Newsletter #4 - Movie Maker 2 and PhotoStory
2 - June 5, 2004
I received an email this week from someone working on a book about XP.
In the section about Movie Maker, he wanted to summarize what was new
and different in MM2 versus MM1.
I'll take the list I sent him and expand on a few items in this
Movie Maker 2 and Movie Maker 1
I use both versions on a regular basis and it's a good
topic. Let me start with a picture of my laptop screen, where I'm using
both MM1 and MM2 to work on a new project about this year's dance recital
that included my daughter-in-law and 2 of our grandchildren.
Note a few things in this picture:
The name of the 'May 23 2004 Recital' collection in both MM1 and
MM2 is the same because I made the collection in MM1 and imported it
The source file is a 40 minute segment from a digital camcorder
tape (captured using MM2). The project files in MM1 and MM2 are both using the
same source file.
When I say MM2 and MM1, I don't necessarily mean using one or
the other. You can use both at the same time. If I wanted to, I could
render both of these projects to new movie files and do both renderings at the
same time. They work independently of each other.
Before continuing with the weekly topic, a couple notes:
I didn't get many responses about the availability of the
Stereo Mix option on your computers. The few I did get
indicate that at least half of you have the option, more than I
thought it would be... and it's great that I can continue to discuss how to
use it. I'll be mentioning it in this week's topic below.
There are still some broken links on my website from the recent change in
servers. Just want to thank those who have sent notes about the ones they
My final special note is about the length of these newsletters. I always
lean toward more or perhaps too much info, thinking that readers can skip
what they aren't interested in. Not everyone would agree with that; one comment
back about the Zero to Hero book was that the content was great but the book was
too packed with info. I'll try not to do that with these newsletters, so
anything you question or want more about, just post your item to the newsgroup
or send me an email. I won't go into all points in the newsletter
in excruciating detail.
Here's the list of features introduced by MM2 that
I sent to the author of that XP book:
great sets of built-in collections
of special transitions and video effects
a 15 frames per second project
editing environment, so you can have real-time previewing of the project with
all the neat special transitions and effects. MM1 is a 30 fps editing
environment (sometimes better for more precise clip
lots more choices when saving a
movie, including saving directly as an email attachment, burning a WMV/HighMAT
CD, copying to a digital camcorder, and uploading to an internet
online video hosting service like Neptune.
text clips with your choices
of animations, fonts, colors, etc.
an AutoMovie feature that makes a
video for you, with a choice of 5 styles
anyway) of custom profiles for saving movies with different options than
the built-in choices.
'hooks' into the software
so anyone can make custom transitions and effects to add to those
provided with the software.
Now into the meat of this week's topic. Why do I still use MM1
over a year after MM2 was released? Here are 4 reasons:
Working Environment- 30 fps versus 15 fps (NTSC)
MM1 gives you a 30 fps working environment but doesn't have all the neat
special effects, transitions and text clips. Real time previewing at 30 fps is
relatively easy for your computer.
MM2, in order to give you real time previews with the extras, uses a
15 fps working environment.
The 30 fps environment aligns with the frames per second of your
camcorder and DVD videos. Splitting clips can be more precise...
for the nature videographer, the difference between a
single frame of an action shot might
Sometimes MM1 Works Better
I don't know if it's related to the working environment, but I find
the auto clip detection of MM1 to work a bit better than MM2.
MM1 handles some MPEG2 files easier than MM2 on my laptop, even
though I'm only using Movie Maker to convert the files to DV-AVI or WMV.
Sometimes it makes the difference being able to convert the file or not convert
Some people find that MM1 captures from their video equipment, but MM2
doesn't. Use the one that works best.
Collection Database Library
Why was I using MM1 and MM2 in the picture I showed you above? Well,
that gets me into the subject of creating and managing collection
When I capture video from a camcorder or other source, I do it with either
MM1 or MM2. My goal in a capture session is to get the individual
files located on my computers where I want them, and with appropriate
names. Auto clip splitting takes time, so I usually skip it right after the
capture. And there's no sense doing auto-clip detection as part of an MM2
capture session if I really want the clips in an MM1 collection
Clips for my library of collection databases???? Let me illustrate a bit. I
have a number of sets of standard 'topical' clips, and even some for
selected longer-term projects:
- Music - favorite items that work well in movies... nicely trimmed
clips... the refrain or a particular segment of a longer piece.... maybe
the Ode to Joy section of Beethoven's 9th.... all that work done in splitting
the clips just right the first time lets me easily reach over to it
in a standard collection, usually at a time when I'm busy
editing a project and not wanting to do detailed audio editing steps....
