The first look at Photo
Story and Movie Maker in Vista build 5270...
Vista has some
new visual effects... including translucent glass or
plastic frame edges for the windows, and the Window
Switcher, where your mouse wheel flips the open windows in one
direction or the other, while each window continues on in
a warm-up... click the picture of the Switcher at the left or
link to a video showing it in action.
The open windows in the video include a project in
Movie Maker, the importing wizard capturing footage from my camcorder, my
website, the video of a visualization playing in Windows
Media Player 11, posts to newsgroups and forums, and the Task Manager
reporting CPU and memory usage.
This newsletter is an overview of what I see in this build of Vista,
as it pertains to Photo Story and Movie Maker. It's the first build with
the new version of Movie Maker.
I'll point out new features, what works, and
what doesn't... with the understanding it's pre-beta software, not even
close to a finished product.
Photo Story 3 isn't part of Vista... and running
it gives you a message "....cannot run on this version of Windows...".
Setting the Compatibility Mode of
the executable's properties to align with XP SP2 results in it
... before getting into it, here's a
The new year is
often time to take an overall assessment of what's
happening, and where things are going. Sept 13 will be the 5th anniversary
of my first post to a newsgroup or forum. It was about a year after that
post that I started using Movie Maker version 1, and the beginning
of my active involvement with the community of Photo Story and Movie Maker
users. The post was followed by about 20,000 more to date, a
few books, a couple websites, weekly newsletters, a radio slot, 4
Microsoft MVP awards, teaching, etc...
to continue my current involvements but changing the focus a
bit. For the last 5 years it's been Movie
Maker and things directly related to its
users. Photo Story 3 has been a secondary part of the site
since its release, but this year I'll be moving it up to be on a par with
The galleries in San Francisco
and New York City helped me appreciate the needs and interests of those who are
getting into or already in digital video... about 90% of the
people want to digitize still pictures and put them into slide show
type videos, and 10% go the extra distance into movies. Photo Story and
Movie Maker supports both of those interests and any mix of the
My newsletters have
covered both apps since they started, and will change the least... perhaps
with a bit more frequent issue about still pictures. The website
changes started with the names Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 now being the
same font size, followed by a rearrangement of some menu branches...
My first two books were about
Movie Maker 2, and I'm starting a new one for the Vista version. I plan to
expand the scope to include Photo Story and other closely related
to the main topic...
Maker in Vista...
The editing environment is familiar, comfortable and
enhanced... here's the view for the users.
you 'eagle-eyed' ones who notice things like the missing 'Take Picture' button
under the monitor, the feature is still in the main menu, so I assume it'll be
added in one of the upcoming builds.
... and a different
view for the geeks and hackers... the file list in the main folder of
One interesting new file is DVDMaker
which I haven't succeeded at running yet, either inside or outside Movie Maker.
The message is about a needed
codec... the offer to get more info about it from a Microsoft website
doesn't work yet.
The relationship between
Microsoft and Sonic is still growing. The 8 codec
files in the folder, those with .ax file extensions, are all
from Sonic (but the DVDMaker.exe file is a Microsoft product, not
CaptureWizard.exe file is also new... it opens and
works from Movie Maker. If I open it outside Movie Maker without a
camcorder connected, I get an error message about a digital video device
not being connected.
The message has a link
offering to learn more about connecting a video device... the info
that's there in draft form is totally geared to digital devices,
with no mention or help for analog capture devices... the future is
more and more digital, as we expect.
If I open it without
first opening Movie Maker, with my digital camcorder
connected, the wizard works as usual and I can capture footage... when
I finish, instead of the clip being imported to Movie Maker, the Windows
Photo Gallery automatically opens with the new clip added to its
library.... lines between video clips and photos in a gallery are blurring!!
One glitch in doing it
outside Movie Maker is my mouse cursor disappearing, and
not returning until the wizard finishes and Windows Photo Gallery
is open. It was a good refresher in using keyboard commands to
navigate the capture/import controls of the wizard.
management in Vista may be a new ballgame... with no apps
opened after a fresh startup, my Task Manager says the system is using 574
MB of memory. That's more than its 512 MB of RAM...
