PapaJohn's Newsletter #1 - May 15, 2004...
Thanks for being one of the initial subscribers to this
newsletter. It's another step in my efforts to offer support to Movie Maker 2
and PhotoStory 2 users in as many ways as possible.
The formatting will be pretty crude to get it
started. I'm focusing on content first. Better formatting will be
added as I go.... I'll assume that an HTML formatted email will work OK for
Luckily for me, only one of those signing up had a clear
request for a topic, so I didn't have to flip a coin to figure out what to
cover first. His note said 'I would like to see
more on WMV-HD content and creation. Maybe how to license production for
the move of my websites from one server to another and to
a different operation system, it seems that many links no longer work...
I apologize for any problems and am fixing any links as I
find them or they are reported....
Topic of the Week - High
Movie Maker 2 is an entry-level video editing software
app, at the opposite end of the spectrum from software that produces
high-end commercial 'High Definition' video.... don't expect too much of it, but
don't pass up any opportunity to use it at higher levels.
.... it's a fun subject, and we can learn much by
You might not be able to meet the full standards for true
'High Definition' movies, but you may be able to
increase the resolution of your home movies.
What is 'high
definition', 'High Definition', 'high
resolution', etc? There are different answers and it depends on who you
My favorite is that it's what you drool over in the
electronic stores as you browse, because it's better than what you have at home,
but can't afford. So, what you own is 'standard definition' and what you would
next is 'high definition'. It's a moving target.... More than half of what
I see today in the stores is widescreen, but not all are 'high definition'?
My analog Hi8 camcorder from 6 years ago shoots widescreen, but not high
If you check books on the shelves of
Borders and Barnes and Noble, you'll see things like these:
The glossary of 'Digital Video and HDTV -
Algorithms and Interfaces' by Charles Poynton says: HDTV - High-definition
television: A video system having aspect ratio 16:9 whose image comprises
3/4-million pixels or more..... (my new digital camera is 5 megapixels so using
them in a slide show type video must qualify.... )
Digital Video and HDTV, page 99 -
Widescreen (16:9) SDTV - the term is misleading because there is no increase in
pixel count. A so-called widescreen SDTV picture cannot be viewed with a picture
angle substantially wider than regular (4:3) SDTV. It effectively stretches
samples horizontally by 4/3 compared to the 4:3 aspect ratio base
A book about Digital Video and HDTV, page 111, Intro
to HDTV says ".... by my definition, HDTV has 3/4
million pixels or more....'
If you look at the new disc combo
packages (DVD disc plus WMV High Definition) like Coral Reef
Adventure, it'll tell you that the High Definition disc has two
files: 720p (720 horizontal lines - progressive mode) and 1080p (1080
horizontal lines - progressive).
And if you look into the 'Official Standards' for today's
High Definition TV, at places like
you'll find information such as:
"SMPTE 296M: 1280 x 720 Scanning, Analog and Digital
Representation and Analog Interface
This standard defines a family of raster
scanning systems for the representation of stationary or moving two-dimensional
images sampled temporally at a constant frame rate and having an image format of
1280 x 720 and an aspect ratio of 16:9. This standard specifies:
R'G'B' color encoding
R'G'B' analog and digital
Y'P'BP'R color encoding, analog representation, interface
Y'C'BC'R color encoding and digital representation
component A may optionally accompany Y'C'BC'R; this representation is denoted
Y'C'BC'RA. A bit-parallel digital interface is incorporated by
For me, what constitutes High Definition is somewhat
moot.... fun to talk about at a cocktail party, but not something I'm really
going to really be concerned about. I'm not out to produce DVDs or TV shows
officially labeled as High Definition. I'm just out to get the
most I can from my source files and saved movies..... and have more
fun by making my movies at higher resolution.
The basic ingredients of video
include the number of pixels (which some focus exclusively on), color
information (which some don't understand or - like me - are color impaired
enough to give it less priority), audio channels and quality, and the bandwidth
size needed to have it flow smoothly from it's source to the
Achieving it starts with the sources themselves, and then
cascades through the steps of the editing and delivery
Consumer digital camcorders capture, record, and deliver
digital video to your computer at the digital video standard, which is 720x480
pixels.... not enough pixels to qualify as High Definition. Note that
both standard 4:3 and widescreen 16:9 digital video are 720x480
pixels.... the pixels are just different shapes. Of course, pro-sumer and
professional camcorders can shoot at higher quality.
But video clips can also come from high resolution still
images and computer generated animations.... which can qualify.... I have 5
megapixel images from my newest camera, and I can generate AVI files from
animation software that matches the working window on my computer, which can be
as large as 1600x1200, more than enough for true High Definition.
Photo Story 2 and Movie Maker 2 and Higher
Photo Story 2 effectively uses whatever pixels are in the source
files, but it's limited to using still images. With one of the optional
profiles from Microsoft, you can make videos as high as 1024x768 pixels.
Movie Maker 2, for higher resolution still pictures, regardless of
the input size, effectively resizes them to 800x600 pixels before rendering
the movies.... but for video source files, it produces saved movies that are
aligned with the source clips. For saving to something higher than standard
NTSC files at 720x480, you need to use a custom profile. I have a couple of them
for download on my website, one at 1024x768, the same size as the custom profile
for Photo Story 2.
Note that, the higher the quality of a video, the more powerful a computer
is needed to play it smoothly. We all know that rendering takes time.... but let
it render as you sleep and get up in the morning to your high resolution
videos. But can you play it back smoothly? Was it worth making in the first
place if you can't effectively view it?
High Definition Content Showcase -
Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series is a breakthrough set of codecs that
enables multichannel audio and high definition (HD) video at resolutions up to
1080p. See high definition in action for yourself. Download samples of HD
content in 720p and 1080p.
To deliver ultra-high quality, these clips were encoded at 24 frames per
second (fps), and at the resolutions noted of either 1280 x 720
(720p) or 1920 x 1080 (1080p). (Resolutions vary per clip.)
One hour online video about making a High
Definition video - This session will step
through the process for acquiring, editing, compositing and encoding Windows
Media HD video for playback on PCs and DVDs. It won't mention Movie Maker
This breaks the ice.... thanks again for signing up. I
look forward to any discussion items at the forums, and whatever the next
topic will be next week. I'm open for ideas.