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All posts tagged Expression

A Mailbag Question On Video

I was getting questions through a variety of channels and I made the decision to turn this into a mailbag set of posts.

So this is the first of them, where you my readers ask for solutions for issues that are vexing you and Warptest will serve up an answer.

mailbag 1 - video

Today’s Mailbag

This is from a reader A. in Israel who wants to know,

“Which desktop tool do you recommend for one-stop video post processing?”

  1. If you are looking for a basic video editing suite on Windows then simply use Microsoft Movie Maker this will answer all your basic needs for processing video you shot with your Smartphone / Digital Video Camera / Webcam and then uploading the finished video to

*I’m not going to get into fair usage or creative commons laws and rules (I’m no lawyer so if you are looking for that information, I suggest a visit to Google / Bing).

  1. Another tool (or tool set) you should be looking at is a blast from the past, Real Player; a multimedia player available for download for all current versions of Windows.

Real Player (free version) comes with a set of bundled tools: –

  • Real Downloader: a tool for downloading web videos from the browser. Hover the mouse over the video and the Download button will appear. One click and the movie downloads to your PC.
  • Real Trimmer: a tool for taking an existing video file and selecting the part(s) you want and trimming off the rest.
  • Real Converter: a tool for converting the file to a variety of formats based on device, file type or a custom type.

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In addition Real offers their users Real Player Cloud: the latest free version of Real Player combined with cloud based storage. Users get 2Gb of free cloud storage with 1Gb more for each device they install the app(s) on.

Real Player Cloud allows the user to upload / store media in the cloud, share (publicly and privately) and access their media on a variety of devices including iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows 8x, Roku, Chromecast and PC, without file format restrictions. Best of all users you share a video with get an email with a link and don’t need to install any apps to view the video.

Assuming your video isn’t larger than your Real Player Cloud storage this is a winning solution for a lot of people.

  1. If you have a PowerPoint presentation then in the old days conventional thinking was you could upload the presentation but that was about it. Since Office 2010, PowerPoint allows you to convert your presentation to a movie based on destination device type. You can also choose between MP4 or WMV as output file type. [In PowerPoint 2013: File > Export > Create a Video]

Powerpoint to Video

  1. If you also need screen capture in addition to editing then as I’ve mentioned in a previous post take a look at Microsoft Expression Encoder. This is a bit more of a complex tool but still another great freebie from Microsoft.

Microsoft Expression Encoder - Video

The Warptest POV

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more free video tools out there. These are some of my favorites in terms of solving particular issues, resource use on the PC and learning curve. Real Player may be a bit retro but it gets the job done when other tools have failed me.

Try them out and let me know what you think. If you need more information or some help with using these tools then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Meanwhile, send in your mailbag requests including whether you want your name used and what platform / OS you are asking for.

Ballmer freebies

Microsoft likes giving us freebies…

… Some of these are hidden gems that most users have no idea exist. One of these is the Microsoft Steps Recorder.

This is a small application that allows you to save a recording of every click and every action you take on your computer.

Don’t Worry This Isn’t PRISM

I know that at first glance this sounds like Microsoft wants you to run a key-logger or something worse but you run the application and it records what you choose.

To run it: –

  • Windows 7: Start > Run > PS [enter] PSR [enter] With thanks to Jim Hazen and Fellow tweep @Srinivasskc for each correcting this in a gentlemanly manner.
  • Windows 8: Charms sidebar > Search > Steps Recorder > select

Windows Step Recorder

  • The application will open a small hovering toolbar on top of all open windows.

Windows Step Recorder App

  • Hit the record button to begin recording and the stop button when you have captured the activity you wanted to capture.

What Has The Steps Recorder Captured?

The HTML file contains a series of screen captures showing each step the user took: each window you interacted with and each click therein.

Windows Step Recorder Results 1

After this there is a text list of the application name and the UI element interacted with.

Windows Step Recorder Results 2

What’s the point of it? The use cases are basically this:

  • If you have a problem that you can’t quite explain to your tech support this is a nice, easy way to record how the problem occurs and send the steps involved to Support so they fully understand your problem. This also makes it easier on Support not having to translate what you are telling them.
  • This is a great testing tool for running test cases and saving the recorded scenario attached to a bug the tester reports.
  • If you need screen captures for a PowerPoint / Training Session / Technical Document this is how to capture the process you want to describe from end to end.

The Warptest POV

This is a great little tool and a freebie from Microsoft. The only major downside of it is the longer the scenario you record, the bigger the file can get. My advice is to work out what you need to record and don’t include redundancy.

What if you need something more though? Microsoft has you covered again. If you need to capture actual video of desktop activity then you can install Microsoft Expression Encoder 4. This is the free version and it works nicely.

Expression Encoder

Expression Encoder allows you to record video of a selected region of the screen or the whole screen, it can also just record voice or video from your webcam. Any post processing / editing you’ll have to do in another tool but plan your capture right and you shouldn’t need to do any of that.

Expression Encoder Walkthrough

In a nutshell, there something for everyone here. If you need help with this then contact me via Warptest here. Happy capturing.

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