But things seem to be
working at usual speeds... would they work even faster if
I upgraded my RAM? 3 of the 4 memory slots are open so I'll
probably bump it up to a GB or 2 soon...
capture wizard and window are similar...
whatever reason, I'm not seeing the video preview in the wizard window as I
capture... but it comes in OK.
video goes into the current open collection by default... Microsoft
listened to all those posts from those who wanted it to work that way.
There are some differences in
the way files work in Vista versus XP... differences that I'll need to explore.
A DV-AVI file created in Visa from my camcorder shooting live
(not putting to tape and capturing from there) can be auto-split
in Vista, but the same file taken to XP can't be. It still works fine as a
source file in XP... I'm curious about why it can be split in Vista but not XP.
The auto-split process may have been tweaked for Vista.
file made in Vista (with the .MSWMM file extension) could
bite you if you try to use it in XP. After copying one and all it's source files
to XP, it seemed to open OK, even letting you edit it, but it doesn't work.
There are no error messages when rendering a movie from it, but CPU
usage never moves up, progress never starts, the Task Manager says the app
is running, but nothing happens... video file creation never
To try a work-around in XP,
I copied the contents of the timeline to a new project and resaved it
in MM2... all seemed normal, but it still wouldn't render. It lets you do
some editing (like adding effects and transitions), but not do other things
(like splitting a clip)... the bottom line is that a project made in Vista
should stay in Vista.
This is another area to study
further. I'm guessing that changes in the way clip info is stored in the
collection database, copied from there to the project file, doesn't sync with
the way things work in XP.
effects... some pan/zoom effects made the cut. And edge
detection, which is one I like.
, the two shown
plus a Whirlwind from top
continues to work as usual... with the same choices of styles.
The options for
publishing (called saving in XP) are changed a bit....
The Computer options are streamlined,
with fewer choices. The list itself is interesting... higher
bitrates... DVD orientation.... HD
There's a new option
to publish to a DVD... but selecting it says there's a
missing codec... maybe it'll be there in the next beta
Saving to a Windows
Media CD is still there, clearly labeled that it's for a
disc that only plays on a computer or device that supports
The option of going
to the Web, uploading to a service like neptune or mydeo isn't
there... such services have their own methods of working with users to get
files uploaded so perhaps the direct upload pipeline won't continue.
The setting for the maximum E-mail
which is 10 MB in XP, can be notched up to 25 MB in Vista.
The option to go back to a
digital video camera tape is one I didn't test yet.
I have 60 Custom profiles on my laptop... copying
them all to the folder in Vista results in them showing up in the pick list (the
screen shot at the left is without them).
Checking shows that most work but some don't... another study
area. I'm happy to see that custom profiles can still be
One of the long-standing more
serious issues in XP is the dropping of frames when rendering to DV-AVI
from DV-AVI source files. I did an exercise to check it in Vista, and found
the issue not yet resolved.
I used AVISynth and Virtual
Dub to add frame numbers to a one minute DV-AVI file made with Vista. The last
frame was 1796, and appropriately numbered.
After putting the single clip
on the timeline and splitting it into twelve 5-second sub-clips, I
rendered it to a new DV-AVI file. The number of frames was down by 12, with
the last one still being #1796.
The same project saved
to a WMV file results in a file with just one dropped frame, also typical
of what happens in XP. With WMV files, it's the last frame, a non-critical one.
I didn't know if I should
resubmit any formal bug reports when the issues is an already documented
one for XP, but I did it anyway into the Vista feedback system...
The beta of WMP11 plays odd
custom sized videos appropriately. WMP10 distorts them to fit the window of
a standard 4:3 or widescreen 16:9 video regardless of pixel dimensions.
Playing Photo Story 3
stories in WMP11 are a bit quirky. I haven't filed a bug report on
it... yet, but I might soon. I did file one bug report for quirky PS3 story
playback in the Internet Explorer, about stories embedded in my web pages,
but not yet for them playing in WMP11.
Neptune's site is another
issue for playback. The interface opens and the videos can be
selected, but they don't play in the neptune player... neptune checks the
operating system and installs some software, or stages the videos to work with
it... maybe it's just a matter of them aligning their end to this new version.
I'll be checking this with neptune. I didn't try mydeo, the other hosting
Have a great week...