 'save to' C:\Program Files\Photo Story 3 for Windows\Profiles\1033\. Note that PhotoStory lists the profiles in alphabetical order of their internal {name="..} settings (i.e. not the file name).

PhotoStory 3 checks for Profiles every time you 'open' the list. It only lists those with 'valid' settings - so if you create a profile with settings that it can't cope with, that one just won't be listed (so can't be selected). If you modify an already 'selected' profile in a way that PhotoStory 3 "doesn't like" you will get a 'Profile is missing or corrupt' error when you reach the next (output) step

For Windows Movie Maker on XP / Vista, 'right click' the Profile and 'save to' C:\Program Files\Movie Maker\Shared\Profiles\

For 32bit Windows Movie Maker on Win7 / 8 (run as Administrator), 'right click' the Profile and 'save to' C:\Program Files (x86)\Movie Maker\Shared\Profiles\

Note that, unlike PhotoStory, Movie Maker only checks for Profiles when 'launched' (to add a Profile, you have to restart Movie Maker). Like PhotoStory 3, it will only show Profiles with 'valid' settings.

For 32bit Windows Live Movie Maker (run as Administrator), 'right click' the Profile and 'save to' C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Live\Photo Gallery\Video Profiles\

If no such folder exists, just create it

Profiles for PhotoStory, Movie Maker etc.

All my PhotoStory 3 Profiles are set to "30fps", which, for some reason, appears to delay the point at which PhotoStory skips frames (and causes the playback to 'jitter').

PhotoStory 3 Profiles with 'PCM audio' are 2CH, 16bit, 44.1kHz, 1141kbps. This a means Dolby ProLogic II soundtrack (imported as .wav into PhotoStory) will be preserved. However, even at SD DVD resolutions (768x576) 'jitter' may mean you have to drop the audio.

WMA Profiles are WMA 9.2 2CH, 16bit, 44.1kHz "VBR lossless" (100% quality)

The 'minAudio' Profiles (and all those of less than 100% QVBR) are set to WMA 9.2, 10% VBR quality

For those prepared to scrifice video quaility to keep PCM audio, I've included both a 98% and a 95% QVBR SD DVD direct Profile
Although PhotoStory 3 'maximum output' is stated as "2000" pixels, I have 'successfully' obtained (4:3) output with a 2048x1536 'hand hacked' Profile (which, if this output is of 'pre-distorted' 133%, the maximum width after 'next step' 16x9 conversion will be 2730). See Common computer display resolutions for those falling within the '2k' limit :-

For Movie Maker, Video is 100% Quality VC-1 and Audio (default) is .wav AAC 2CH, 16bit, 44.1kHz, 320kbps (you can change the audio settings in Movie Maker before 'Saving to computer')

Movie Maker does not appear to introduce 'jitter' so you should always stick with the highest possible quality

The 30fps Movie Maker Profiles are aimed at Computer / Projector/Beamer Display
The 25fps Movie Maker Profiles are for PAL DVD (29.87fps for NTSC DVD)
The 23.976fps Movie Maker Profiles are for HD DVD/BD.


Profile .prx downloads

'Right Click' and 'Save As' (clicking will just 'open' the Profile and display it as text in a new browser tab)

