downloaded file is 4+ MB in size and named
ffdshow_beta3_rev1324_20070701_clsid.exe. Opening or double-clicking the file
runs the installation. There are a number of steps at which you can stop and
select different options, but after the first window shown below I simply used
'Next' at each screen to accept the defaults.
installed and uninstalled the package many times on both the XP and Vista
systems without an issue, and without pop-ups trying to sell me something.
The app comes from the open source community... Source
shows my installation choices, all but the DScaler plugin. The
default installation would be for just the VFW
Here's a list of
the files and subfolders in the new ffdshow folder... just one .ax file...
one of the problem ones on my website's Crashes and Hangs
Checking the installed codecs on the system, using
GSpot... 4 new audio and 4
video ffdshow items.
Some Quick Checks...
checked a couple Divx and Xvid Encoded Files with GSpot... indications
were the new codecs were being used, and the system could play
laptop has hundreds of codecs... and is already able to play Divx and Xvid
encoded files, so I didn't know how much of a check this was. My new Vista
system isn't setup yet to play such files... we'll see that system
see what that makeAVIS.exe utility does...
Convert an AviSynth script to an AVI
If you're not
familiar with AviSynth and it's avs scripts, feel free to skip these
An AVI script was a new
subject to me so I had to give it a quick
Open the makeAVIS.exe and
point it to an
existing AviSynth script, an .avs
The settings shown at the
right are the defaults.... I usually go with them on first
Clicking the Create
button at the lower left makes a new .avi script from the .avs
Opening the .avi script in
VirtualDub gave me this interesting warning about my favorite DV
I've experienced Movie Maker
crashes that point to codecs, and I've read a lot about the behind the
scenes rivalry between codecs. But this is the first time I remember seeing such
an outright finger-pointing about
In Movie Maker 2.1, the files
imported and previewed well as clips in the
After some uninstalls and
reinstalls of ffdshow, my next attempt to make a project didn't get
too far. Here's the error message for the crash of Movie Maker 2.1...
pointing to a Divx codec.
The good news is
it not pointing to the ffdshow.ax file... the divxdec.ax file in my
system32 folder has a file date of 11/10/2005. Maybe it's the codec being
used to handle Divx files before I installed ffdshow. If I were to go down this
path further, I'd rename it and try again. That's for another day. This is
typical of the kinds of codec issues you can
uninstalled ffdshow -
Uninstalling is easy.
Open unins000.exe found in the c:\Program Files\ffdshow folder. Or run the
uninstall from the main Windows start menu, one of the choices in the ffdshow
My XP system needed a system
reboot to fully remove it. The Vista system didn't but the
uninstall left a single residual ffdshow folder behind that
needed manual removal. The cycle from installation to removal is easier on Vista
as the system reboot isn't needed. I'm running Vista with User Access
Controls (UAC) turned off... it might be more complicated if I left it
I exercised installations
and removals a number of times on each computer and had no issues. The whole
package feels very
Vista... Home Basic
The figure shows the menu items added by the installation of
Before installing I
checked how the 4 test files played in WMP11...
Divx encoded AVI....heard it fine,
but the video was just blackness
Xvid encoded AVI....heard it fine,
but the video was just blackness
Motion JPEG encoded AVI from a Canon
TX1 hard drive camcorder.... played fine
DV-AVI made by VirtualDub with
Panasonic DV codec... played fine
GSpot said I didn't have a
Divx codec and I had an Xvid one, yet it couldn't test play either
successfully... I didn't take time to try to sort it out. Sometimes GSpot
doesn't get it right.
installation went fine...
Checking with GSpot after the
install showed each of the files testing fine with both GSpot and Microsoft
All four played well in
Windows Media Player 11.
Interesting things started to happen when moving the
Divx, Xvid and MotionJPEG clips to the project... see the message from the
ffdshow compatibility manager.
This message popped up as I
moved each of the three to the project, for the first time... I went
with the default, and if I wasn't looking at the time, the default would have
been implemented in about 20 seconds.
The first attempt at
a project went well... it previewed fine with the 4 clips in
place. Publishing it to an email file also
uninstalled ffdshow -
After removing ffdshow Movie
Maker could no longer preview the Xvid and Divx clips in the
collections. It could preview the project and see/hear parts of it, but not
the parts that needed the new codecs. It didn't crash, not even when
rendering a movie from it. But the saved movie had silence and blackness
where a codec wasn't available.
reinstalled ffdshow -
I left Movie Maker and the
project in it open as I reinstalled ffdshow. The project still
couldn't preview the parts that it had been missing the codecs before.
Simply reopening the project
was enough for Movie Maker to effectively use the reinstalled codecs... no
need to restart Movie Maker. That means it checks for the codecs at the point of
opening a project, not when starting the
installed, let's look at the compatibility list in Movie Maker
Here's the section of the
computability list... showing ffdshow as decoders for audio and video,
with a check to leave them involved with playing and rendering in
That's enough checking for
Closing... and What's Next?
line about Divx and Xvid encoded avi files may be changing with this new version
of ffdshow, combined with Vista.
might be from the party line for XP to 'convert such files' to
others before importing into Movie Maker to a new line for Vista
reading... '... if you're using Divx or Xvid encoded avi files, install
ffdshow first...". It's a bit too soon to know for sure. Comments about your
experiences will help sway me.
And if diving into the settings of a codec is a fun task
for you, here's a peek into the ffdshow VFW Configuration
utility, when you open it from the start menu. There's a lot of stuff in the
configuration utility, so if we get into using ffdshow seriously, there
could be many more newsletters about it.
Next weekend is the long end-of-summer holiday
one here in the U.S. I'll probably be publishing the newsletter on
Have a great week and enjoy your summer fun
and video work...