Newsletter #145 - April 14, 2006
Movie Maker v2.6 for Vista

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.
Movie Maker 2.6
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...
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.
Vista Corner
Rev 2 of the Windows Movie Maker and Windows DVD Maker SDK was published on 4/5/07. It has
documentation and code samples for creating custom effects and transitions in Windows Movie Maker and Windows DVD Maker for Windows Vista.
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 topic...

File Comparisons... MM2.1 and 2.6
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.
File Comparisons

Running Movie Maker 2.6 on Vista
There will be issues if you run both versions 6.0 and 2.6 on Vista.
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 worked OK.   
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 on XP.

Running Movie Maker 2.6 on XP
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
UImported Collectionsnplanned 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.
Collection Databases
For myself, v2.6 provides the easiest way to make my library of MM1 collection database files usable in Vista.
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 collection database.
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 path.
Custom Transitions, Effects, and Title Overlays
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 on again...

Conclusion and 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 properly....
Itís still 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...