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I have recommended the stand-alone WME many times in these forums in the past. I also added a link to it in the PPro Wiki section on Windows Media.
It has a lot more options than are available through AME.
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You have always been ahead of the game Eddie.
(Wonder why more people dont listen to you more...)
At least I have caught up for now.
Used WME for years, very good tool. At the old studio where I used to work, we developed a set of MBR parameters to drive our streaming video product. Much simpler and more effective than creating multiple individual streams and asking people to pick one.
PPro offers more tweaking of WMV files now than it used to, but it's still not close to what you can do in WME.
WME is all I have used for wmv files. However in the last year or so I have pretty much moved to Flash for client web delivery. To me, it starts playing faster, looks better for the file size and has better compatibility. I had the opposite reaction from my Mac based clients which were frustrated by wmv files.
WME is a great encoder though and free from MS, wow! :)
I'll take it on faith that it is a good encoder, given the accolades here for it :)
Two questions: has anyone compared it to Procoder 3 output? Does it run on Vista 64?
I usually convert to multiple targets in Procoder (saves much time), and have had good results with its WMV output, so it makes no sense to use a standalone in my workflow when I can do all my conversions simultaneously in the background with a single app. But if Media Encoder 9 has better output than procoder, then it might be worth my time to use it.
So what is being said is that the workflow begins with a Premiere project exported to a Intermediate file? Then that file is imported by WME and encoded to the destination format?
If so, what is the suggested output setting from Premiere or AME?
What would be nice is something akin to how Quicktime handles this, orytek. QT's "export by reference" quickly creates a small pointer file to the original media, negating the need for an intermediate file (of which we don't have any good options anyway). This is what I most miss about editing on a Mac. Any reason why avi's can't have this capability, or why Premiere doesn't offer a decent intermediate codec for such uses? The only good options I'm aware of create HUGE files.
If you don't need the hi-def output option, I think Windows Movie Maker is much easier to use; however, it always deinterlaces, which you may or may not like, whereas WME only deinterlaces if you click on that option.
I've been experimenting lately with taking standard def material shot in stretched pixel wide-screen and using WME to upconvert to hi-def 1280x720 and then uploading to YouTube for their hi-def option. It looks pretty much like the true hi-def everybody else has been uploading considering that what YouTube calls hi-def is still fairly compressed compared to TV hi-def.
Oh, I should probably mention that while WME does a good job upconverting from SD to HD, it takes forever. My machine's a little older, but it's still a 2G system with 2G of RAM, and it takes about 5-minutes to upconvert 15-seconds of video.
The reason an intermediate workflow suits me is that I always produce an uncompressed (HQ) Master of a project (for Broadcast) anyway.
When a client wants a copy (wmv , qt,mpeg etc) it is quicker to load a standalone application (instead of PremPro) and to produce it with the intermediate or Master. Of course if I needed to batch encode , I would use AME standalone.
Currently most of my work is done in PPro CS3 (because of CS4 edit and playback issues) so the convenience of the standalone encoders is even more apparent.
Standalone Encoders in my tool kit:
Windows Media Encoder