- Expression Encoder is a great screen casting tool for Windows – and it is free.
- Except that in the free version, each clip is limited to 10 minutes. This can result in many clips that you nee to combine to document one session.
- Adding clips to the media and encode them does not roll over at the end of one to the next clip (as thing used to Work in Windows Media Encoder) – it produces as many output files.
- Using the Add Source at End . button seems to limit you to adding one clip after the other.
- What I had missed so far: You can simply select multiple clips at once in the file open dialogue.
- Expression Encoder will add all to the timeline in sequence, and encode all to one output file:
- This glitch has bugged me once too often, so now I am writing myself a mental note:
- Root cause : Something turns the display of the Template Tab off.
Teachers ask me about software for making screencasts explaining procedures to their students. I have not googled for free screencast recorders recently, since I have been happy for many years to use (or rather work with extensively, and recommend) Windows Media Encoder 9 on MS-Windows. Allegedly as of end of 2010, this software is not linked on Microsoft’s website anymore (but can still be googled and downloaded). Even though not officially supported on this OS any more, I have also used it successfully on Windows 7 (64-bit) (after Vista (64-bit) and Windows XP)).
The official replacement screencast recorder from Microsoft is Windows Expression Encoder (of which I still use the inexpensive Version 3), which is available here (Version 4 SP1) for free. Media Encoder is almost 10 years old, so Expression Encoder is clearly superior – however, the free version is somewhat crippled, most notably in this context I seem to remember the time limit for screencasts is 10 minutes.
Both Encoders are somewhat technical in nature. In particular, I suspect the reason why considerable experts did not know Media Encoder as a screencast recorder (which is not the same as a documentation and training maker: its post-editing capabilities are limited and not specialized for documentation, unlike e.g. Camtasia), was that its default settings for screencast recordings are low quality.
To “uncork” the real possibilities of this software, your first need to alter the compression settings within the WME configuration file that your screencast is based on (you can do this from within Windows Media Encoder itself). Moreover, for this change to stick, you need to alter an underlying PRX template file also. This file is hidden away in the depths of the Encoder install directories; after installing Windows Media Encoder, search your programs folder for a file named schia.prx, it is an XML file that will open with the Windows Media Encoder utilities.
In MS-Expression Encoder 3, the video cropping feature in the “Enhance”tab is broken, unless you use the workaround for cropping in this screencast.