Step 3: Windows Media Encoder - Encoder Setup
Click on the "Properties" button at the top. This opens the "Session Properties" window.
In the "Sources" section, you can find information about the source file. The "Mark In/Out" function is useful for selecting only part of the source to encode.
Skip to the "Compression" tab and click on the "Edit" button. This should open the "Custom Encoding Settings" window. Here, change both the audio and video mode settings from "CBR" to "Bit rate VBR" - using VBR encoding will greatly improve quality and selecting the "Bit rate VBR" option will allow us to specify the output file size.
Click on the "xxxx Kbps" tab (where "xxxx" is a number - the bit rate, actually). This is where you configure the audio and video bit rate, and hence, determine the quality and file size of the output file. I am going to recommend some settings that will produce WMV files of good quality (equivalent to the quality of TV episode downloads, 350 MB per 42 minutes @ 640x*** resolution).
Set the "Audio Format" tp something lower, "96 kbps, 44 kHz, stereo VBR" should do (you can probably get away with "64 kbps").
Select the "Same as video input" option next to the "Vide size" input boxes to make the output file use the same resolution as the input.
Change the framerate to match the framerate of your source video (usually 23.976, 25 or 29.97 FPS).
Change "Key frame interval" to "10" seconds.
The "Video bit rate" option will require a bit of calculation. If you have a bit rate calculator, now would be a good time to use it, but as a general rule, here's the equation to use:
Video bit rate in Kbps = (8 * (Output file size in MB * 1024) / (Length of movie in seconds)) - Audio bit rate
For example (taking your average 350 MB, 42 minute TV episode download):
Video bit rate = ((8 * 350 * 1024) / (42 * 60)) - 96 = 1041 Kbps
So enter in "1041K" for example into the "Video bit rate" input box.
You can return to the "General" tag and export this encoding profile, so you can re-use it later on for encoding the same types of files. Otherwise, click "OK" to close the "Custom Encoding Settings" window.
There are other settings here, but we don't really need to change them, so click on "Apply" to apply the changes to the session.
All that is left to do now is to press the "Start Encoding" button and encoding should start.
After the encoding is finished, you should have a new WMV file and you should test this file in Windows Media Player. After you have confirmed it works, you can then copy the file onto CD/DVD/USB, and play this file back on your Xbox 360.