PapaJohn's Newsletter #14 - Movie
Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 - August 14, 2004
About: Windows XP
SP2 and Movie Maker 2.1 (with mini-tutorial)
My short term schedule for topics said I'd devote one to Movie Maker 2.1
when it was released. It's here!!! Windows XP Service Pack 2 is being
rolled out now and the new version of Movie Maker with it. You may not have it
yet, as it depends on if, when, and how you get the upgrade.
Movie Maker 2.1 looks and feels the same but there are two
• A new third tab in the Tools > Options window shows a list
of filters (codecs) on the computer, and lets you uncheck
any that you want to not get in the way of Movie Maker. Unchecking
one immediately removes it from the picture without effecting other
software that uses the same item. You don't need to search for and rename
an ax file or use John Kelly's utility.
• The much called for 'pass-through' feature is now included. You
won't see anything as you use Movie Maker, but if you hookup your analog and
digital camcorders in the 'pass-through' mode, it'll work and work well. The
mini-tutorial in this newsletter focuses on it.
Before getting into it, here's a few notes about some things
• I found a new book at Barnes & Noble this week. It said it wasn't
about Movie Maker, but it used Movie Maker to illustrate every aspect of working
on digital videos.... so yes, it's all about Movie Maker. The book is
Digital Video with Windows XP, a Sams Teach Yourself book in
its in a Snap series. The book is targeted at beginners and has
a retail price of $24.99.
I wasn't impressed. The disclaimer at the front from the Associate Editor
started me off by saying he wants to hear from you about the book,
but can't help you with technical problems, nor respond to all emails.
That was followed by this statement from the author on page 6 ''....
you can move your digital videos from camera to computer to camera to DVD to
hard disc and back again, and you can make as many copies as you want, without
any loss in sound or picture quality....'. You can imagine the images I had of
file transfers flitting around my head as I re-read the sentence a few
As an author I'd like to sell my books.... but that's not the
core reason for assessing it and any other book about MM2. In a consulting
role I need to be impartial. Last week I was asked to recommend a text book
to be used in a new course being introduced into the school system of a
major city, a video editing course that will be built around Movie
Maker. My suggestion was either Zero to Hero or Jan Ozer's Quick
Start Guide. My Do Amazing Things book has the most eye-candy and is the easiest
read, but it might not be the right one as a classroom text book.
• That didn't take long. Justin Murphy dropped the curtain on
his first efforts to organize an online Movie Maker film
festival. But he's putting the website space obtained for it to good
use, to show us some of his works.
Justin's efforts are commendable.... the internet is such
a great place. Try something and, if it doesn't work, go onto something
• I added the 2nd advanced PhotoStory topic to that
website yesterday, about 'streaming' stories. Someone asked if
they could stream them as we do Movie Maker WMV files. As they use the Image
codec, I tested it and found it worked great.... an 800x600 steaming story made
from high definition pictures, with music included, needs only a bit rate
of 159Kbps. See the sample and info on the PhotoStory site.
....on to the topic of the week
About: Windows XP SP2 and Movie Maker
My downloaded SP2 installation file is 279 MB... a big
package to get a handful of files to upgrade Movie Maker to 2.1.
But, that's how you get it. With the wonders of broadband at my house, it was
about 40 minutes to download.
To support a roll-back of SP2 if needed,
it creates a new subfolder in the Windows folder, named
$NtServicePackUninstall$. It copied 2,523 files into it... including my
Movie Maker version 2.0 files. So that's one place to look if you ever need
one of the files back. Hopefully you won't. And the c:\Windows\i386 folder is
still there too with 5,500 files in it. Enough on those for now.... I'll visit
them if and when I need to. I expect to keep going forward and not have to
Installing SP2 overwrites the MM2.0 files
with new ones. All but the help file are dated 8/4/04. It leaves
the MM1 files alone, so you can continue to use MM1
In addition to the same set of files as MM2.0 had, there
are new wmm2res.dll and wmm2res2.dll files, along with a filters.xml
file in the Shared subfolder. These are associated with the new
compatibility feature discussed below. The filters.xml file has a list
of 139 "trusted" ax, dll, and vxd files.
