PapaJohn Productions

Newsletter #181 - Dec 22, 2007
Holiday Video Goodies

Microsoft's Winter Fun Pack 2003 has great accents to use in holiday movies and stories. It's a free download at
Winter Fun Pack 2003

You can see from this collage of the still pix in the pack how professional the items are... perfect for garnishing holiday movies and stories.

The download link has been on my website for years...  as I looked it over again for this newsletter, I took an extra step to make a few sampler videos to help you see and hear what's in it.

Part 1 - Some Sound Effects - 2 minutes

Part 2 - More Sound Effects - 7 minutes (the pinball, race car, and snowboard clips are not part of the Fun Pack)

Part 3 - Holiday Music - 4-1/2 minutes (the snowboard clip isn't part of the Fun Pack)

I'll use this newsletter for some comments to help you with the Fun Pack. Before that, a couple notes.

here's a copy of my latest email from Frank Delaney, the radio guy, after our 6 week series about Movie Maker and Photo Story
Thanks Papjohn - I just added those (the links to the Fun Pack and the 3 sample videos for this newsletter) to the online transcript:
Thank you for all your help on this series, and you can use it whichever way it benefits you.  "Papjohn has been featured on National Public Radio, KPBX FM 91.1 Spokane Public Radio's "Raw Bytes" - the longest running computer series in the NPR network."  etc etc.
Season's Greetings and please let me know of anything new related to MM or Photo Story.

From the 'Use All Your Tools' Corner...
Although I use Movie Maker for the final video productions, I'll use whatever tools I have to make bits and pieces of a project.
Sample TransitionHere's a transition made by Pinnacle Studio 8, which includes a starter version of HollywoodFX Studio, an add-on pack that makes really great 3D transitions and effects.
The balloon going up from the racetrack is the opening clip... the pinball game. Watch the transition in action in this 30 second clip.
Sample Pinnacle Studio 8 Transition

the Winter Fun Pack 2003
The download and installation is a usual .msi file... what many don't understand is where the items go during the installation.
The snowflakes video effect shows up where you expect, in the Effects collection. The two new transitions, Snow Burst and Snow Wipe, are in the Video Transitions collection. They have Pixelan's name on them, so you know where Microsoft got them from. I used the effect throughout these samples, and the two transitions at the end of Part 3. 
The installation also creates a new c:\Documents and Settings\(User Name)\My Documents\My Videos\Windows XP Fun Pack\Winter 2003 folder, with 4 sub-folders containing 7 'WMA Music Tracks and Music Transitions', 10 JPG 'Pictures', 92 WMA 'Sound Effects', and 8 WMV 'Video Animations'. To use the clips in Movie Maker, import them into your collections as usual.

3 sample videos...
some comments about them...
The first is standard aspect ratio and the other two are widescreen... to align with the three widescreen high definition wmv clips used to supplement the visual material in the pack. They were the ones I mentioned finding on the 'Digital Video Compression' book disc, and are not included in the Winter Pack. The sound files in the Winter Pack needed so much playing time that I figured you'd get bored seeing the same pictures over and over.
The opening 15 seconds of each video is the same... a black still image with snowflakes and one of the Pixelan Ghosting effects, just to see how those effects would work in that case... not very well. Scrolling upwards is a graphic png file made with Paint.NET, with the movement done by a custom xml title overlay file. If interested, see the Moving Overlays section of the website's Edit Movies > XML - Persian Section > Script Types > Custom Overlays page.
It's fun to listen to the sound effects on the timeline as they play in alphabetical order over a pretty randomly selected set of video/picture clips. Most of the associated visuals and sounds don't work together at all... but some are surprisingly better matches than I would have planned.
In parts 1 and 2, each sound effect is labeled... try not to think of the titles as having anything to do with the visuals, which are just in there for filler material. I tried it with just blackness, but something doesn't see right about watching a completely black movie.

Title ClipPart 1 - Some Sound Effects
2 minutes
16 of the sound effects play in alphabetical order, from Applause 1 through Fire in Woodstove.
The video track shows the 8 video animations followed by the 10 pictures. 

Part 2 - More Sound Effects
7 minutes
Race Cars ClipThe remaining 76 sound effects go from Firecracker Bang to Wind. They're all labeled by the subtitles.
For things to watch as you listen to the sound effects, there are the animations and pictures again, along with high def clips of pinball, race cars, and snowboarding...
The high-def clips are muted so you hear only the sound effects. 

Part 3 - Holiday Music
4-1/2 minutes
Snowburst TransitionThis part uses the 7 music clips in the pack, and shows the snowflakes, snow burst, and snow wipe special video effect and transitions.
The last visual in this part is a picture of an alley, a video effect from one of the Adorage packs. 

Conclusion and Closing... and What's Next?
There are other fun packs to explore also... last night I was playing with the settings of the Winter Ice Storm visualization in Windows Media Player. I turned the background to a plain blue color, maximized the snowflakes, turned off the icing, and was able to do a blue-screen capture of a heavy snowfall.... using the Media Encoder.
Have a great week and happy holidays to everyone, however you celebrate them!!