I'd probably do they sloppily if I did them at the wrong time.
- Starting intro clips like countdown clocks... transition clips like black
and white still images.... personally developed standard endings. When I need
such clips, reach over to the collection in my library of collection
- Sound effects.... listen to all those sound effects you have on your
computer in the pinball game... import them all into Movie
Maker, find those that work great in videos. But the clip names
won't be very descriptive. Keep the sound effects clips you want and
rename them in Movie Maker so they are descriptive like 'boing-boing',
'pop-pop-pop', 'buzzing', etc. Save them in another collection database.
- The clips for a longer-term project such as the dance recital footage
of May 23rd.... I'll do some web-based shorter videos for all to look at and
pass around the URLs. Then probably some longer higher quality ones on a DVD.
Then in future projects, grab an occasional one to mix in with other
events. The point is, as I import and slip the clips.... I already
know there's a number of projects that will use them. The work that goes into
renaming the clips with the names of the dance pieces and the people in
them (instead of tape footage counter numbers) will be used over and
over. So the package of clips for this recital goes into its own collection
database in my library.
You get the idea. My library of collections with routinely used
clips is built using MM1. Then, as I do my projects in MM2,
I start with an empty collection database and import the
MM1 collections I need. Let's say I'm working on the project
for web-based videos of the recital.
I'll open MM2 and import the MM1 collection of recital clips by using
File > Import Into Collections > change the file type dropdown list to
Windows Movie Maker 1x Collection Files > reach over and get the collection
from my library.
When I need the starting and ending clips I'll reach over and get that
collection database. My collection of music won't be needed as a
recital has it's built-in music.... same with sound effects. I'll get the
collections I need and not the others.
Backing up your collection databases is something that's important but
often neglected.... an advantage to working with a library of collection
databases on a neat shelf in a corner is that it's easy to access, and
easy to backup. I don't keep them buried deeply in my personal
default sub-folders. Not only can I use them, but so can anyone else who
uses my computer.
Not good but true.... sometimes Movie Maker wipes out, rezeros, the
collection database. I've had it happen many times. By running with
essentially an empty one, and with the hard work captured in my library of
collection databases, losing a current collection database is a trivial
Narration Capture - WMA versus WAV
Capturing a narration into a new WMA or WAV file is a great feature of
Movie Maker, especially when you have the Stereo Mix option listed in the
narration wizard (or its equivalent).
Whatever is playing on the computer at the time you're hearing it is
going directly into a CD quality stereo audio file. MM2 makes WMA files and
MM1 makes WAV files. A few advantages:
- Some audio issues are fairly common in MM2, especially in
a saved DV-AVI file. If you can play the file and it's sounding good
in any player on your computer (maybe the project preview of MM2), startup MM1
and record it in MM1 as a WAV file.... and use that file in your MM2
- Put a bunch of music files on the timeline of Movie Maker 1
or 2, overlapping to mix in and out. When it sounds great, use the
narration feature of the other Movie Maker to save the audio file.... no
need to clear off the video or text clips that might be on the timeline
at the time.
- iTunes has a neat equalizer feature... play your music there, fiddle with
the equalizer and capture what you hear in MM1 or MM2. Do the same thing with
volume adjustments, and make the audio fade in or out over a long period of
time, rather than the split-second fade in or out that MM2 uses. Or use the
equalizer presets like I'm using the 'Lounge' sounding option here.
- DRM material.... if you have the rights to use it, and you hear it
now.... it'll be in the captured narration.
DV-AVI Type I versus II
By now many know that MM1 saves DV-AVI files as type II, and MM2 saves
them as type I. If your other software can only handle the older type II, then
MM1 can be used as a conversion utility. Open the DV-AVI type I file in MM1 and
save it as a DV-AVI file (it'll be type II).
This constantly needs reiteration as others you deal with
may not know it, or your might come across new places where the type I
versus II issue is at the heart of a problem.
If you didn't save MM1 when you installed MM2, look at other computers that
haven't been upgraded to MM2 and copy the main executable file from it.
The MovieMk.exe file fits on a floppy disc. Rename it to something like
MovieMaker1.exe on the floppy, copy it into your Movie Maker
working folder and use both MM1 and MM2.
I look forward to any discussion items at the forums, and whatever the next
topic(s) will be.