Posts Tagged ‘Windows-media-encoder’

Forced downgrade to Color scheme Windows 7 Basic since “exceeded its allowed memory”



  1. clip_image001
  2. This warning and forced downgrade appeared on the teacher after starting using MS-Community Clips (which is just a GUI wrapper for Windows Media Encoder internally, which we used on the same machine successfully while it was still on XP).
  3. The error seems slightly more informative than what we received earlier, but I did not manage to investigate since this was in the middle of supporting a teaching use .

MS Windows Media Encoder, your free audio and video encoding utility

  1. Benefits
    1. Free
    2. Can cut and convert
      1. video
        1. Makes screencasts also.
        2. can capture video
      2. audio
        1. including pause removal.
    3. can stream
  2. Limitation: Outputs only to MS media formats (WMA, WMV) (
  3. Download here. There is also a 64-bit version.
    1. Officially supported on
    2. Windows 2000 and XP. I use it on Vista and Windows 7 (both 64-bit) also (for audio; no guarantees).
    3. f I remember correctly, Windows Media Encoder has a built-in limit to support only up to 4 CPU cores, you may have to limit CPU usage if you run on more advanced hardware platforms).
  4. a bit of config:
    1. For good quality video and audio, put a  prx file like this in "C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Media Components".
    2. Put a wme file like this anywhere and start by double clicking the file, then press green “Record” button.

LRC demo, troubleshooting and debugging screencasts

  1. The LRC student PC image contains a file C:\temp\
  2. Doubleclick or run the file, in the encoder window that comes up, click the green menu button to record your screen.
  3. When done demonstrating on screen, swtich back to the encoder window and click the red button to stop recording.
  4. Rename and archive (the student hard drive is “frozen”) the screencast video output file which you will find in c:\temp\screencast.wmv.

Free screencast recording software from Microsoft

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.

Presentation on Time-stretched Audio and Personalized Provision in Instructor-led Digital Audio Labs @ Nerallt/Neallt 2009, Yale University, New Haven, CT

The pervasiveness of networked digital media – new delivery forms for digital TV and radio by the traditional media industry, as well as new content providers using pod- and tube-casts -, owing to an ever more powerful, robust and – partially as an overhang of the bubble – abundant technical hard- and software infrastructure, has also revitalized – and poured substantial new resources into the modernization of – the older concept of the language lab. Computerized classrooms with network and multimedia facilities, basic classroom management systems and centralized databases, with some interfacing to serve as learning material repositories or portfolios demonstrating learning outcomes, have become a common underlying fabric for many of the constituents’ learning environments. The recent freezing up of the resource flow can serve as a wakeup call to remind us both of the critical “What is the benefit, or return on investment?” and of the original promise of e-learning: increased efficiency. On the one hand, scaling through crowd-sourced or automated sourcing and reuse of materials has become a pressing need in rapidly expanding second language programs like English and Spanish that new technologies can help meet. On the other hand, widely differing learner proficiency is increasingly a problem when trying to form classes in the shrinking programs of other languages, and personalization of learning provision is increasingly expected in an environment shaped by “long tail”-economies. This paper will evaluate common practices in SLA that have served as workaround, recapitulate a number of different time-stretching algorithms, summarize existing software solutions and introduce a new option which is based on MS-Windows Media Encoder’s time-stretching and pause detection capabilities. Finally, the presentation will exemplify instructor-led utilization of this simplified and/or automated time-stretching of authentic materials, with more teacher-control and a more realistic output than that built into current media players, as a – not exclusive, but valuable – step towards more comprehensible input of level “i+1” in a more personalized language learning provision.

Slide Deck: plagwitz_timestretching_audio_nerallt09.pdf

Digitization of the SAVILLE analogue Conference interpreting recording facility: Lecture/Floor recording and CCTV streaming

The original conference interpreting lab setup had no provision for digital video recording of the lecture/floor. A workaround used on of the booth VCRs for analogue recording, with video form an ELMO dome cameras and audio from a lectern microphone – an audio installation which ran in parallel to the main DSI conference interpreting facility (and covered only the lectern, not the conference table).

A home-brew add-on was based on a consumer handheld digital camera for video. Experiments with different add-on microphones for audio from the lectern and floor were less than successful.

The DIS system however provides an audio out of the lectern an/or floor audio, as well as the capability for the conference administrator to open or mute floor microphones and for the technical administrator to set the maximum number of open microphones, and control their gain.

For the digitization of this system, I used

  1. an already retired standard university student lab computer
  2. to which I added an old spare ATI All-in-Wonder video card
  3. to which I connected a TEVION home TV switch as a poor man’s (~5£) video splitter into which I fed
  4. the (hitherto unused) DIS audio out balanced stereo, using an RCA adapter, as well as
  5. the ELMO video, using  a coax to RCA adapter (video signal was split into the ATI as well as back into the original SAVILLE Kramer AV switch).

