PapaJohn's Newsletter #24 - Movie
Maker 2 and Photo Story 2
Last week I planned this newsletter to be about MyDVD, but
then I realized that Newsletter #11 had already covered it. That issue
is on the archive site, and anyone who was looking forward to reading
about it in this one can get issue #11 online at...
The replacement topic is a 'project
collection'. What's that? It's one that is project-specific and
important enough to the project to back up with the MSWMM file.
Some of the wedding videos I've been working on need
to mix footage from 2 camcorders, one my older Hi8 and the other my newer
mini-DV. I shot the scenes of the wedding ceremony and the dancing at
the recital party using both camcorders, so I'm faced
with putting them together and syncing the video footage of each
clip with the audio track. It's gotten me into 'project collections'.
I'll illustrate it using these 3 source files for the
recessional scene. I saved the audio track of the Hi8 camcorder as a WMA
file - during the recessional it was sitting on my backpack up close to the
string trio, recording the complete audio of the
scene. While it was doing that, I was moving around with the digital
camcorder, starting and stopping it.... and even changing tapes at one
point. The change of tapes resulted in my capturing 'Digital
1' and 'Digital 2'.
Wedding Recessional - Source
What's the easiest way to mix the footage and achieve the
syncing? I'll explore that, with some insights into the value of a 'project
collection'. I'll work the editing process first from the perspective of
the collection, and then from the project timeline perspective.
Before getting into it more, a
few notes about some things going on...
• Here's another routine notice about my
changing from a free newsletter subscription to a paid one. I'll
carry this notice for two
Issue #26 will be the last one for the
free subscriptions. See the main page of my www.papajohn.org website to continue
paid subscription is for 52 issues, not necessarily a calendar
year... those subscribing before issue #27 will receive 52
issues beyond #26. Subscribers after that will be for 52
frustrated PayPal user wrote last week, saying he'd tried about 8
times to place an order... if that's your situation or prefer sending a
check, send an email and I'll provide my real name and mailing
• After last week's issue, I wrote to Microsoft about
the limit of a Photo Story project file size being 300 MB. I also
posted the info to the microsoft.public.plus newsgroup..... I heard back from
the MVP on the newsgroup that there were reported problems with bigger
stories, but there wasn't a known reason. He appreciated the info. I
haven't heard from Microsoft about the
• Dean Rowe provided this link in his blog....
...about how the MM2.1 version in Windows XP Digital Media Edition
2005 works with DVD writing
....on to the topic of the
Working the Collection with
What I mean by this is assessing and working with the clips
in the collections, but doing it with the help of the project timeline. The
work done here is needed to:
Subdivide the large clips
Determine the sync adjustments needed to precisely align
the audio of the video clips with the sound track
Determine which clips need to be in sync with
the sound track
The 3 Starting Clips
The properties of the audio clip show
its duration as 0:09:14.67. That's 9 minutes and 14.67 seconds. Some video
editing software split the second into frames rather than decimals of a second;
Movie Maker is different... it's totally time-based, not a mix of time and
The audio clip starts with the minister saying 'All Please
Rise'. The bride and groom kiss at the 45 second mark. At 1 min and 15
seconds the guests applaud as the recessional and music begins.
The string trio starts playing at 01:16:00 and
finishes at 08:13.95.... enough continuous background music for a 7 minute
video of the recessional. A musical piece often dictates the duration of
the video, providing there's enough good video to go with it.
The Digital 1 source file is 2:47.60 in duration and
Digital 2, which starts with the camcorder looking at my feet, is 3:12.73.
The two combined are 6:00:33 versus the 9:14.67 of the audio clip. That means I
was shooting digital footage 2/3 of the time during this scene....
The sound track is the measuring device. In
addition to it having a linear time value at each point, the shape of the
audio waves provide visual feedback about what's happening and where you are in
the project. See the waves at the 01:15.00 point of the project... that's when
the guests started to applaud and processional began.
The Audio Tack - Measuring Ruler
and Visual Guide
Aligning the Digital Clips to the Audio
Listening to the Digital 1 clip showed that the start of
the applause was at 1:08.83.... that's 06.17 seconds before the same point on
the audio track. There were no stops and starts of the digital camcorder up
to then. That means I'd need a filler clip of 6.17 seconds on the video track to
push the start of Digital 1 clip to the right and align it with
the sound track... My filler clip is a plain black still picture which you'll
see me using a lot in this tutorial.
Digital 1 didn't divide into sub-clips by stopping and starting the
camcorder. I'll be getting back to it later.
MM2 split Digital 2 into 9 clips when I had it do it in the
collection. The splitting was done analytically, by the stops and starts of the
camcorder, not based on visual scene changes.
Digital 2 Split
into Clips by Movie Maker
Before trying to sync the 9 clips, I reviewed them to provide
descriptive names and decide if they really needed syncing with the audio track.
The results of this assessment are included in the clip names.
Only 1 of the 9 needed syncing, the one named Digital 2-2. In
the others, you could hear the string trio playing, but they were far
enough away from camcorder that the music was faint and in the
background, enough so that syncing wouldn't be critical or needed. The
foreground audio far overshadowed the background music.
And I lucked out when determining the sync point... the
trio paused for 14 seconds between 2 pieces, for a long flat part of the wave
patterns. They started again at the same time I re-started the digital
camcorder. A 26.07 second filler black picture on the video track made
things align. Video clip 2-2 starts at the 3:19.73 point of the
audio track. That's the sync point for the one clip of Digital 2 that
Aligning Video Clip 2-2 with the
The work done so far with the clips in collections was
mostly analytical, letting Movie Maker auto-split the larger clips and
detemining sync points.
