One of the main requests for the next version of Expression Encoder was the ability to crop your sources in a Live Broadcasting Project. We heard, and now, that option is available in Service Pack 2, which is the newly-released version of Expression Encoder 4. You can crop both your live and file source videos, to any dimension. Depending upon your resize choices, the cropped video will either display a letterbox in the cropped area or will stretch the source video to match the crop dimensions, just as it works in the Silverlight and Transcoding projects. It’s a simple thing to do. Here’s how.
Cropping your video
- Depending upon what type of video you want to crop, you can either choose it from the Live Sources or the File Sources panel. If you choose from the Live Sources panel, note that you can choose both a live source and Screen Capture as a source. If the Video Device menu is inactive in the Live Sources tab, then click Add Device Source . To add a file source, click Add File Source in the File Sources tab.
- At the bottom of either of the panels, click Show/Hide Advanced Properties to reveal the Crop section.
- Select Crop to activate the crop section.
Notice the Width and Height values. By default, they display the width and height of the source video, or the width and height of the area of the screen that you will capture. If you like, you can change the dimensions of the screen capture area. Below the Video Device menu, click Configure. Then, in the Properties dialog box, type new numbers for the Width and Heightvalues. You can also change other aspects of the screen capture in this dialog box. For more information on the screen capture properties, see the Expression Encoder Help.
- Do either of the following to change the cropped area:
- To adjust the resolution, drag the Width and Height values or click the value to select it and type new values. If you want to retain the source aspect ratio of the footage as you crop it, make sure that Maintain aspect ratio is locked. You will need to click the lock icon to lock or unlock the aspect ratio. If you choose to maintain the aspect ratio, then the output video will be stretched to match the new resolution. If you chose not to maintain aspect ratio, then Expression Encoder will letterbox or pillarbox the cropped area, depending upon the dimension that you adjust.
- To adjust the location of the cropped area, drag the Left and Top values or click the value to select it and type new values.
Now, if you haven’t already done it, set the audio device or the output type, as the Preview screen instructs. Selecting an output type determines how you broadcast your project, or if you archive it as a file. If you want to preview your crop, you may want to first choose Broadcast or File Archive. If you choose File Archive, make sure that you note the default directory where the archive will be stored. There is no special provision for previewing your crop, but the following steps will guide you through creating a simple output that you can delete later, and, more importantly, allow you to see your crop settings.
Make sure that, in the Live Sources or File Sources window, that you click Cue on the thumbnail representing your cropped image.
- Once you set your output type, to preview your crop, click Start.
Note the letterboxing in the cropped area. Also note the green line to the right of the image. This measures your audio input. If you are happy with your crop, then press Stop to end the preview and continue with building your project. You may want to make sure that you delete the file created by the preview, if you chose File Archive as your output method (that’s why I had you note the location where the file will be saved, though it should still be listed in the File Archive section). However, if you want to further refine your crop, then repeat the steps from Step 4 until you are satisfied.
That’s it. From there, you can create your broadcast, knowing now that your images are properly cropped. Consult Expression Encoder Help for more details on creating a Live Broadcast.
Thanks for reading. Happy encoding!