For the last newsletter, I
made a custom puzzle overlay and illustrated it over a 13
second segment from a Persian Poet Gal video. I changed that and it's
now over some fish I videoed at the Monterey Aquarium... Puzzle
Overlay - Over Fish. It can be placed over anything on the video
track. The Persian clip was standard 4:3 and the fish is widescreen 16:9...
the puzzle overlay adapts without adjustment. The downloadable zipped
package has all the files needed. You don't need to make
any images or tweak the xml files to use it.
The Managing > Personal Database page of my site has the info
about the database and how to use it. No need to cover it here. I'll jump
right into the 3 records I added for the puzzle overlay: one for
general info about the puzzle, another to install the files when needed, and the
third to remove them when finished.
(1) In the main record
I noted when and what I made, along with where I stored the master
files. I treat the working copies in the Movie Maker folder to be just
that... working copies made from the masters when needed, ones that can be
deleted at any time.
the main record for the puzzle overlay
The main record summarizes the files:
10 image png files, an xml file, a Movie Maker project file (MSWMM), and
two batch files. If you don't know what batch files are... I'll
get to them in a minute.
The website link is the location of the zipped package
that I rolled out for newsletter #72, something not needed for my personal
use of the files.
Note the unusual location of the
puzzle overlay files... the PapaJohn folder of my thumb drive. As my Toshiba
laptop was taking regular trips to the repair shop. I was using my old
Dell more often then not. When I packed for the trip to the MVP Summit
I wasn't sure what computer I'd have with me, so I put my working files
on a 512 MB USB2 thumbdrive. The PapaJohn folder on it holds
my database and the files for the puzzle overlay, the first such
files I'm managing with the database.
(2) The second record for the puzzle overlay is the one
that installs copies of the files in the appropriate Movie
Maker subfolders on the computer the thumbdrive is currently attached
Here's where you learn a
little about batch files. Press the open folder icon
of the database and it'll open or run the batch file, in this case
one named InstallPuzzle.bat.
the installation record
A batch file (a file with a .bat
extension) is about the simplest little program you can tell your computer
to run... you write or tweak it in Notepad and save it with an extension of
...bat. Here's the one I wrote to automatically install the files for
the puzzle overlay.
the installation batch
Note that a line in a
batch file that starts with 'rem' tells the computer it's a remark,
so it skips that line when performing the other lines. 5 of the 8 lines are
remarks, so there are only 3 lines of commands to be run when
the database button is pressed.
In a split second, the files needed
for the puzzle overlay are copied to the Movie Maker folder(s). The 10 png
image files go to the Shared folder, the xml file to the AddOnTFX folder, and
the project MSWMM file also goes to the AddOnTFX folder. The project file can go
to any folder and work fine.
After installing the files, I
open the Puzzle.MSWMM project file. It has the 10 overlay images
already on the title overlay track, ready for video clips to be added.
I added and tweaked the locations of each overlay for this puzzle project,
and don't need to do it again for any further uses... unless I want
project ready for use
The background at this point is
black, as there are no video clips in the project... add them and you'll be
ready to preview the movie with the puzzle overlay.
Remove the Puzzle Overlay
(3) The third record in the database
is to remove the working files used for the puzzle overlay from
the Movie Maker folders. Pressing the open icon in the database runs
the RemovePuzzle.bat file and the files are deleted in a split
second... it's a surgical removal process done from the sidelines of my thumb
drive, with no risk of accidentally deleting other files that are still
important to Movie Maker or other projects.
Batch File to Remove the Puzzle
It deletes (that's what del means in a batch
file) the 10 image files, the xml file, and the Movie Maker project file.
If I use the puzzle project to start a new project, I'll save the new
project with a different more appropriate name.
By storing the master of the custom
overlay files in the folder of the thumb drive, I can plug the drive into
any computer and have the puzzle overlay in Movie Maker in a few
Puzzle Overlay - Development
This newsletter isn't about making custom xml files so
I didn't include the details of how I made it... but, seeing
as I used it as the example, I thought I'd at least
1 - The puzzle is a series of 10 overlay images in .png
, with a selected color in each designated as transparent. I
started with the puzzle image at the right - in BMP format. I used
IrfanView to save it as a Puzzle1.png file.
When you save a PNG file in IrfanView, it asks if you want to
designate one of the colors in it as transparent... say no if you don't and yes
if you do, then select the color on the next window in its wizard. I
didn't select a color for this first image and, in the movie
project, none of the video shows behind it.
Opening the BMP image in Paint, I used the paint
bucket to color some of the pieces pure black for the 2nd image of the
series... saving it as a new BMP file. I opened that BMP in IrfanView
and saved it as Puzzle2.png, selecting the painted black
color as transparent.
The same BMP went back into Paint and I colored some
more pieces black... to IrfanView to get the next PNG image for the
series... over and over until I had 10 overlay images, the last
one with all of the pieces painted black so all you're seeing is the outlines of
the puzzle pieces with the video showing through.
2 - The xml file was next... Movie
Maker gets the info about what to do with the 10 images from it.
When I first studied Rehan's logo overlay xml code, I
decided to use it to overlay anything that goes on a page... from a little logo
in a corner to a full screen puzzle like this example. Rather than figuring
out where to position an overlying item, and tweaking the xml code for it,
I tweak the overlay images in Paint, leaving the code the same. I
use full sized images all the time, so I don't need to tweak the location
You don't have to understand xml code, just know how
to copy and paste it in a notepad document... and tweak it a little. Here's
the beginning and ending of the xml file for the puzzle overlay. Once developed
for the first image of the series, I copied and pasted that section (the
part in the blue rectangle) another 9 times, so there's one section of
code for each of the 10 images. The only things different in each
section are those circled in red
The names like 'PapaJohn Puzzle Overlay 1' are what shows up in
the title animation picklist in MM2. The rest of the code for that first image
tells Movie Maker to use the Puzzle1.png image...
3 - I used each of the 10 custom title overlays and applied them
to a new project, checking their functioning with some video clips on the video
track. When done, I stripped the video clip from the project and saved it
as a template with just the puzzle overlays in it.
By using the project template (Puzzle.MSWMM), all the
overlays are there when you open it. Just add video clips and go on with
4 - I copied the files to my database folder and made the two
batch files which do the automatic installation and removal
of the files needed.
Beyond that, I packaged the custom files into a zip file and put
them on the website for anyone who wants to use it.