How To: Modify Windows Live Movie Maker Output Settings

Posted: February 13, 2010 in Clubhouse Posts (Computers, Software, and Internet)

Windows Live Movie Maker (WLMM) is a great product. But with the latest version, Microsoft removed many profiles that were included with the “old” Windows Movie Maker product. In this article I will show you how to modify the existing output “profiles,” turning WLMM into an even more flexible and powerful video production tool. Using this knowledge, you will be able to create your own profiles for uses not included in the core WLMM product.

idea, light buld, tip iconTIP: If you would like to use a CableCard with Windows Media Center, you either need Windows 7 or a special version of Windows Vista. You will also need a CableCard tuner, such as the ATI Digital Wonder CableCard tuner.

Getting Started

Before you begin, there are some requirements:

  • Windows Vista, Windows 7, or higher (future-proofing this blog post, I hope)
  • Windows Live Movie Maker – why would you be doing this if you didn’t have it, anyway? <grin>
  • Patience – to test your profiles

A Bit of Background

My search for how to do this started after I had encoded my Superbowl DVD and BluRay videos from my CableCard capture in Windows Media Center. While the trimmed video looked pretty good, I wanted a higher bitrate for higher video quality, and wanted to keep the 5.1 surround sound Media Center records, instead of the 2-channel stereo WLMM uses. Since I was creating a BluRay version of my Superbowl disc this year, I couldn’t live without the surround sound and highest bitrate available on BluRay, now could I! :)

Unfortunately, WLMM doesn’t have a built-in function to let users tune its built-in profiles. Thankfully, Microsoft’s WLMM team chose to use the same profile format as other applications that use Windows Media Encoding, and the idea for this article was born.

Step 1: Download Necessary Software

In order to create your profiles, you will need the Profile Editor, available in the free Windows Media Encoder utility. You can download the installers by following the appropriate link below:

arrow, down, download icon Windows Media Encoder or
arrow, down, download icon Windows Media Encoder x64 Edition – Get the x64 version if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows.

Step 2: Install Windows Media Encoder 9

After you have downloaded the appropriate installer, simply double-click it and follow the instructions to install. It shouldn’t take very long.

image

Figure: The Windows Media Encoder 9 setup wizard. Yours may look slightly different if you downloaded the 32-bit version.

image

Figure: After a few minutes, the software should be successfully installed.

image

Figure: FYI, you can find the Windows Media Encoder tools under Windows Media in the Start menu.

caution, exclamation mark, sign, triangle, warning icon CAUTION: According to Microsoft, you should not install both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the tools on the same machine.

Step 3: Back Up the Existing 1080p Profile

In this example, we will make a backup of the built-in 1080p output profile, and then modify its video quality setting to 100% instead of 95%.

1. Navigate to the WLMM video profiles folder:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Live\Photo Gallery\Video Profiles

NOTE: Your drive letter may be different.

2. Make a copy of the PublishToFile1080p file by selecting the file, then pressing Control-C, and then Control-V.

image

Figure: The copied file.

3. Rename the copy from PublishToFile1080p – Copy to PublishToFile1080p – Backup. If you are showing file extensions, do not remove the .prx file extension!

caution, exclamation mark, sign, triangle, warning icon CAUTION: Always back up the profiles you are modifying!

image

Figure: The renamed file.

Step 4: Modify the New Profile

Double-click the original PublishToFile1080p file and the Windows Media Encoder Profile Editor will load, as shown in the figure below:

There are a lot of settings here, and I will leave it up to you to experiment and learn more.

idea, light buld, tip iconTIP: The Windows Media Encoder Profile Editor comes with a help system so you can learn more about how it works.

Now, we want to change the audio and video quality. Next to Audio, change the Audio Mode dropdown to Quality VBR and the Codec to Windows Media Audio 10 Professional. Then, next to Video, change the Video Mode dropdown to Quality VBR. This video setting automatically determines the best bit rate to use based on a percentage scale.

image

Figure: Changing the Audio and Video modes.

Now, change to the Quality-based tab on the top and change the video quality from 95 to 100% and the audio format to VBR Quality, 98, 96 KHz, 5.1 channel 24bit VBR, as shown below.

image

Figure: Changing the quality settings.

Save and close the profile by typing clicking Save and Close.

Step 5: Test

Launch WLMM and you should not receive any errors. Find a video to encode, and save it using the High Definition 1080p profile.

image

Figure: Encoding the video. Note that this may take a while, since encoding video takes a long time anyway, and you just increased the quality settings!

idea, light buld, tip iconTIP: You can also use Windows Media Encoder to test your profiles before you use them in WLMM, although this someone defeats the point.

idea, light buld, tip iconTIP: Remember the rule of Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO). If your source media is low quality, a higher quality encode of a low quality source will likely not yield better results. In fact, it’ll probably make it worse.

That’s it! You’ve successfully modified your WLMM output profile settings!

Moving On

It would be nice if we could create our own profiles and have them be included. I haven’t tinkered with this yet, but I plan on playing around with accomplishing such a feat.

I encourage you to experiment – just make a backup before you do. Please post your results in Comments.

‘Til next time, enjoy!

Best,

-Auri

Comments
  1. ROSS says:

    Thank you for the post! This is my biggest concern with WLMM. I have a question on your directions above. In step #4, when I click on "Save and close", the program says "access is denied." I tried editing the profile in the "profile editor" directly, but it says "you don\’t have permission to save in this location." I\’m the only user of this computer, and I log in as the admin. How do I get permission to save in the folder? Thanks!

  2. Peter says:

    I found that what I had to download was "WMEncoder.exe". I installed "WMEncoderSDK.exe" first, but that was not enough. Once I had installed WMEncoder I was able to modify a ".prx" video profile… Haven\’t tested it yet, though… :-)

  3. Auri says:

    Gosh, sorry, it sometimes takes a while for me to respond to blog comments… the best thing to do is email me – go to my Web site and hit me up: http://aurigroup.com -Auri

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