. PhotoStory 3 (WVP2 + PCM/WMA/minAudio) MovieMaker (VC-1 + AAC)
Description 4x3 16x9
(from 4/3 rds height pre-distorted photos)
4x3 16x9
VGA / Mobile phone FWVGA (note 1) 640x480 846x480 MM43-640x480 MM169-846x480
SD-direct NTSC DVD 720x540 (note 2) MM6-720x540 (29.970fps, note 3)
SD-direct PAL DVD 720x576 (note 2)
MM6-720x576 (25fps, note 3)
SVGA (4x3) 800x600 (n/a) MM43-800x600 (n/a)
960x540 = half full HD 1920x1080 (note 8) (n/a) 960x540 (n/a) (n/a)
Apple iPhone 5 Retina (16x9) 852x640 1136x640 (n/a) MM169-1136x640
Half-HD '720p' for computer display 960x720 1280x720 (n/a) MM169-1280x720
HDTV & AV beamer / Win8 netbook 1024x768 (n/a) MM43-1024x768 (n/a)
Apple XGA, XGA+ (4x3) 1152x864 (n/a) MM43-1152x864 (n/a)
'900p' (16x9) 1200x900 1600x900 (n/a) MM169-1600x900
SXGA- (4x3) 1280x960 (n/a) MM43-1280x960 (n/a)
SXGA+ (4x3) AV beamer 1400x1050 (n/a) MM43-1400x1050 (n/a/)
HDV / HD 1080p (note 4) 1440x1080
MM43-1440x1080 MM169-1920x1080
"Double PAL DVD" (note 6, 9) 1440x1152-minAudio (use MM6 DVD (SD) PAL Profile)
2K / QWXGA (double DVD) 1536x1152 2048x1152 MM43-1536x1152 MM169-2048x1152 (note 5)
UXGA (4x3) 1600x1200 (n/a) MM43-1600x1200 (n/a)
Apple iMac (note 7) / WQHD 1920x1440 (n/a) (n/a) MM169-2560x1440 (note 5)
QXGA iPad (4x3) / 'Story Max. 16x9' 2048x1536 (note 5) 2730x1536 (note 5) MM43-2048x1536 (note 5) MM169-2730x1536 (note 5)
4x3 16x9
WMM 4x3 WMM 16x9

(1) these displays use very slightly 'non-square' pixels
(2) SD-direct DVD output is always width compressed 720 (x540 NTSC or x576 PAL). Both Profiles are set to 30fps to reduce display flicker (this has zero effect on the 29.970 / 25 fps WMM output). For a 16:9 DVD, start with 4/3rds height pre-distorted photos (and set the 16:9 flag in WMM)
(3) MovieMaker 2.5 (XP) users will convert to .avi using DV/AVI (PAL or NTSC).
Only users of MovieMaker v6 (which lacks DV-AVI output) will need use the MM6-720x576/540 Profile
(4) Use 1440x1080 for 'preHD' (i.e. later conversion to 16:9)
If jitter is a problem, use minAudio (or 99,98,95qvbr)
MM169-1920x1080 is 30fps for 16:9 computer display, AVCHD-1920x1080 is 23.976fps (for DVD / BD)
(5) Exceeds MS Profile Editor 2000 pixel limit (obtained by Profile 'hack' i.e. manual edit)
(6) Gives MovieMaker double the pixel count (for better quality 720x576 AVI).
(7) also Dell UltraSharp U2711 and XPS One 27
(8) Use if unable to output full HD due to 'Insufficient memory' or bad jitter (and interpolate in WMM later)
(9) At these resolutions jitter is much too bad to preserve the audio

Windows Media Profile Editor does not allow CBR PCM Audio with QVBR Windows Media Video 9.1 Image Video, nor does it offer 5.1 (AAC (16 bit), 48kHz, CBR) at 448kbps (the 'nearest' is 440kbps). To get these settings, the Profile has to be modified 'by hand'

Typical HD resolution (1920x1080) QVBR output will be 30mbs (which is better than the maximum 'VBR' setting allowed by Profile Maker (20mbs)). Since VC-1 is 'roughly' equivalent to H264, 30mbs VC-1 means you can produce quality BD (BluRay) 30mbs h264 movies (as well as allowing maximum quality 20mbs AVCHD). Of course this is 'mega-overkill' for SD DVD, however it's easier to throw away 'excess quality' later than to try and 'generate quality' from 'nothing' :-)

Making your own Profiles (using Windows Media Profile Editor)

Microsoft Windows Media Profile Editor allows you to modify Profiles. It can be downloaded from the Microsoft web site as part of the Media Encoder 9 Series pack. I suggest you use my direct link, otherwise Microsoft will direct you to the "Windows Expression Encoder 3" web pages which does not include the Profile Editor

Windows Media Profile Editor settings

Whilst the industry uses 'common' names (like .avi, MPEG2, H264) or 'FOURCC' codes (like 'WVP2') Microsoft insists on 'going it's own way'. For Microsoft's explanation see MSDN.

