Using the Advanced Windows Media Plug-In

This is the most versatile video format for use in Windows PCs and for playback on the Internet. It supports URL markers and creates single files with multiple bandwidth bit stream rates to compensate for varying Internet user connection speeds.

As far as the actual export process goes, there's good news, not so good news, and sort of good news:

  • The good news is that using the Advanced Windows Media plug-in is very easy.

  • The not so good news is that you can use it only on your entire project, not a selection under the timeline.

  • The sort of good news is that workarounds are available if you want to export a portion of your project to a standard Windows Media WMV file.

Task: Export Your Project to Advanced Windows Media

To convert your entire project into a Windows Media WMV file, follow these steps:

  1. Open a project. I'd suggest selecting a short project because Advanced Windows Media is an all-or-nothing proposition.

  2. Select File, Export Timeline, Advanced Windows Media. That opens the dialog box shown in Figure 20.12.

    Figure 20.12. The Windows Media 8 Export Plug-in for Adobe Premiere dialog box gives you a raft of user playback profiles.


  3. Scroll through the Profiles list and note there are 30 options. Most are self-explanatory.

  4. Select the third profile?Dial-up Modems or Single-Channel ISDN Connections. As highlighted in Figure 20.13, that profile will create a file with seven bandwidth streams to accommodate dial-up connections as slow as 7Kbps to as fast as 45.3Kbps.

    Figure 20.13. Some profiles create single files with multiple bandwidth streams. This profile creates seven such streams.


  5. Note the Properties section. All these fields are optional and will display in the Windows Media Player.

  6. Select a destination by clicking the button highlighted in Figure 20.14.

    Figure 20.14. Select a location for your WMV file by clicking this button.


  7. You could start the export (file conversion) now, but first look at the custom settings by clicking that button below the Details window. This opens the Manage Profiles dialog box shown in Figure 20.15. Click the Details button to expand the window.

    Figure 20.15. The Manage Profiles dialog box lets you fine-tune your export settings.


  8. Locate the same profile you selected earlier: Dial-up Modems or Single-Channel ISDN. At this stage in the process you could create your own profile using this as a starting point. I'll give you a brief explanation in a later tip. For now, close the Manage Profiles dialog box.


    Things may become a bit confusing here. The profiles displayed in the Manage Profiles dialog box are not in the same order as they are in the Windows Media 8 Export Plug-in for Adobe Premiere dialog box. You'll need to search around a bit.

    Some profiles read "no audio" in their title but in the Media column indicate "Audio-Video."


    VBR means variable bitrate.


    To create or edit profiles, use a default profile as a starting point. Don't worry, you cannot change the default profiles. You use them to create custom profiles.

    Return to the Manage Profiles dialog box, select a profile close to what you want to accomplish, click Copy, give it a unique name, and click OK. Now it'll appear in the Name window. Select it and click Edit. That opens a series of windows that lets you select a target audience by denoting bandwidths, choose from a handful of codecs, and, as I've shown in Figure 20.16, input specific settings for each selected stream.

    Figure 20.16. Use the Edit Profile dialog box in this case to tweak each bandwidth stream.


    You cannot combine high- and low-bandwidth streams in the same profile. If you specify a bandwidth less than 80Kbps, you cannot select a bandwidth higher than 300Kbps.

  9. Go back to the Windows Media 8 Export Plug-in for Adobe Premiere dialog box. Make sure to reselect (if necessary) the original profile: Dial-up Modems or Single-Channel ISDN. Click OK. The encoding should begin.

When you're finished, check out your work by navigating to the newly created file and double-clicking it. That should open the Windows Media Player and display your video. It will likely play at the highest bandwidth because it's coming right off your hard drive.

Workaround to Create a WMV File for a Portion of Your Timeline

This workaround is relatively simple. It applies only to those with Windows Me or XP. Those versions of Windows ship with Windows Movie Maker; earlier Windows versions did not.

Task: Export the Work Area to a Windows Media File

To create a WMV file of a portion of your project, you will create an AVI file, open it in the Windows Movie Maker, and convert it to a WMV file there. Follow these steps:

  1. Select Export Timeline, Movie. Select Settings and then choose Microsoft AVI for the File Type setting and Work Area for the Range setting.

  2. If you want to tweak any settings, move on to the Video and Audio windows and do that.

  3. Click OK. Give the file a name and file folder location; then create the AVI file.

  4. Once this is completed, open Windows Movie Maker as shown in Figure 20.17.

    Figure 20.17. Use Windows Movie Maker to convert AVI files to WMV.


  5. Open a new project and import your AVI file. Click Save Movie and you're done.

There is one other workaround (there's always more than one way). You can take that AVI file you just created and import it into Premiere. Place it by itself on the timeline and then export the timeline to Advanced Windows Media. However, if you do it this way, you might never take a look at the Windows Movie Maker, which has some cool features.

    Part II: Enhancing Your Video