Newsletter #145 - April 14, 2006
Movie Maker v2.6 for
The release of Movie Maker v2.6 last week came as a
'routine surprise' to MVPs in the digital media area. I've been
curiously studying it since then, to the point of using it for this week's
newsletter topic. Any release of a new Movie Maker version is newsworthy
from my perspective.
I first heard about it when another MVP asked about
it, giving me a link to a 3rd party website. He didn't know at the time
that quietly, without fanfare, Microsoft
had done this official release.
The stealth-like release was deliberate. The version is meant to
be a 'work-around' for Vista users who canít run the in-box version of
Movie Maker due to video cards that either donít have the right driver model or
that lack Shader 2.0 capabilities. From what I read, it seems to mainly effect
those using the Home Basic version. If your version of Movie Maker on
Vista is running, you should pass up on even thinking about the
new version beyond reading this newsletter.
The way people will find out about it is from the error message
that pops up if Vista's Movie Maker canít run... the help link at the bottom of
the error message takes them to online help about video card
requirements, with a link there to Movie Maker 2.6. Microsoft is also
releasing it as a supplemental disc to OEMs so they can preinstall it on
machines that donít have the graphics card oomph to run Movie Maker, and save
them a support call.
If your needs or interests go beyond those of usual Movie
Maker users, the v2.6 is another new thing to explore and hack, have fun with,
and even find creative positive ways to use it.
v2.6 doesn't overwrite the original Vista v6, as it installs to
a different folder. But you can't run both of them at the same time. Here's the
error message if you try to open v6 when v2.6 is running, another message
that doesn't really say what it means. The file is still there; it's just being
blocked by v2.6 being open.
If you open v6 first, and try to start v2.6,
nothing will appear to happen if v6 is windowed or full-screen. If v6 is
minimized, it'll pop back up to remind you that it's running,
maybe subtly reminding you that you don't need the new version.
If this newsletter doesn't satisfy your curiosity enough
to not download it, here's the link.
It only installs on a Vista system... BUT, you can easily copy
the v2.6 folders/files from there to an XP system, as I did to try it on my
laptop. It's a hybrid in that it runs on either Vista or XP.... but some
value on Vista, but none that I can think of on XP.
Before getting into more details, here are...
... a few notes...
Paul Glagla wrote a nice
comment about last week's newsletter about his DVDate utility. He
also included a few pointers about the content...
When you want to use the date/time feature to inlay
text, you should type it between double-quotes, otherwise it can be
misinterpreted, specially if it has the letters h, m, s, y, d, n, or
The original formats are ddddd in line 1, and tt in line
2. They call the default windows format for date and time.
The *scn file contains no thumbnails. It contains only the
start and end frame number of each "scene".
AutoRuns for Windows v8.61
The April 2007 issue of the Technet Magazine had a one page
article about this utility, something that ties into the subject of issue
#134... things that startup and run on your computer, use resources,
and for the most part you don't know what they are...
This utility, which has the most
comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations of any startup monitor,
shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login,
and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. These programs
include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys.
You can configure Autoruns to show other locations, including Explorer shell
extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications,
auto-start services, and much more. Autoruns goes way beyond the MSConfig
utility bundled with Windows Me and XP.
documentation and code samples for creating custom
effects and transitions in Windows Movie Maker and Windows DVD Maker for Windows
Sticky Note... Making Movies with
Vista! a six page article in the Spring 2007
Special Edition of MaximumPC, on
bookstands now to May 29, 2007. Starting on page 78... the
article covers the movie making process from camcorder tape to viewing
it on a standard video DVD.
.... back to the main
File Comparisons... MM2.1
My first check was to compare file names and
sizes to see if v2.6 aligned with Vista's or XP's version of Movie Maker. It
aligns with MM2.1.
It's been stripped of some features. For
example, there's no option to import video from a DV camcorder. And there are
only two options when saving a movie... to the computer or to a DV
camcorder. The file sizes reflect the changes.