The help file (moviemk.chm) is in the Mui/0409
subfolder. Although dated 7/17/04, it's the exact same size as
the original MM2.0 help file of 11/27/02, and I don't see any changes in
it... no added info about the new compatibility or pass-through
features. I'm sure it's the same file just recompiled on July 17.
I recommend backing up your collection database file before
opening MM2.1.... during the beta phase I was toggling between
versions 2.0 and 2.1 and sometimes going back to using 2.0 would
wipe out the collection database and give me a new one, telling me it
was corrupt. It was always after using version 2.1 and going back to
2.0. Most of the time it would be OK.... it might just have been operator
error (me registering and unregistering the DLLs) or the suffix number of
the database file being different than expected.
If your collection database file is
important, back it up to play it safe.... even though it's probably not a high
risk during the upgrade. I really don't see anything that would warrant
returning to 2.0 once you move to 2.1, but back it up anyway.
The new compatibility tab had
nothing in the list when I installed the beta version on my older
Dell laptop, which doesn't run anything much more than the operating
system. I saw a post by John Kelly the other day that he also didn't have
any items in the list.
But my main working computer, the
Toshiba laptop, has a list with 57 items in it, enough to study.
All but one of the items are checked. Here's a picture that shows 5 of the
items, including the unchecked one.... the iviaudio.ax file.... a familiar
name. I know it's the iviaudio.ax file because the full path and file
name shows in the tool tip when you linger over the line item and in the
path column. That's one of the problem codecs that I routinely run as being
unregistered when using Movie Maker.
With this feature of MM2.1, I can run
the computer with iviaudio.ax registered, for use by WinDVD. And the codec won't
clash with MM2.1 as it's disabled for doing movie project work, by
being unchecked here. My testing shows it works fine.... I can play DVDs
and edit movies without having to register and unregister the iviaudio.ax
I used the link to learn more about
video filters... and, when the page opened, I wondered where to go to
learn. Maybe to the newsgroup to ask you about them. I didn't see anything
aligned with the link name.
As a cross-check on the
compatibility list I checked GSpot to see how many it says I have: 64 video
and 24 audio. And, per GSpot, 4 of the video and 2 of the audio codecs are
Checking installed codecs using
the Control Panel, I see lists of 20 video and 11 audio
I can see some upcoming
homework as I figure out how to correlate these lists, and more
importantly how best to advise those who are starting to
use Movie Maker 2.1 and run into codec-related issues.
We mention codecs and codec
issues in lots of posts. Some of the more technical people sometimes mention
filters and filter graphs.... I wonder what the technical difference
All of the problem codecs on my
website page are .ax files. The compatibility list is a mix of .ax files and
It's a term used when you put a digital camcorder in the middle,
between your analog device and your computer. No tape is needed in the digital
camcorder as it's simply passing the signal through it. And while it's
at it, it's converting the signal from analog to digital.
Simplistically, you do it using Movie Maker 2.1 using
(1) Connect the source analog camcorder, VCR, or other playing
device.... to the digital camcorder's input connections. Open the LCD
door of the analog camcorder if there's one, so you can see and
hear the video during playback.
(2) Remove any tape from your digital camcorder (it won't work with a
tape in it), and connect it to your computer via firewire/iLink. Turn it
on in VTR/VCR mode. Open the door so you see the LCD screen and hear the
audio during the capture session. The only tricky parts are making sure the
camcorder supports a pass-through process and the camcorder menu settings
(3) Open MM2's capture wizard, select the digital camcorder as the
source, and capture the analog signal as a digital file (DV-AVI or WMV
of your choice).
As you play the analog device, you can watch it in all 3 places. You can hear
it on the analog device and the digital camcorder, butt not the
computer. Start and stop the capture using Movie Maker, as usual. But start
and stop the analog tape at the analog device.
