Newsletter #4 - Movie Maker 2 and PhotoStory 2 - June 5, 2004
PapaJohn Productions
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 week's newsletter.
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 into MM2.
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.

Special Notices
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 bumped into.
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:

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:
Project 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 be significant.
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 it.
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 databases.
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 database.
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:  
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 issue.
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: 
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.

Installing MM1
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.