Creating presets from scratch
Though there are certain standards of encoding that Expression Encoder can help you to achieve if you just use the installed presets, your particular situation may skirt just outside of the scope of those included presets. You might need to create your own presets to tailor your encoding experience to the very specific needs of your audience. As we mentioned in the last article, you can change a couple of preset variables and save that change as a new preset by just clicking Create new user preset , giving your adjustment a name and location, clicking All, and that’s all.
However, you can also begin your work by configuring your encoding session without applying a preset, but instead, adjusting all the parameters necessary, and then saving your work as a preset, using basically the same procedure mentioned above. This gives you the flexibility to create, from scratch, a set of presets that will conform to your particular needs.
Here’s a breakdown on how to do that:
- Open your media in any project and adjust your audio and video profiles to match your needs.
- Once you are satisfied with your choices, open the Presets panel by clicking the Presets tab. If the tab isn’t visible, then, in the Window menu, choose Presets.
- Click Create new user preset , as mentioned above, or right-click your media and click Save current settings as preset.
- In the last article, we just clicked All and were done. This time, we want to look a little closer at what we are saving.
If you notice, you have several categories that you can expand, revealing a wide variety of settings that you can save in the preset. You can go through each one and check the parameter you set that you want to retain in the preset. For instance, you may want any markers you set up to always be entered when you apply this preset to future jobs. On the other hand, you may have set up markers in this session that you won’t need to be included in the preset, so you have the choice of leaving it unselected, to make sure that you are not saving it.
You will also notice the menus labeled Relative/Absolute and Merge/Replace.
These choices dictate how Expression Encoder will apply certain parameters to your future projects when you apply the preset. In the case of marker location, choosing Merge means that if the new project to which you apply this preset already contains markers, then this preset will simply add to the existing markers. However, if you have existing markers and you had chosen Replace, this preset will delete your existing markers once you apply it. If you happen to forget what you chose, or you just want to see what your preset file looks like, you can choose to view the coded version of your preset. Presets are saved as XML files, so all you have to do is locate the file and open it in an application that can read XML files. We’ll show you how to do that in a moment.
Absolute and Relative apply to other parameters, such as size. If you chose an Absolute option for a crop rectangle, for example, the preset will apply a crop that is exactly the dimensions that you specify. However, if you had chosen Relative, then the crop is applied so that its size is relative to the size of the video it is being applied to, the result being that it will crop the same proportion of the video that it would have if the current video matched the size of the video to which you originally saved the preset.
- Once you define what you want to save, click Browse to navigate to a point where you can save the preset. You can save a preset anywhere, but if you want it to show up in the Presets panel, you need to save it to the user directory. By default, the user directory is located at “~\Expression\Expression Encoder\JobPresets “, but you can change that. Initially, for now, we’ll just save it to the above folder.
- Once you’ve located the folder, give the preset a name and click OK.
- Now, display your Presets panel and click the User tab. Your preset will appear there. You can now import a file and apply the preset by selecting your preset and, in the Presets panel, clicking Apply. Or, you can right-click your media, point to Apply preset, and click your preset.
Defining your preset as the default preset
If your custom preset, or any preset for that matter, represents the settings that you will be using for most of your encoding sessions, then you can set that preset as a default preset. Once you define a default preset, Expression Encoder will automatically apply that preset to every file that you import. No effort required from you! (By the way, the default default preset is VC-1 Broadband CBR).
To define a default preset, just right-click the preset and click Set as default. This preset will now remain the default preset for every session of Expression Encoder, until you change it.
Changing the location of your presets directory
By default, Expression Encoder saves your user preset files in the “~\Expression\Expression Encoder\JobPresets ” directory and, also by default, only presets stored here will appear in the User tab in the Presets panel. However, you can change both conditions.
- In the Presets panel, in the Preset options menu , choose Change user directory.
- Browse for a new location and, once you create or choose one, click OK. Now, the User tab will display any preset that you store in this new directory. If you have any other presets in a former directory, you may want to copy them over to the new once since the User tab will only display what is in the assigned user directory.
Taking a look inside the preset file
All presets files are just XML files, so you can view, and even change them, outside of Expression Encoder. From your desktop, simply navigate to the User directory (by default “~\Expression\Expression Encoder\JobPresets “) or to whatever directory you have set up to be the new user directory or, if you are in Expression Encoder, you can also right-click your preset and click Open Location. Now, just open the preset with any application that can read XML files.
As you can see, it’s a conventional XML file. You can change or add values and save the file, or just review your settings. As we mentioned above, suppose you were wondering if you chose to merge or replace your markers when you apply the preset. You have your answer now. The line “MergeCollection=”False” tells you all you need to know. You can look at any preset that you created in this way. You cannot view the installed presets this way because they are imbedded into the application code, however, you can apply any of the installed presets and save that preset as a custom preset. You can then view the XML of that preset. By doing this, you can learn the conventions of the preset code and possibly even write your own preset from scratch.
That’s it for now. I hope something here gets you motivated to build up your preset library! Coming up next: we’ll explore changing the heirarchical structure of your User preset list and learn how to apply presets to multiple items.