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M2PMCEncoderZX

Last Updated : 26th December 2004

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Introduction

So I was a happy person when I got my spanking new Creative Zen Portable Media Center (PMC). But my enthusiasm dulled a bit when I found out that Windows Media Player 10 did a very poor job of encoding videos to be synched to the PMC. The main thing that it is guilty for is that it'll stretch the video size to 320x240 regardless of the source file's aspect ratio, so you'll end up with very stretched video files if you fed it a widescreen video. Not to mention WMP seems to take the quantity over quality whenever it's deciding on the target bitrate, so some files ie PhotoStories end up looking awful when you pass it through WMP10.

There is a tool called Windows Media Encoder which would allow a user to fine tune the encoding process to make video files that work AND look good on the PMC, but it's just a bit daunting and time consuming to use, so necessity being the mother of invention... I wrote a program to do the work for me! And here it is.

Updates

26th December 2004
Well.. first of all I got asked by a user to include crop functionality, after a quick review of the Windows Media Encoder engine I figured I could put the functionality easily enough. And I did! Also I've just gotten my new XPhone 2 which has a Windows Media Player that supports fullscreen, and although I highly recommend Betaplayer for all your Smartphone video playing needs. But, I guess some people want to feel the Windows Media Video love on the Smartphone so I made some changes to allow quick conversion for the Microsoft Smartphone as well. Note, due to changes in the program any job list you've saved previously probably won't work anymore.

Software Requirements

Before you even download the program please make sure you have the following programs already installed as I'll be using functionality from these programs. If you don't know whether you have these installed or not my recommendation is to download the program first, and if it any error messages pop out when you try to run the program then go pick up the dependencies.

Once you have those installed, you can pick up M2PMCEncoderZX Here

Instructions

Once you've downloaded and installed the program, now you'll probably be asking what the heck should you do. It's a pretty simple process... I hope! =P

Step 1. Creating a Job

First of all you need to setup what you want to encode, I'll go with the easy method. Click on the Add A Job - Simple button and you'll be greeted with the screen below.

First click on Select Source File and select what you'd like to encode, the player control will then load up the file so it can be further scanned for other attributes. You can also drag and drop compatible files onto the window for quicker access.

Then select an encoding profile that fits your taste. The descriptions should give you a good idea of the quality and file size you'll be getting from the chosen profile.

Next use the Output Device drop down to select the type of device you wish to encode for. You'll get a description of the device which you have chosen.

If you'd like to only encode a certain portion of the video clip, first slide the file position slider on the Windows Media Player to where you want to start the clip from and then press Mark Start, then slide it to where you want to clip to end and press Mark End.

If you need to Crop the source video and only grab a certain region of it press the Crop Source button and you'll be presented with the screen below.

Use the numeric boxes to enter the amount you wish to crop from each of the four corners of the video, and press OK once you're done to create the output using only the region you've selected.

Finally press the Select Output File to select where you want to put the destination file. Then press OK

2. Organizing Jobs

If you've added more than one job to the batch you can organize it in the main screen via the Move Job Up, Down buttons, and of course delete them with the Delete button.

3. Start Encoding

Press on Start Working to start the encoding process. which will bring the Encoding Status tab up front. Nothing much you can do here either than check up on progress or any errors that creep up.

The log will show any important messages, and if you feel that you need to make an emergency stop on the encoding process just hit the Stop Encoding button. Once all jobs are processed the program will tell you so.

So what the heck is the Advanced button for?

Well if you know your Windows Media files, I shouldn't need to tell you what you're doing in that screen. But if you don't know what any of the textboxes mean, click on the ? button on top, then once your cursor changes to the ? cursor click on the control in question to get a quick description on it.

Known Issues

Due to the nature of how AVI files are just containers for video and audio streams, and might contain all sorts of video or audio streams (DivX, AC3, etc. etc.) It's hard for to say what works or what doesn't. The general rule of thumb would be if it plays properly in Window Media Player 10 it *should* encode properly. The only other additional help I can give is to install the latest version of whatever codecs you're using to watch the movie with. It DOESN'T however work with DVR-MS files, sorry!

On one of my test systems every now and then when you start encoding, it crashes for no reason what so ever. So... if you made a job list consisting of 50 jobs, do remember to Save The Job List before you press the start encoding button. =D!

Feedback

I welcome any feedback regarding the program, I can't promise I'll fix every bug that's reported (My day job demands a lot from me :P) But I'll try! And of course if you want to send me money you're welcome, ahahahahaha ;)


This page and it's contents are © Marauderz 2004