To some extent, this is understandable, since almost all Microsoft applications generate non-standard video, even when not using a Profile (for example Microsoft's DV/AVI (.avi) files are NOT the same as the 'industry standard' DV/AVI).Fortunately, Microsoft media files are so 'common' that almost all DVD 'author' packages etc. will accept these non-industry-standard versions

Overview of Microsoft Video Codecs

What video Codecs you are offered depends on the 'Mode' you select (CBR, Bit rate VBR (Peak), Quality VBR, Bit rate VBR) :

Codec FOURCC CBR Bit rate VBR (Peak) Quality VBR Bit rate VBR
Windows Media Video V7 WMV1 Y Y Y Y
Windows Media Video 9 WMV3 Y Y Y Y
Windows Media Video 9 Screen MSS2 Y . Y .
Windows Media Video V8 WMV2 Y Y Y Y
Windows Media Video 9.1 Image (note 1) WVP2 Y . Y .
Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile (note 2) WVC1 Y Y Y Y
Full frames (uncompressed) . Y . . .

Note 1. Microsoft uses the same name "Windows Media Video 9.1 Image" for both the 'original' PhotoStory 3 Codec (FOURCC WMVP) and the 'V2' Codec (FOURCC WVP2).

Note 2. Microsoft uses the same name "Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile" for two different VC-1 Codecs (FOURCC WMVA and FOURCC WVC1). See Microsoft MSDN page on Media Video 9 encoder

All Modes limit the maximum width (and height) to 2000 pixels (although it is possible to 'hack' the Profile by hand to get 2048 (and maybe more) pixels width from PhotoStory 3)CBR is limited to 20mbs, however (at any bit-rate setting) VBR will always result in better quality than CBR (so CBR Mode can just be ignored).Quality VBR has no specific limit (HD 1920x1080 output using the Video 9 Advanced Profile at 100% Quality generates bit-rates in the 30mbs region).Bit rate VBR appears to accept any value you enter (Bit rate VBR (Peak) allows you to constrain the peak bit-rate)Video V7 and V8 are variations of MPEG, so use Windows Media Video V8 (only) and that only for SD DVDs (if you have no other choice)Quality VBR, 9.1 Image is the only combination accepted by PhotoStory - always set 100% Quality"Video 9" implements the two 'basic' versions of the VC-1 ('simple' and 'main', both use the same FOURCC 'WMV3' code) and should also be ignored"Video 9 Advanced Profile" implements the 'advanced' version of VC-1 and is the only Codec to generate acceptable HD quality (so long as you set the bit-rate to 20Mbs or 'Quality VBR' to 100%).

For Video, you can enter more or less whatever you want (size, fps, bit rate). However, for each Audio 'Codec', you are limited to a 'pull down list' choices (channels, bandwidth, bit rate).

Fortunately, the .prx files are simple text and can be adjusted 'by hand' using a text editor such as Notepad ++

What's the best Audio Codec ?

'None' (PCM) of course :-)

PCM will preserve a 2 channel 'stereo' Dolby ProLogic II track via Movie Maker. However if you using Microsoft Expressions Encoder, and are building .wmv for 6 channel (5.1) 'Surround sound', you should choose Microsoft AAC

Microsoft Expressions Encoder won't 'magically' convert DPLII to 5.1 = instead you will have to replace the 2CH with the 5.1 (if necessary, use Foobar2000 to generate 5.1 from DPLII = see my Preparing your music page (later)

Building a movie with 5.1 (surround sound)

For a full explanation, go direct to my Making a HD movie DVD, AVCHD page

The only way to get surround sound with your Story is to replace the PCM stereo after you output it from PhotoStory / Movie Maker (PhotoStory 3 will 'list' a Profile with 5.1 Audio, but always 'abort' during 'step 3' with a 'story corrupt / not enough memory' error)

If you are starting with 5.1, use Foobar or Audacity to create a Dolby ProLogic II (2 Channel 44.1 kHz) .wav and use that in PhotoStory (so you can synchronise the photo transitions with the sound track).After final output (as VC-1) you can replace the 2CH stereo with 5.1 when converting the wmv into mpeg2 / h264 during the DVD Author step


Making Profiles for PhotoStory 3

PS3 Profile - Video

The ONLY Video mode / Codec supported by PhotoStory 3 is 'Quality VBR' with the 'Windows Media Video 9.1 Image' (v2**) Codec. Profiles with other combinations are ignored by PhotoStory 3

**Select "Windows Media Video 9.1 Image" and save the profile. Open the profile .prx in Notepad++ and check the entry bicompression="WVP2" (if it says bicompression="WMVP" you are using the 'basic' Codec and need to get the v2 Codec)