The main executable has been pared down a
WMMFILT.dll is larger
WMM2EXT.dll is much much smaller
WMM2ERES.dll is half the size
WMM2DVR.dll is gone
Running Movie Maker 2.6 on
There will be issues if you run both versions 6.0 and 2.6
After opening v6.0, v2.6 might erase the collection database as
it opens, saying it's possibly corrupt. This same issue happens when
trying to run both v2.1 and v2.6 on XP.
The feature to capture video from a camcorder is gone... you
need to use the Vista import wizard.
Copying my full sets of hundreds of custom effects and
transitions to the Shared folders of v2.6 showed that some worked in the Vista
environment, but most didn't. Custom title overlays
Saving the movie gives 2 choices.... My computer and
DV camera. The full list of choices for 'My computer' are the same as in MM2.1
Running Movie Maker 2.6 on
Although copying the folders and files from the Vista
installation to XP shows it can work there. But I had no interest in
registering its DLLs to verify it didn't introduce issues when on the
same system as v2.1, which has identical and more features.
On XP, MM2.1 and 2.6 can be in different folders.... 2.6
will open, and preview clips in the collection OK... and open a project file.
But when trying to preview clips on the timeline, it'll act flaky, or give an
error message of 'Class not registered'. This would probably be resolved by
registering the DLLs.
After opening v2.6, v2.1 might erase the collection database as
it opens, saying it's possibly corrupt. This is typical when using the same
collection database in a newer version of Movie Maker, and then trying to use it
in the previous one.
The Video Effects and Transitions showed the Adorage01
package but none of the other add on ones. The Titles showed only the
built-in ones. But copying all the files from the MM2.1 Shared folders to
equivalent ones in v2.6 effectively brought them in.
Clips imported with Vista don't work on the
timeline... they work OK in Vista with the same v2.6. This again may
be a DLL registration issue.
Saving the movie gives 2 choices.... to My computer or DV
camera, versus the 6 choices I have in MM2.1.
Unplanned Positive Uses of v2.6
nplanned but not unexpected... everyone knows
that good hackers will find things to do with v2.6 well past
and beyond it's intended features and useful life. That's part of the
fun of using computers.
For myself, v2.6 provides the easiest way to
make my library of MM1 collection database files usable in
The picture at the right shows the collections in v2.6 after
importing one of the MM1 collection databases from our recent trip to Europe.
The feature to import MM1 .COL files was dropped in the Vista version,
but left in v2.6. And it works as usual. In Vista, as soon as I close
v2.6 and open v6, the collection tree is in it, as v2.6 and v6 share the same
collection database file.
Since Movie Maker first came out, I've been changing
my methods of managing collections. Initially it seemed like a good idea
to build the complete library of clips for movie projects as one big
When I passed the level of having 11,000 clips in
it, and Movie Maker was taking 5 minutes to check them over each time it
opened, I switched to something more modular. Today I have topical
collection databases in MM1 format which I import as needed for
MM2 projects. I hadn't decided how best to go forward in Vista,
with Movie Maker not having the import feature. v2.6 provides a
Custom Transitions, Effects, and Title
Many users who enjoy making new custom items are faced
with having to do major re-writes of their xml files to get them functional
in Vista. v2.6 may provide a bridge for them.
Here's a forum quote from one of those users...
...This is wonderful news as it means
the missing features of WMM2 are now available on Vista (albeit in a different
program). So the gradient based wipe transitions and other such tricks are now
Closing... and What's Next?
As surprised as I was to hear
about Movie Maker v2.6, I'm more surprised at the mild
community reaction since then... I've not seen any newsgroup or forum
posts beyond the first few when it was released.
I just did another review of the
first 20 items that showed up in an internet search for Movie Maker 2.6, and in
total saw only two mildly critical comments, mixed
with many positive ones.
....some users are quite annoyed that they
have bought and installed an upgraded version of Windows, only to find they
need to downgrade a component because it doesn't work
too bad that Vista Movie Maker wonít run on those systems but Movie Maker 2.6
is capable enough.
Have a great week and enjoy your video work...