Screen capture management is an easy job in Expression Encoder, thanks to a simple, but deft capture management tool, called, oddly enough, the Capture Manager. In it, you can choose a location where you want to store your captures, view your captures, delete the ones you don’t want or add more, and, when you have all you need, you can send them off to be encoded and ready for the world. Let’s take a quick walk through the Capture Manager.
Note: This article assumes that you are familiar with performing a screen capture. If not, you should read the pertinent topics in the “Working with screen capture” section of Expression Encoder Help.
Meet the manager
On the main window of the Expression Encoder Screen Capture application, there are several buttons that lead you to many configuration options. The one we’re interested in is the Capture manager button. Click this to display the Capture Manager.
The capture manager is your one stop, convenient listing of every capture that you have performed and saved in the folder specified as the capture folder.
The file path that you initially see is the default location that Expression Encoder uses to store the screen captures. This folder is installed in ~\My Documents\Expression\Expression Encoder\Screen Capture Output. However, not only can you change that location, but you can also create any number of folders in which to store captures and then direct Expression Encoder Screen Capture to send captures to any of them. If they already contain captures, Screen Capture will display the captures in a list.
To change the location, all you need to do is click Browse for output folder, and then either create a new folder for your captures, or navigate to an existing one, and click OK.
A couple of capture tips
As I mentioned earlier, it is beyond the scope of this article to direct you in a complete screen capture. Expression Encoder Help contains many topics on setting up and performing your capture. I will touch on one tip here, though. While you are performing your capture, you have the option of clearing the Recording Toolbar from the screen. Your capture will continue, but you won’t be distracted by the toolbar.
However, when it comes time to end your capture, or if you want to take a look at some of the toolbar displays, like the size and length of your capture, it is not immediately apparent how to bring the toolbar back or stop your capture. No need to despair. You have two options.
If you just want to stop your capture, you could set up a keyboard combination, or hotkey that will do the job. You set up the hotkey in the Options window, which you can get to by first clicking Edit options in the Screen Capture main screen and then clicking the Hotkey tab. You can note the default hotkey, or, to create your own, click the Stop Recording box, and then you can either type a hotkey, or you can press the keys on your keyboard that you want to represent the hotkey and your combination will appear in the box. Click OK.
Now, anytime you want to stop the recording, this combination will do it for you.
Secondly, you can also just bring the Recording Toolbox back by clicking Show hidden icons in the Notification Area, and then clicking the Microsoft Expression Encoder Screen Capture icon.
In the resulting menu, you can then choose either Stop, or Show recording toolbar.
So, that all said, I’m going to assume here that you have prepared and then performed a series of screen captures, and are now ready to take the capture manager through some paces with a fresh list of grabs.
Managing in the manager
Now, you have your list of captures. Each of them is saved as an individual file in the location you specified.
As you notice, they are saved in the proprietary “.xesc” format, so only Encoder and Screen Capture can open them. You can, however, convert them to WMV or H.264 files in Encoder, but that’s later. Right now, you may just want to preview them quickly in Screen Capture, just to be sure you got them right. To do that, just click the play button next to the capture that you want to preview and it will open in a window and play back. If it’s what you want, then just close the window after viewing it.
If it turns out there are any captures that you don’t want, you can just select them, and click Delete.
You also might want to rename the files to be a bit more intuitive. You will need to navigate to the folder where they are stored to do that. In Windows Explorer, open the folder containing the captures and just rename the files themselves. You may need to cross reference the captured filename listed in the Capture Manager to confirm that you are renaming the correct files.
Once you rename the files, go back to the Capture Manager and click Browse for ouput folder. Scroll the list to make sure the capture folder that you designated originally is still selected, and click OK. Your files should now be renamed.
Export to Encoder
Now you are ready to convert your capture to get them ready for distribution. To get them into Expression Encoder, you just need to, first, select the files that you want to export, and then click Send to Encoder.
After you click, Expression Encoder opens (or, if you had it open already, a new instance opens) and your captures all appear in a Transcoding Project as separate clips in the Media Content panel, each of them ready for any additional edits and encoding. As with any media in Encoder, you can either choose to apply different settings to each clip, or you can bulk process them using either your own settings, or a convenient Expression Encoder preset. For more information on all of that, consult your Expression Encoder Help.
And, remember, you can keep as many folders of captures as you need in order to organize them. Just point the Capture Manager at those folders and you’re ready to go.
That’s it for now. Future articles will go into optimal settings for encoding screen captures as well as some tips for getting good captures. Until then, thanks for reading.