The 'Windows Media Video 9.1 Image (v2)' Codec is installed with Windows Media Player v10** (required for PhotoStory 3)

**WARNING - at the end of WMP 10 install, the installer will automatically try to 'update' you to Windows Media Player 11 (or later) !!
When I made the mistake of allowing it to install WMP 11, this 'broke' my PhotoStory 3 Preview and output - and cost me days of frustration trying to remove WMP 11 (WMP 10 refuses to install over 11 because 'this version is older than your current version, install aborted'.
This is, of course, all part of the wonderful world of DRM (Digital Right Managements) - once you have been conned into installing some extra DRM with WMP 11, no way are 'they' going to let you 'undo' the restrictions.
In the end I was forced to 'roll back' my entire PC by going back a previous 'System Restore' point. But be warned = today's DRM software can overcome Restore Points = once you have been DRM'd the 'only way back' might well be via 'factory restore' (i.e. a total reformat of C: and reinstall of Windows) !!

fps limitation

Don't waste time building at anything other than 30fps - the further you are from 30fps the worse the jitter seen when you playabck the just built Story

PhotosStory 3 output (WVP2) consists of a series of 'key frames' with 'morphing' instructions to get from one key frame to the next. The fps thus controls the 'morphing rate' during playback - but has no effect on a conversion into another format (such as AV, MPEG, VC-1, h264 etc.) because the output format fps (25, 24.976 etc) is used as the morphing rate for the conversion
If you want to experiment, note that Windows Media Profile Editor limits the maximum frame rate "for bit rate 135.02 Kbps" to 72fps, irrespective of the other settings (Video quality, Key frame interval and output size settings).
However PhotoStory 3 will accept profiles that have been 'hacked' (hand modified) up to 100 fps (and maybe more), however this has zero effect on the output file size and all it does is cause playback problems (jitter)

PS3 Profile - Audio

The best you can get out of PhotoStory 3 is 2 Channel (stereo / Dolby ProLogic II) PCM

PhotoStory 3 only allows** you to 'Add music' .wav, .wma, .mp3 and generate 'midi' (it's own internal music). If you try to add anything else it will pop-up an Error message informing you that it only supports 2 channel 44.1 kHz audio.
You may 'get away' with a 6 Channel WAV (or 'renaming' .m4a (AAC) / .ac3 as .wav / .wma) in order to 'add' 5.1, and 5.1 may even 'Preview' OK, however PhotoStory 3 will only output Stereo, no matter what the Profile supports** = so you might as well stick to PCM
**A Profile with 5.1 Audio is accepted, however at 'output' PhotoStory 3 always 'aborts' with 'Insufficient memory'

To obtain PCM, Profiles have to be 'hacked' by hand as Media Profile Editor refuses to 'save' a Media Video 9.1 Image v2 QVBR + PCM Profile

Windows Media Profile Editor says "It is not possible to mix uncompressed and compressed streams" :-)
This is, of course, total nonsense. PhotoStory (and, no doubt, all other Media software) uses separate Codecs to generate the Video and the Audio, so the Video and Audio data streams are always generated totally independently of one another and are then 'mixed together'.
Since the Audio and Video data streams will always be generated at different rates (and, if Audio compression is used, at different variable rates) PhotoStory 3 (and any other movie application) must be able to "mix uncompressed and compressed streams" :-)

Note that I found that .mp3 audio would 'distort' on output. In any event, it's impossible to end up with decent quality music in your final movie if you start with .mp3 (if you only have the music as an mp3, use Audacity to 'convert' it to .wav before adding it to your PhotoStory)


Making Profiles for Windows Movie Maker (XP)

Movie Maker is where the PhotoStory 3 "Media Video 9.1 Image" format file is processed into 'real' wmv (and the aspect ratio corrected as needed). Since Microsoft Profiles are limited** to generating Microsoft .wmv, to generate a DVD you will need to 'convert' again (to mpeg2 / h264). So the goal when making a Profile is usually to maintain maximum quality.

