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Old June 1st, 2010, 04:57 PM   #1
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Producing for Silverlight

A client has specified a need for a video I'm producing to be compatible and used with Microsoft Silverlight. What are the implications of this specification? Does Silverlight call for a special file type or is it a matter of converting to something more mundane such as .wmv or mpeg4?

My source will be video shot in HDV (Sony HVR-Z5) and edited in FCP.

Really glad for any responses.

Dave Burckhard
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Old June 1st, 2010, 06:09 PM   #2
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Though I have no personal experience with anything Silverlight related, the list of supported audio/video codecs and file formats is available on the MSDN: Supported Media Formats, Protocols, and Log Fields

There are a few specific limitations (and a full-on list of unsupported formats), but at least a couple of common media types look to be supported: Windows Media Video 7, 8, and 9 in the WMV container, and H.264 with Base, Main, or High profiles in the MP4 container, as long as they're progressive and 4:2:0. There are a few others, too, so take a look at that page for the details.

For the benefit of anyone on a Windows system, Microsoft's Expression Encoder 3 is available for free. The free version, according to the FAQ, lacks some 3rd party codecs, has no Smooth Streaming feature for IIS encoding, and is limited to 10 minutes for screen capture creation.

Also on that note, there's Expression Studio, which I believe is the whole enchilada as far as Silverlight production, but it'll cost you, so if you just need video compression you should be good with their encoder. Strictly speaking, since Silverlight supports H.264, I shouldn't think you need their encoder in particular, but it's worth a mention, especially if you want to produce VC-1 compliant WMV files. But don't quote me on that.

For further reading, I'd suggest digging through Ben Waggoner's blog, and searching the "New and alternative video codecs" board on Doom9. Not that I want to push people away from DVi, but our Distribution Center doesn't seem to have much Silverlight info thus far.

Oops, quick update; just got Expression Encoder installed, and I see that in addition to the above limitations, the free version is incapable of encoding H.264. VC-1 WMV files only, unless you buy the full version. Not that you'd want to encode H.264 streams with anything but x264, of course.

Last edited by Robert Martens; June 1st, 2010 at 06:46 PM.
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