While originally coming with its own digitization software, the ATI All-in-wonder also works well with Windows Media Encoder.

Two wme configuration files were created:

  1. this file on the computer connected to the central rack, then double-click it in order to start Windows Media Encoder, then click the Record button in the top menu – no custom GUI was deemed necessary for this non-student operated recording)  for recording to files that can be played with Windows media player, whether on Windows or on Mac OS X.
  2. (again, simply find this file on the central rack computer, then double-click it) for streaming CCTV live to the back office. An onsite admin office was one of the usual features of a teaching lab which was missing in this installation. CCTV allows to keep an eye on teaching activities in the conference interpreting lab, proactively spot support needs ands absorb feature requirements which instructors tend to have problems articulating (or even seeing the need for articulating). A (lower quality archived stream is created on the side and can be picked up, post-processed and archived at TBA).


Digitization of the SAVILLE analogue Conference interpreting recording facility: Booths. Technical instructions


The original SAVILLE setup to add (floor and booth) video and enable recording in the DIS 6000 conference interpreting facility. The cabling, switching and interfacing can all be used unchanged, and the VHS recorders should indeed be used as backup. OTOH, once you feel confident about digital recording, you can  fade out the VHS recorders (or replace them by yet another output device).

Digital video capture card – the cheapest I could find was this and it tested to work (including lip synching),

Miscellaneous AV splitters and cables.

Windows Media Encoder 9 and the Windows Media Encoder SDK, both available from Microsoft and installed by campus ICT support.

Windows Media Encoder Configuration Files and in \\stushare_server\StuShare\Humanities, Arts and Languages\Language_Services\configuration

AutoIt3, a scripting language used on campus for computer deployment.  The compiled executable I provide has no prerequisites on our MS-Windows installation. If you want to make changes in the au3 script, you will need the free AutoIt3 language and development environment.

The script relies on impersonation to access the network shares. If the user/password this impersonation is based on changes, you can still work with the recordings on the local PC. To restore the network archiving/sharing functionality, you have to run trpPwdEncrypt.exe (a slight adaptation from the AutoIT3 help file example) and follow the included instructions:

Then recompile the script trprecord.au3 (both files are stored on the instructors-only share) and put the resulting trprecord.exe on the student-accessible share.


  1. Check the AV cables and connectors.
  2. Check the screenshots and their filenames which the software produces for logging in the local temp directory (note that this directory gets purged on restart).
  3. If you make changes in the environment, do not fail to also change the corresponding configuration strings at the top of trprecord.au3,  then recompile.

Digitization of the SAVILLE analogue Conference interpreting recording facility: Booths: End-user

The instructor sets the booth AV sources as usual (using the CRESTRON remote control).

The student in the booth starts the trprecord.exe from the student-accessible share (if the application is already running, an attempt to start another instance brings the current instance to the foreground).

In the GUI (which should not be hidden by blocking the student screen with AV signal; one more reason to stop the wasteful sharing of one screen between AV and VGA signal):

  1. choose whether to record “Audio” or “Video”(the disabled (grayed out) non-live recording modes are not yet implemented. they would be a completely separate extension of the SAVILLE system.).
  2. press “Start”, wait for the message indicating recording has begun
  3. pressing “Start” enables the “Stop” button; press “Stop” when finished
  4. once the “Play” button has been activated, the student can listen to the last recording in the default player for WMA or WMV files (normally Windows Media Player).
  5. both student and instructors can listen to other (past and/or peer) recordings by “open[ing the network share] folder”. The instructor (having full control permissions on the network share folder) controls the release of network share videos. Students can only read from this network share folder. The filename, e.g. trprecord_2009_08_04_18_24_47_MORLIB–PCC6392_plagwitt.wma, indicates this:
  6. Prefix

    Date  recording started

    Time recording started

    on which computer

    for which logged-in user

    Audio or video







  7. Currently, the computer in the booths of the interpreting suite have the following names (note that the computer names are not aligned with the booth numbers; update this when the computers get upgraded):
  8. Booth














  9. When listening to the recording in Windows Media Player, use the “Balance” slider which you can enable by clicking Menu:File / View / Enhancements / Graphics Equalizer. Wiggle the slider
  10. Press F1-key for (this) Help. Pay attention to program feedback messages in red.

View trprecord_demo_walkthrough.AVI (your problems with videos are addressed here; no screencast this time, as 2 simultaneous video encoding sessions would overtax the recording computer and could not demonstrate the interaction with the new secondary video screen) which demonstrates ease of use of the program itself and recording files it