PapaJohn's Newsletter #12 - Movie
Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 - July 31, 2004
About: Text Messages
(with mini-tutorial about using them)
This week's topic will have some fun with text clips, using a
project file to pass messages to other Movie Maker 2 users.... and in
the process of doing it, reiterate a couple sometimes
• Project files don't need to always have .MSWMM
• Project files can be sent to others, viewed by them, and
taken further... edit the project and send it back or
forward it on.
Fun yes, but sometimes useful.... Some are working on a
surprise movie to celebrate a special occasion. Secrets are easy when
the other person isn't a computer or Movie Maker user who can see and
check the files on your computer. Dropping the .MSWMM extension might
Messages passed in project files might be just for fun... I’m not concerned
about anyone reading anything I write. In the world of computers and internet
communication, I always assume that anything I put into an electronic message
can show up some day in the wrong hands. So I never type anything that I'd
regret or feel embarrassed about.
This newsletter is just for the fun of it, and for some learning. But
you might have reasons to use it for other things.
Before getting into it, here's are a few items about things going
• Windows XP Service Pack 2 has been out for a while with the beta version
of MM2.1 in it. I've been studying it a bit and preparing a new website page
that covers installation, new features, and new issues (none so far).
The only way to get the beta of MM2.1 is to get the full installation package
for the beta of SP2.
I downloaded the latest one a few days ago to refresh my
MM2.1 beta files.... a 277 MB download file with 67 folders and 2,122
files. Big download and lots of time just to get a handful of MM2.1 beta
files. But broadband is great; as big as it is, the download was easy and
The release of SP2 and the MM2.1 update in it is getting closer. I'm just
doing homework to be ready, and I'd appreciate any feedback from those of you
exercising the new version. All of the main MM2 files are new revisions and
most of the interfacing files that MM2 relates to are also updated.
I'm sure we'll bump into new things as we go.
• I started writing for http://www.lockergnome.com
in a new media channel (which I don't see yet from the main menu). I made a
couple posts to test the waters, but I'm not yet comfortable there, simply
because it's a new website to me. For now, I'm just fishing around a bit to
figure out how best to post and write to it.
• I'm seeing a low level change in the complexion of
the e-mails I receive. The requests are less for help starting and running
Movie Maker and more for pointers about how to make better movies from an
artistic sense. My current website goals don't include how to make
better movies, but I'm currently rethinking it.
To help me think about it, I added a couple new pages this week using info
from Justin Murphy, a writer and avid user of Movie Maker. His approach to
writing about Movie Maker is from the artistic end, not the technical. I'll see
if this takes the site down another new path.
.... back to the topic of the week
About: Text Clips
Issue #6 of the newsletter covered
some aspects of text clips, working with them in a project. This issue is
more about - inter-project and inter-user items, topics I explored a bit
more fully when writing hacks for the new O'Reilly book.
Text clips live
only in project files.... you can't import or export them.... a rare
exception to the rule that clips need to come into a collection first, and
then from there into a project.
But you can copy a text clip from
one project and paste it into another. A project file with your favorite text
clip styles in it could be a valuable part of your
A newly saved project
file needs to have the MSWMM extension, but only when saving
it for the first time. Once saved, you can freely rename the project file,
as I did the one attached to this newsletter.
I changed the .MSWMM extension
to .FUN.... just for the fun of it. Newsletter12.FUN still looks like a
pretty normal file name. My favorite is naming it www.microsoft.com - it's a
link to you know where in this newsletter, but a project file with the same
name would work fine with MM2.
Mini-Tutorial: Text Message
Let's kind of work backwards in this tutorial.
You know how to add text clips to Movie Maker, so let's make it a bit
interactive, using a little text project as an exercise. It's the
Newsletter.FUN file attached to this newsletter.... it's not a
virus and has no spyware. It's just a renamed project file.
Let's see if anyone's filters wipe it out or quarantine it. Drop
a note if so, and I'll send it to you differently.
