Expression Encoder ProfileAs you can see, I have been experimenting with posting video on my blog now that I have a HD Video Camera (JVC GZ-HD7U).  I have been trying various encoding formats in Expression Encoder to get a good balance of bit-rate and quality.  Here is my workflow:

  1. I shoot the video at 1080p
  2. I connect the camera via USB to my Lenovo T60p running Windows Vista and download the .tod files to my systems.
  3. I rename the .tod files to have .mpg extensions (because they are actually MPEG-2 encoded video files)
  4. I edit the video with Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 8.0 and output .WMV files at 1280x720 4Mbps bit-rate
  5. I open the .WMV files in Expression Encoder to experiment with various bit-rates to get the quality that I want.  If I crank up the bit-rate, I get buffering, If I lower the bit-rate, quality suffers.  I finally came upon a combination that I liked and saved it as a profile (Silverlight Streaming 720p). 
    • 24 frames/second
    • VC1 Variable-bit-rate (1,333 average, 2000 peak)
    • 10 second buffer
    • 1280x720
    • 96kbps audio
  6. I created my own branded Silverlight encoder skin called SynergisTV by copying and editing the XAML of the Blitz template that comes with Expression Encoder.  I added my own logo that I created with my Charette typeface in Expression Design and imported it into Expression Blend and used the Mix logo XAML that you can find here http://www.visitmix.com/2008/mixtify.html.  I used my simple Silverlight hyperlink technique to make both my logo and the Mix logo into hyperlinks.
  7. I zipped the files up and uploaded them to the Silverlight Streaming Service

If you have any suggestions for better encoding combinations for HD-quality Silverlight video, I'd love to hear your feedback.  I have attached the Expression encoding profile so you can try it out as well.  To install it, just drop the attached .prx file into C:\Users\%username%\Documents\Expression\Expression Encoder\Profiles.