Digital 2 - Collection
Note that the duration, starting and ending times of the
clips in the collection list are approximate, rounded off to the whole
second. Looking at the properties of the clips gives you the exact figures.
Clip 2-2 has a starting point at 0:00:15.88 and a duration of
00:18:05. I'll use the more exact figures as I work into the project.
Having this reference info throughout the remainder of this
project is important enough to warrant it being a 'project collection' and
backing up the collection database with the project file. It'll
get even more important when we go back to the Digital 1 file and split it
manually.... we'll do that in the mini-tutorial section.
Mini-Tutorial: Working the
Project with the Collection
The work done above in the collections was
mainly analytical. It's time to change mental gears and shift to the
other side of the brain.... as we move the focus of the project from the
collections to the timeline. We'll change to become less analytical and
Great movies are not the result of analysis. But having the
reference info needed to sync the video and audio tracks will allow
your full creative energy to be applied without fear of losing any of the
analytical homework you've done up to this point. If we didn't keep the
collection info for reference, it would be easy to start moving things
around on the timeline and get into a situation where you have to
reassess the syncing points over and over.
Movie Maker doesn't include a feature to link a video
clip with a selected position on the sound track.
Subdivide the Clips in the Collections
So far the clips in the collection were subdivided at the
start and stop points of the camcorder when shooting. The Digital 1 clip is
still at its original duration of 2:48, and 3 of the Digital 2 clips
are over 20 seconds.
A personal guideline is that any clip over 15 to 20 seconds
needs to be critically assessed and probably subdivided based on
artistic discernment, not analysis. If a clip is more than 15 seconds,
I might be too personally attached to it because I did the camcorder shooting.
By subdividing the clips in the collections
and renaming them to be descriptive, it's much easier
to work them on the timeline. They are easier to select, to
position, to sync with the sound track, and to readjust
later when adding transitions.
So it's back to the collections to subdivide the big
clips and assess them some more. This time around, the assessment is
based more on artistic taste.... does the clip fit into your vision
of the video? If so, how? If not, tag it for deletion.
Working the Project.... with
The next picture shows a few things about the Digital
1 source file and the developing timeline.
My artistic splitting of Digital 1 resulted in 18
clips... at first simply named with sequential numbers.
While splitting I was assessing each clip... adding to the
clip number some descriptive info which included the results of the assessment.
10 of the 18 were tagged with the
disposition 'discard'.... they were out of focus, quick
pans or zooms, accidental footage when I deliberately or accidentally
didn't turn the camcorder off, etc.... or maybe they just didn't fit in
with my vision of the finished video.
At this point the timeline stops being used to just assess the
sync points, and starts being used to build the project.
I replaced the unsplit Digital 1 clip on the timeline
with the 18 clips made from it.... yes, including those tagged for deletion.
Then I checked the ending point of the 18th sub-clip on the timeline
to assure it ended at the same time that the pre-cut clip did. It was
exact to the hundredth of a second. All was still in sync with the audio
Then I used a copy of the plain black still image to
replace each of the 10 clips that were tagged for deletion. I didn't reconsider;
I just replaced them.
I put the black clip on the timeline in front of the clip
being replaced, adjusted the black clip by the trim handle to make it the
same duration as the clip being deleted, and then deleted the tagged clip behind
it. By doing each that way, the relative positions of all the clips that had
audio should stay in sync with the audio track.
After replacing the discarded clips by copies of
the black image, it was time to do another check to ensure the ending
point of the last clip was still in sync. It was. I
also previewed the entire timeline at this point, listening to the
audio of the video clips and the audio track play together....it's still
too soon to mute the audio associated with the video clips. The listening and
watching showed all were aligned.... just had a bunch of black spaces to
fill with something.
Digital 1 File - Split,
Divided, Assessed, Moved to the Timeline, and Tagged Clips
The rest of
the editing is the artistic part and up to you. We each have our
personal style and vision of what we are trying to achieve with a video. The
short video of the recessional is one I'm currently working on. When it's
done, you can view it on my website.
I'll make just one
comment about something I would do. There's a lot of black
video around the 3 minute mark. But there's also quietness on
the audio track in that area, as the trio paused between pieces. I'd
remove most of the quiet pause so the classical pieces move along one after
the other. And to keep the video and audio tracks in sync, I'd take an
equal amount from the video track. First split the audio part, see
what duration is being removed, then split or trim an equal
If you prefer trimming
to splitting and removing (I do), then you can do it instead. Trim equal amounts
That's one of the key
things in this video.... maintaining the sync. At least until the
bridal party goes back down the aisle. Beyond that the need for continued
syncing falls off as the guests all start leaving and no-one pays
attention to the string trio. With the need for sync finished, I'm free to
arrange and use the rest of the clips any way that works
The dance scenes at the wedding
reception party need syncing maintained throughout the videos. I have
a few of the dance scenes on the website already, and I'm using one of them for
an in-dept tutorial I'm currently working on for a major magazine....
I should be able to tell you more about it next week.
The set of wedding videos I'm working
on are the first ones in which I've had to integrate footage
from two camcorders. As I work on them, I find myself constantly rethinking the
use and long-term value of a project-specific collection
I ran into significant time delays in
opening Movie Maker back in the days when I built one large collection
database.... like my website menu. With over 11,000 clips in the
collections, it was taking almost 5 minutes for Movie Maker to open, as it had
to check each clip.
From there, I went into
a routine of building topical clip
collections using MM1, importing them into MM2 projects as needed, and
discarding the project collection when the video was done.
Now, with the amount of effort I'm
putting into working some collections, and the continued need for the
reference info they provide, I find myself saving
some collection databases as project files, in addition to the
usual MSWMM project file.
Have a great week...