The generic steps above might be too simplistic..... and the
world of possible combinations of analog and digital devices too much to cover
I'll illustrate it with my Hi8 camcorder playing a tape and my
digital camcorder converting it as I capture.
Prep the Digital
My TRV80 digital camcorder has a touch-screen to use for
menu settings. It's important that the camcorder be enabled to accept an analog
input, and that it is setup for pass-through. If and how you do it will depend
on your camcorder model.
I had to check two things on my TRV80 to get it ready
• This one is easy as it's the default - make sure it's set
to show the display on its LCD screen - with the camcorder on and in
VCR mode, use the menu > Page 1 > Others (etc) > Display > set it to
LCD if it isn't.
• I had to change the A/V setting from outputting in analog
format to digital.
To change the setting, I turned the camcorder on in VCR mode and
used > FN > page 1 > Menu > VCR Set > Exec > A/VtoDV Out
> change it from off to on > Exec > Exit
Once changed, I just leave the setting that way.... I don't have
to toggle it for other things I usually do with the camcorder.
the one-time setup is done, it's time to connect the devices.
Connect the Analog Camcorder to the Patch
This figure shows the connections on my Sony Hi8 analog
camcorder, a model TRV615. For the video I can use either the upper S-video
connection or the yellow RCA connection under it. The S-video gives much better
image quality and my digital camcorder has an S-video input connection, so I use
The white and red RCA connections are used for the two
The patch chord that came with my digital camcorder has 3 RCA
connections at one end and a 3-part mini-jack at the other.
Patch Cord - Analog Camcorder to
I plug the red and white RCA connections into the analog
camcorder above, and the mini-jack into the digital camcorder
The yellow RCA connector just hangs around doing nothing,
as I use an S-video cable (no picture) for the video signal.
Connect the Patch Cords to the
Digital Camcorder and Plug in the Firewire Cable
Here's the digital camcorder connections. The S-video connection
in the middle is labeled nicely. The yellow Audio/Video input at the
lower left is for the 3-part mini-jack pictured above.
If an S-video cable is plugged in, the camcorder uses it
for the video signal... if not, it looks for the video signal from
the yellow RCA line. In my case, it's S-video.
The firewire connection on the digital camcorder is
just under the S-video connection. It's labeled DV above it and has
the i-Link logo below it. This firewire cable connection is a
4-pin one, the usual for a camcorder....
Connect the Firewire Cable to
.... to the computer firewire input in the following picture.
It's the connection at the left, a 4 pin connection.
Laptop - Firewire
The connection to the right of the firewire one is the USB
connection I use for the mouse.
Capture Your Analog Video Clips
In MM2.1, capture as usual..... that's enough for this
SP2 is now rolling out and MM2.1 with it. It'll be
interesting and fun, as version 2.1 is clearly better than 2.0, even in areas I
don't yet know about!!!
Having another and better way to manage codecs or filters is a good
thing.... but how to explain to newbies what to do to
resolve their Movie Maker crashes might be a bit more complex. I'll be
shifting over time from '... go find and rename any of these .ax files....'
to '... go find and uncheck any of these line items...'.
There will be lots of people who continue to
use MM2.0 as others upgrade to 2.1, so I'll have to cover both
until version 2.0 is long gone. The MM2.0 download package is still on the
Microsoft site, so today you can 2.0 by download or 2.1 via SP2.
I haven't see a list of performance improvements we can expect to
see in version 2.1, but with all those file changes, there has to be many.
The info is starting to trickle out. For example, Lisa Campbell-Smith of
Microsoft posted these tidbits in her responses to some newsgroup
posts on 8/11/04:
"...MM 2.0 did not work well with IEEE 1394 converters.
In Movie Maker 2.1 which ships in Windows XP Service Pack 2, we've done some
work on making these converters work better..."
"...We've done some work on USB2
streaming devices in Movie Maker 2.1,
which is shipping in Windows XP Service Pack 2, these changes may also improve
"...MUI will be available in Movie Maker
Have a great week!!!