**Movie Maker 2.1 (XP) can generate DV-AVI (.avi = for 'real' DVDs), however this is not 'controlled' by any Profile (the 'settings' appear to be 'embedded' in the actual .exe or perhaps a .dll). This means DV-AVI is usable only for DVDs (i.e. to convert 768x576 PhotoStory input to 720x576 for DVD 4x3 or 16x9 display).
'Modern' versions of Movie Maker do not support DV-AVI, however you can create a Profile that will generate the correct resolutions for DVDs for Movie Maker 'v6' (Vista) but not Windows Live Movie Maker (which refuses to adjust the pixel sizes = if you try using a DVD Profile with Windows Live Movie Maker, it will add 'black bands')

NB. If you run MS Profile Editor on 64bit Windows 7 (and want to use the Profile with a 64bit Movie Maker), you must 'right click' it and 'Run as Administrator' (otherwise you can't save Profiles to the correct folder as Windows 7 recognises the Profile Editor as a 32bit app. and decides to 'quarantine' it's output from the 64bit program folders).

WMM Profile - Video

Microsoft says that Windows Movie Maker will only accept Profiles based on CBR or 'Quality VBR'. If you use CBR, Windows Profile Editor limits you to a maximum 'bit rate' of 20mbs, however if you choose 100% Quality VBR (with VC-1), my tests have shown you can get 30 mbs !!

DO NOT use anything other than 100% Quality !
My tests also show that small changes in the 'Quality VBR' setting cause much larger changes in the output bit rate than you might expect = for example, reducing the Quality by 2% (to 98%) reduced the output file size by 30% !

So, when using Movie Maker to convert from 'Windows Media Video 9.1 Image' into 'Windows Media Video 9 Advanced' (VC-1) you should select 100% 'Quality' VBR for the best possible result

Needless to say, the higher the bit rate, the larger the file. A 'standard' DVD is often quoted as '2 hours' however this is only at 'normal' SD quality (4.5Gb x 8 bits divided by 2x60x60 = 5.3 Mbits/s).
If you record at maximum SD quality (9.8 Mbits/s) you will get about 70 mins on your DVD. Go to HD, and recoding AVCHD onto DVD you will get about 35mins at 20mbs (30mbs would typically only be used with BluRay or 'BD' discs)

You should note that TV 'movies' in 'SD' quality are typically broadcast at less than 3.5 mbs ! Even HD is often broadcast at less than the European CBR HD 'standard' of 12mbs.

Note that 'web HD' - which  is actually 'half HD' (1280×720, aka '720p') at best - is even worse.The Xbox Live Video VC-1 (720p) service is 6.8 mbs, the Apple iTunes QuickTime/H.264 (also 720p) service is even worse at 4 mbs (max), whilst many Web TV “HD” sites (H.264), may claim '720p' but actually 'send' no more than 1.5 mbs (about half the rate of terrestrial SD) !!

WMM Profile - Audio

The 'best' you can get is uncompressed PCM (stereo)

MovieMaker 2.1 (XP) only supports 2 channel audio Import (wav, aif, aiff, aifc, snd, mp3, au, mpa, mp2, wma or asf). So, whilst 5.1 is supported by the 'Windows Media Audio 10 professional' (aka 'AAC') Codec, and Movie Maker allows you to 'replace'** the incoming PhotoStory 3 audio with another track (or even 'merge' two audio tracks together), Movie Maker can't actually Import*** a 5.1 AC3 / AAC Audio track

** To 'replace' the audio, you Import a new audio track and drag it to the 'Audio/Music' time line. Then go to 'Tools', 'Audio Levels' and move the 'slider' to set the 'mix' level. For a complete replace, move there slider all the way to the right (i.e. away from 'Audio from Video' to 'Audio/Music')
*** Movie Maker will accept a 5.1 AAC output Profile, however the output file will only contain 2 Channel (stereo) AAC

Movie Maker output of PhotoStory 3 input is thus limited to stereo, so the 'best' you can do is pass-through the 2 Channel PCM Dolby ProLogic II (and either 'up-convert' or replace the stereo with 5.1 AC3** in the 'DVD Author' step later)

** You can replace with AAC if all you will ever do is play back the (VC-1) .wmv on your computer and your AAC 5.1 will be fine when played back using your computer's  directly connected set of 5.1 speakers (driven 5.1 'unpacked' into 6 channel PCM data streams).
You should even get to hear AAC 5.1 output via your Graphics card HDMI connector (most modern HDMI kit supports AAC as well as AC3).
However, after bypassing the DRM, whilst you might get AAC out via S/PDIF, don't expect your Home Cinema system to 'understand' AAC (if you are lucky, your movie play-back application will unpack the AAC and send 2 Channel PCM (stereo) down the S/PDIF link)


Designing custom aspect ratios and resolutions

You don't have to stick to 4x3 or 16x9 for your final Movie. You can use PhotoStory 3 to generate any** aspect ratio and resolution you wish by 'pre-distorting' your photos and using Movie Maker 2.5 to 'stretch' it's output 'sideways'.