Opening the Message (Opening the
Project in MM2)
Double-clicking or otherwise trying to open the
attachment will result in Windows XP not knowing what software to open it
with. There isn't an association between .FUN and any
If Movie Maker 2 is open,
close it.... it's easiest to drag and drop the attachment.... right from
your copy of the newsletter to the MM2 icon on your desktop (I'm assuming
you have an icon there). Note that, even without the .MSWMM extension, MM2 will
recognize it as a valid project file and open up with it on the
I find that it’ll open
quicker and easier in Movie Maker 2 than a comparable note would open in
Word if it were a Word document.
If you don't succeed at opening the project via drag and drop,
then save it to your hard drive, open MM2 and the project file as you
normally would. To get over the hurdle of it not having the .MSWMM
extension, use the drop down for file types and change it to All files.
To read my message, preview the project....
I know you'll see the text clips as they are embedded
in the project file.
I'm pretty sure you'll hear the audio clips as I've used
some from the pinball game that comes with Windows XP. If by some chance
yours are not in the same folder/subfolder as mine, you would hear nothing and
see the big red X's indicating missing source files.
Here's what the project file looks like on the timeline. Pretty
See that the text clips on the timeline shows the
beginning of the clip... in English, even for the clips that are viewed in
Webding fonts on the playback monitor.
The project could be lots more complex if I also used text clips
on the video track. You can make all kinds of interesting videos by using text
clips on both the video track and the title overlay tracks, overlapping
Responding to the
Change the notes in the project if you want and sent
it back... no, it's not another poll and I don't expect more than a few
There are only two choices of animations that give you lots
of space for text. The Scroll, Perspective choice is a good and fun one, the
Star Wars’ titling animation effect. It'll take over 150 words. The other choice
is the Ticker Tape option. The other choices are very limited in the number of
characters that fit.... but you can mix clips and animations as you want to, if
the goal is entertainment and not passing a message.
For a bit more secrecy,
use the same text clip but change the colors of the text and/or its
Double-click on the text
clip on the timeline to re-open the title wizard. Opt to change the text font
and color. The Scroll, Perspective usually has white text on a dark blue
background (when on the video track). The easiest change is to make the
background white. White text on white background will look like a pure white
The Ticker Tape uses white
text on a red band… but it gives the text a slight shadow. So making both text
and background the same color will still result in a readable message due to the
shadow… use it if you want to tease a bit without having it totally hidden.
For even more secrecy,
change the text font to something like Web Dings. This figure shows what a
Scroll, Perspective message looks like when using that font. I’ll make it black
on white so you can read it.
The recipient doesn’t need
to know the font you used. He/she just needs to use the Movie Maker 2 title
overlay wizard to change it back into something more readable, or just read the
clip in the title wizard.
Other fun fonts to use are
WingDings, WingDings 2, WingDings 3, Technology, and Symbol.
And, if the
message still isn't secret enough, just add a few pictures to the
timeline so it really looks like you’re editing a movie project. Adjust the
duration of the text clips so they flash by in less than a split second,
when it takes a minute to read it normally in the wizard.
The person receiving your
message can extend the clip's duration, change the color, change the font… or
just double-click on the text clip to read it in the title wizard. Only he or
she will know it’s a secret message (hopefully so if it's secret).
And we started this
exercise using a Movie Maker project file as the carrier of the message,
not a saved movie. As Movie Maker project files can only be opened and read by
someone who has MM2, you’ll be safe from the prying eyes of others who don't use
I put a lot of thought into text clips.... I'm doing a wedding video next
month and I'm working on the perfect text clips - the font, the size, the
color, the degree of transparency, the alignment.... all those
Once I have the perfect text clip, I'll copy it into my text clip project
file, which is simply a personal library of text clips that I can copy and paste
from the library file to my movie project.
As the project file is small and has all that is needed, emailing is a
perfect way to share with other Movie Maker 2 users who you are close enough
with to share such things.... not the words, the styles of the clips.
And if you're into secret messages,
they should be pretty safe from those who don’t know how to handle the
renamed project file.