Windows Live Photo
Installation and Setup... XP
As the name implies, the app in the XP environment has a
strong connection with Windows Live. And it
brings some of the latest software developments from Vista to XP. For
- importing DV-AVI files from a camcorder can be done to
multiple 'scene-based' files by the Photo Gallery Import
- importing can be done by downloading a 'My Spaces'
- the new menu choice to 'Publish' isn't in Vista...
it lets you publish pictures to Windows Live Spaces and videos
to MSN Soapbox
The default installation is to c:\Program
Files\Windows Live\Photo Gallery, where six new executables and 31
DLLs are, ready for geeks and hackers to explore.
I had one issue... a routine and frequent enough to be
irritating error message from Outlook Express. The Windows Search and
Indexing features get installed with Photo Gallery. When they work in
the background, which they do constantly, I get somewhat random but pretty
frequent error messages from Outlook Express.
I can usually open Outlook Express to get and
read my email before the first one pops up. I can spend hours writing this
newsletter without getting one, provided I open the draft and then
close the main Outlook Express window.
As Vista doesn't support Outlook Express, I know it's just a
matter of time until I'm forced to use something else as my email client. I
try each option but don't like any of them near as much as Outlook
Express. It's probably that I'm just used to it and see no reason to
The slideshow button at the bottom of the Photo
Gallery main window starts a slideshow of the selected pictures.
Video clips are not included.
Let's go through the main menu options...
Files and menu options
You can include any folder on your hard drives. The
supported files will show as thumbnails and others will be ignored. Some
file types you won't see are:
- audio files
- animated GIFs
- PDF slideshows
- Flash files - FLV
Some show with generic or real thumbnails, but don't
preview in the Photo Gallery player. The file types include:
- Quick Time MOV
- MPEG-2 from a Hard Drive camcorder
- M2V files... another kind of MPEG-2
- High Definition DVR-MS files (remember, this is in XP, not
In Vista you can drag/drop or copy/paste from the Photo
Gallery to Movie Maker 6, but you can't do the same in XP with
An option under the File menu is to use the Photo Gallery
as screen saver images... shuffle contents, select the folder used, even
use all photos and videos from the Gallery.... it says that, but it won't let me
use a folder with only video clips. On the other hand, the animated GIFs
that won't show in the Gallery can be used as screen saver images. I'm
not a big user of screen saver slide shows so I won't check these
RAW Camera Files...
Here's the message Photo Gallery gave when I first tried to
open an NEF file (RAW) taken by my Nikon D40x.
I opted for 'Download' and ended up getting the Nikon codec,
one that the Vista Photo Gallery had issues with for a long time. This was a
newer codec and worked fine on my XP laptop.
Hope this means the issue with Vista's Photo Gallery and the
codec are also resolved with this release.
You can view the NEF files with the
Gallery, but not 'Fix' them.
You can fix pictures but not video clips. This XP version has
a much expanded set of fixing tools and settings than its original
When you 'fix' a picture, Windows saves a copy of the original
in case you later want to undo the changes.
There's a setting to use if you don't mind deleting the
originals to save space.
The printing interface when using your own
printer looks a little different.
Vista's Photo Gallery ties into 10 online printing
services but the beta on XP only supports 3 of them... Fujifilm,
Shutterfly, and Kodak. Interesting...
Publish to Live Spaces or MSN
The menu includes a publishing
feature... pictures can go to Live Spaces and videos to MSN
didn't try the still pix as I don't use Live Spaces. But I selected a full one
hour tape, a 13 GB DV-AVI file and told it to upload to Soapbox... here's
the message about the limit.
It's maximum is twice the 10 minute
limit of YouTube, and the uploaded file can be much better quality. I
have videos on Soapbox so I didn't need to try it.
Photo Gallery offers options to resize images or
send copies of the originals. Nice touch.
For videos, it attaches a copy of the original file... no
interactive resizing option... these are the files that would need resizing
the most. As you're into video, you don't need Photo Gallery to decide your
I have another operational issue... instead of opening an
email with the file attached, I get the same Outlook Express error message
I showed you before.... let me try closing this
newsletter draft... that worked, but so did doing other
things. Seems that I can't use the email option from Photo Gallery after
I've gotten the pop-up error.
Make a Panoramic Image or Burn a
I selected 18 images to try the panoramic
feature. It wasn't effective at all... here's the composite I
Compare that to this image (reduced in size of course) from the
same set of pictures, using Cool360, a feature of Ulead's PhotoImpact
12, one of the software apps I reviewed a couple weeks ago for
I burned a CD with 100 7 megapixel pictures...
first I had to go to the properties of the drive and turn on the CD recording
setting, as I had last used it to burn an iso file to
After inserting the new CD in the drive, a new option in
the list is to open it with Photo Gallery... I went with it and the
viewing worked well.
That gets us through the main menu. Let's go back and
explore one of the features, importing videos from a camcorder, a
Look in File > Options and you'll see a window with settings
to use when importing (Vista's word) or capturing (XP's word) video from a
Settings include an option to create multiple files,
something not in MM2.1. I'll go with it. Note there's no option to end up
with a compressed wmv file. This is a DV camcorder to DV-AVI file feature.
Let's take if for a spin. Plug in the mini-DV camcorder
using a firewire cable, and turn on in the VTR/VCR mode... up pops the
options that now include Windows Live Photo Gallery (my Movie Maker choice
disappeared long ago in the list... don't know why).
On the next window name the video and opt for either the
entire video or selected parts. I'll go with the entire one and then
stop it manually at some point, knowing it'll let me keep what's been captured
up to that point.
Here's a screen shot of the 'import' session... from the
size and duration so far, it's a good bet it's capturing to a DV-AVI
file. Note the tallying of any dropped frames. I'm taking screen shots and
writing this newsletter as it captures, and there are no dropped
I stopped the import after 8 minutes... still no dropped
frames... then gave it the OK to process the footage captured so far, and
got a crash of some sort, not a very elegant one.
That got me to looking for the temporary file that was captured
up to that point. I found a 1.8 GB file named 2007-09-26 01.48.13 Newsletter
169.avi_temp_tmp (pretty impressive name, an avi double-temp!!!) and
renamed the extension to .avi. I figured it was a temporary DV-AVI
file but, in a pinch or to save recapturing, it would still work as a video
Here it is in Photo Gallery, where it played fine.
imported it into MM2.1, previewed it in the collection, and did a
right click to auto create clips. It made 31 of them.
My goal wasn't to get a good file, but to understand what was
happening. My first retest without changing any settings used the first 4
minutes of the same tape... got the same crash but this time I paused
things for some screen shots and head scratching.
One of the things offered during the crashing was the
Data Execution Prevention list shown at the right. With the compatibility list
of Movie Maker, we're used to such lists. In this list you need
to check line items, not uncheck them. I checked 'Windows Live Import
Video' to turn off DEP for the 3rd test.
The retest captured the same 4 minutes... this
time without DEP protection. The process kept going and finished
successfully, making multiple DV-AVI files
from the single temporary one.
The temp and individual files were DV-AVI. The processed
finished and the folder was automatically added to Photo
If a full tape uses 13 GB in a temp DV-AVI file and the
individual scene files use another 13 GB... be prepared with even more than
usual free disc space.
This newsletter has gotten a bit longer than my usual one. I'll
close it here...
Conclusion and Closing... and What's
The Photo Gallery for XP is a keeper for my video making
Have a great week!!