Newsletter #111 - July 8, 2006
Movie Maker doesn't include sophisticated audio
editing features. You can mute a clip, fade into or out of it,
adjust the volume of a selected clip or the relative volume between
the project's video and music/audio tracks... and look at the wave
patterns displayed in the timeline.
In Photo Story 3 you can't do that much, so we'll limit the
discussion to Movie Maker.
I use the wave patterns a lot when editing a project, often as a quick
confirmation that things are going well, as the guide to exactly where to
make the and later to make final
alignment adjustments of the clips on the timeline.
Let's start with the audio of a DV-AVI file captured
from a mini-DV camcorder, a common starting point, and one that has
integrated visual and audio tracks where synching is often critical.
Movie Maker can rip audio from video files into compressed
WMA files, which are great for use as audio source files in movie projects. But
to get an uncompressed WAV file to edit in Audacity, you
need something else.
I use TMPGEnc 2.5 to rip the audio from a DV-AVI
or WMV file (including PS3 stories) to uncompressed WAV files (File
> Output to file > WAVE file).
TMPGEnc says the audio stream of the DV-AVI file is PCM,
48.000 kHz, 16 Bit, Stereo, which aligns with what Movie Maker reports.... note
that I changed my Sony TRV-80 camcorder setting from the default 12-bit
audio to the higher quality 16-bit.
When I finished getting the WAV sample, I realized I'd
done one or two extra rendering steps... but I had all my pictures for
the newsletter by then, and going from one DV-AVI file to another shouldn't
change the uncompressed audio... so I left the files and screen shots as
Here's the pattern of the WAV file imported into Movie
Maker 2. We have visual wave pattern alignment between
the captured video file and the ripped WAV file. This next image is
a link to the ripped WAV file. Being uncompressed, it's a 6 MB file
for 30 seconds of audio.
This WAV file will be our benchmark for this
... before getting into it
further, a few notes...
Vista Corner... the test Renaissance Wedding
DVDs I made with Vista were cute and played well, but had a menu issue that made
them unusable. The 2nd and 3rd of the 4 menu screens were totally
black when played... even though the menu buttons on the pages worked fine if
you groped around in the dark to find them.
I completed the DVD project for the
Renaissance Wedding with Roxio's MyDVD Premier 8. It was
kind of slow going, like when a timeline is getting pretty full in Movie Maker
and things hit a big slow-down point. There were also some minor
error messages or other issues along the way, but it ended up
I rendered the DVD project to an iso image file on the hard
drive, and then used MyDVD to burn the discs from the iso file. The
iso file is 4.4 GB in size, and the DVD plays for 67+
It took a few hours to render the MPEG-2 files and
build the iso image, but it's now only about 10 minutes per disc to burn
them from the image. The most important thing is the discs burn cleanly and play
There's just one remaining step, printing the
labels directly on the discs with an Epson R200 printer. I have some
printable white discs but need to get some printable silver ones (personal
for-sale video on Google
Video... submitted on May 3... still has the status of "Video is
verified; stay tuned - it will be live shortly"... that's now over 2
months in the queue to be online.
taking bets as to whether or not it ever gets to the next step of 'being
MaximumPC issue with the Photo Story 3
tutorial is in distribution to go on the bookstore shelves July
.... back to the main
30 Second Audio
Here's the first view of
the WAV file in Audacity... which shows the left and right
channels individually, compared to the wave pattern of the same WAV
file in Movie Maker which shows the
combined channels of the stereo track. The pattern is smoothed a bit for
the thumbnail depiction by Movie Maker.
You can see how the visual pictures
compare, and how easily it is to pick alignment points.
Let's zoom into a 2 second segment around the 15 second
point. The picture at the right shows the tallest most zoomed
in view I could get in Movie Maker. I won't show the closest
view in Audacity as it really doesn't have a limit for such zooming... it
can be both a magnifying glass and a high powered microscope when it comes
to looking at wave patterns.
Movie Maker's view is sufficient for
syncing clips... Audacity can help you do microscopic audio
The important thing here is simply to note
how consistent the views of the wave patterns in a captured DV-AVI file and
a ripped uncompressed WAV file are. The ripped file can be edited in audio
apps and a 'fixed' segment returned to Movie Maker and used in a project
with easy-to-align wave patterns.
We've been looking at
uncompressed audio files. Let's explore the patterns of the same
30 second sample in compressed WMA and MP3 formats.
When you have audio-only in a project timeline, and save the movie... Movie
Maker knows you want to render it to an audio WMA file.
Here are the choices of audio profiles.
The first 8 come with Movie Maker. The other two are custom profiles I
use to save the audio as a CD quality mono file, and to rip higher
than the high quality stereo audio from DV-AVI files.
I rendered the 30 second sample to each of the profiles... to see
how the wave patterns compare, and to make files you can listen
I annotated the pictures with the file
sizes. All 10 of them combined are about 2/3 the size of the single uncompressed
WAV file. Compression makes a big difference.
Click on the pictures to
hear them play...
Audacity can save the WAV file as an MP3....
the figure at the right shows the wave patterns of the MP3 file in
MM2... and they look similar.
I played the WAV file in Audacity and
captured it as a narration in Movie Maker 2 as
it played, using the stereo mix option for the source. It worked fine. I'm not
showing the wave patterns of the captured file, as they looked just like
all the others on this page.
The bit rate property of the captured WMA file
was 142 kbps, which places it up there with the high quality choices in MM2.
It's become my standard way to get audio into WMA format if it
doesn't import into Movie Maker.
I'm quickly running out of ways to process the
audio clip to show how the wave patterns for the same clip can look different...
so I'll conclude by saying they don't differ significantly... they look the
Conclusions and Closing
The wave patterns for a
selected clip look similar... it could be
the audio track of a DV-AVI file, a ripped WAV file, a WMA file ripped from
a video or captured as a narration, or an MP3...
The full range of quality choices in Movie Maker have little to
no effect on the patterns. Differences in what you hear are more
No matter how you process the audio, it's pretty easy to sync
an audio clip with its original DV-AVI or WMV file. What I mean
by that is, if you have a clip that needs some sort of audio 'fixing' in
Audacity, ripping the audio to a WAV file with
TMPGEnc, adjusting it in Audacity, and then capturing it back into
Movie Maker as a narration file... it's easy to re-sync.
I make lots of editing decisions about
where to split or trim a clip based on the audio track. When I do it,
I zoom all the way into the timeline and make the split based on what I
hear and the wave patterns. The visual part is usually more forgiving
in moving the split point a few frames or more.
Have a great week...