**so long as the output width required from PhotoStory 3 is within it's 2k limit

Worked example - designing a CinemaScope Panavision 2K (2048x858) Profile

Panavision Cinema 2K (2048x858) is a CinemaScope standard** display aspect ratio of 1:2.39 (approx 12:5) used for wide-screen theatre (film). I chose this example because CinemaScope uses a camera with an anamorphic lens to 'height expand' (or 'width squeeze') panoramic images onto 35mm film which are then 'width expanded' to 'wide-screen' during display - exactly the same method that you use to 'squeeze' photos into PhotoStory 4x3 and 'width expand' later to wide-screen

**The other two CinemaScope standards are 2.35:1 and 2.40:1 (all 3 are commonly converted to Blu-ray as 1920×800, with 'black bands' at the top and bottom = see below)
To make a Profile for final output to a computer display, start with the height = 858 pixels. To avoid height interpolation this must remain the same across the output.If PhotoStory 3 4x3 output height is 858, then the (square pixel) width will be 4/3 * 858 = 1144, so you need a PhotoStory 3 Profile 1144x858.The MovieMaker '12x5' profile will (of course) be the required 2048x858The final step is to out the 'height distort' factor that needs to be applied to the original photos before importing them into PhotoStory.
This is simply 2048/1144 = 1.790 = 179%

Making a 'CinemaScope' AVCHD Movie

Rather than 'convert' the 2048x858, you just output your completed Story using a 'CinemaScope AVCHD' Profile - and then convert using MovieMaker. To create the Profiles, just follow the above (your Movie Maker 2.5 output will be 1920×800, so you start with PhotoStory 3 4x3 output of 1066x800 and 'height distort' your photos to 179%)

To generate the 'black bands' (before going to the actual AVCHD Author software), you can use Windows Live Movie Maker.
Unfortunately, you can't go direct from  PhotoStory 1066x800 to 1920x1080 as WLMM will add 'black bands' to the sides as well as the top and bottom :-)
So first use MovieMaker (XP) to stretch the PhotoStory 1066x800 pixels using the 1920×800 Profile ..... and then use WLMM to add black bands to the top and bottom of the 1920x800 using the 'normal' HD Movie Maker profile (1920x1080)


Alternatives to Movie Maker

Only Microsoft really understands PhotoStory 3 'Windows Media Video 9.1 Image v2' output format, so the only viable alternatives are other Microsoft applications

Windows Media Encoder (XP)

See here for Microsoft's explanation on how to use WME

This utility (which comes with the Media Encoder 9 Series pack) can generate wmv (combined video & audio) or wma (audio only). If you let the 'wizard' do it's stuff, you will be offered various 'bit rate' settings for video & audio. By default, the maximum Video (offered when you select 'Destination' = 'File download (Your_computer/ playback)' is VBR 5 mbs = which is OK for DVD movies, but nothing else. I could find no 'import Profile' button ... however when you reach the final 'Settings review' window, you will discover that somehow the settings you just input have 'become' a 'Profile' !

If you open the 'System Properties' window, and select the 'Compression' tab, you will find a 'Edit' button next to the 'Destination' pull-down. Clicking this will open the usual Microsoft Profile Editor window ...

When you (manually) enter the settings for the current conversion, it seems that a new 'profile' is created and placed in the C:\Program Files\Windows media components\Encoder\Profiles folder. Apparently, in the Session Properties window there should be a 'Profile' (tab ?), but I was unable to find it anywhere. However, Windows Media Encoder will 'remember' your settings for next use.

Using Windows Media Encoder

Unlike Windows Movie Maker, Windows Media Encoder is capable of '2 pass' encoding and can thus generate higher-quality .wmv with lower bit rates. So instead of '100% Quality' CBR 30mbs, you can use VBR up to 9mbs (= the limit of most stand-alone DVD players) for DVD, or VBR up to 20 mbs for AVC HD. To do so, click 'Edit' next to the 'Destination' pull down and set the following in the 'Custom Encoding Settings' :-

General tab Name {whatever eg "DVD from Story 4x3"} Audio, {tick}, Mode {Bit rate VBR}, Codec {WMA 10 Pro for DVD / HD or WMA 9.2 for computer playback} Video (tick), Mode (Bit rate VBR), Codec {WMV 9 Advanced for DVD / HD or WMV 9 for computer playback} Target bit rate {highlight & click 'Edit' - which will open the (default) 5777 Kbps tab}In the '5777 Kbps' tab Audio format {e.g. VBR 192 kbps, 48kHz, 2 channel or 5.1} Video Size {720 x 576 for DVD's, 1920 x 1080 for HD} Frame rate {25 fps for DVD, 23.976 for HD} Video bit rate (average) : {5-9M for DVD, 10-20M for HD}
Windows Media Encoder is capable of 'cropping' the incoming video data. This suggests that, if your incoming video is 702 (rather than 720) you can enter a left & right crop of "-9" pixels (i.e. add 9 pixels of 'black band' to each side to avoid an 'incorrect' aspect ratio display during playback)

NB. During encoding, WME will display a 'jerky' representation of the (input ?) video - to maximise processing speed, this screen should be 'closed'

Microsoft Expressions Encoder (Win 7 / XP)

Instead of .prx Profiles, MEE uses .XML profiles. These can be found in the "C:\Users\{~username}\Documents\Expression\Expression Encoder\Profiles" folder

Available for Windows 7, the 32bit version can be installed (and works just fine) on Windows XP. MEE understands wmv-i and can be used to both extract the audio (as PWM) as well as to generate 'HD' quality output.

MEE comes with the usual Microsoft VC-1 codec, however if you pay Microsoft for a Licence, MEE will actually generate H264 (I've not paid so can't comment on how 'usable' this is = MS always seems to 'focus' on generating low resolution, low quality output for web and smart phone use and imposes silly limits (like restricting the bit-rates to 5mbs) so I'm not optimistic)
However VC-1 is usable as a 'stepping stone' from PhotoStory 3 WMV-Image to h264 for AVCHD / BD. For a full explanation, see my Making a HD movie (AVCHD page)

To create custom Profiles for MEE, visit Microsoft's explanation


Using 3rd party Codecs with Windows

ALWAYS make a 'System Restore Point' before experimenting with Codecs (or you can expect to spend weeks restoring the PhotoStory 3 WMV-Image Codec after it's been removed by some 'clever' 3rd party "all inclusive Codec pack")

As we have seen above, it's quite possible to add an Apple .mov Codec in order to open .mov files. So, in theory, adding a 3rd party Codec should allow Windows Movie Maker XP / 6 to generate HD H264 (mp4). However most 'Codec packs' you find on-line will keep bugging you for 'donations' (despite the fact that almost all are built around core Open Source code such as ffmpeg and the 'x264' H264 encoder).

Many well advertised 'shareware' download sites (and sometimes even the actual package itself - such as the "Windows Essentials Codec Pack 4.4") 'wrap' the package in a 'trojan horse' installer that will attempt to 'hijack' your Home page, try to replace your browser (usually by downloading and installing Google Chrome) install unwanted 'search bars' or even unwanted 'adware' (i.e. advertising 'back door' code).

At the very least, you should stick to known reliable sources - for example, I suggest you obtain x264 by downloading the well known Open Source VLC media player. Failing that, get the K Lite 'Mega' Codec Pack (h264 is not included in the K Lite 'Full' version) - but make a Restore Point first, it has a habit of replacing your existing codecs !

After installing any new Codec, make sure you havn't lost the vital WVP2 Codec required for PhotoStory (launch Windows Media Player and play any PhotoStory .wmv output).
If WVP2 has been lost, you can usually get it back by re-installing Windows Media Player v10. If not, you will have to perform a System Restore to the check-point you made before installing the Codec pack.
For a complete overview of the entire DVD making process, visit my DVD making topic pages.

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