About: MPEG Files
(with a mini-tutorial about getting from MM2 to DVD)
the MPEG topic, but driven by a request from one of the
poll responders for something like the mini-tutorial.
are all around us. If you work with computers and watch
TV you can't avoid them. As video editors, it seems we have
a love/hate relationship with them. We hate it when Movie
Maker won't import or work with them in our projects, but
we smile and accept the compliments when viewers see our
work on TV. We love how easy it is to have PhotoStory make
MPEG files behind the scenes and burn a standard VCD, but
hate it when it won't play on some of the DVD players and
those it does play on show such poor quality. These are
just a few. There's lots to love and lots to hate.
MPEG files? Why won't Movie Maker work with them? If Movie
Maker won't save the files needed to burn a disc that we
can watch on TV, how should we do it?
the subject(s) of this week's newsletter. Before getting
into it, let's stop a minute for a couple items.
to the 48 subscribers who responded to last week's
and skill levels.
38 picked a single letter and 10 split it between two. For
the dual choices, I added 1/2 to each. Here's the tally,
showing the percent that picked each. The orange bars show
a graphical view.
themselves 'newbies' and 77% have moderate to high computer
skills and are most interested in enhancing their video
editing knowledge. No one picked either C or G, and one
chose "H", off the chart - I didn't know where to put it,
so I didn't put it anyplace.
In my quest
to satisfy both groups, I'll continue to have a single main
topic, but I'll divide the newsletter into two parts. The
first will review things from advanced perspective. I'll
follow that with a procedural style mini-tutorial about
one part of the topic. So the main topic this week is MPEG
and the mini-tutorial is about using MPEG-2 files to get
from MM2 to a burned DVD.
readers can stop after the first section, and the others
can jump right to the beginning of the mini-tutorial.
seem more and more in center stage. The latest local service
calls to friends and family with computer-related issues
end up concluding that the abundance of ad/spy ware on the
systems was bogging them down.
suspect in a recent wave of MM2 users losing most of the
video effects and transitions in their collections is ad/spy
ware. Speculative and not conclusive at this point, but
the idea is not being dismissed.
I don't use ad-ware or spy-ware controls. But I do use virus
protection. My e-mail address is all over the place and
I tend to rely on the various controls in the system. But
I'm very prudent about the places I go on the web. I'm the
only user of my computers, don't do general web-surfing
for fun, and am cautious of accepting anything from an unknown
source.... I'll even wait a couple days before opening attachments
from those I know, unless I'm really confident it's OK.
Moving Picture Experts Group.... a group that develops
standards for lossy compression of digital motion images.
a link to the MPEG group website, and a copy of the opening
paragraph from it, complete with embedded hot links to the
home pages for each of the standards:
the home page of the
Moving Picture Experts
Group (MPEG) a working group of ISO/IEC
in charge of the development of standards for coded representation
of digital audio and video. Established in 1988, the group
the standard on which such products as Video CD and MP3
the standard on which such products as Digital Television
set top boxes and DVD are based,
the standard for multimedia for the fixed and mobile web
the standard for description and search of audio and visual
content. Work on the new standard
"Multimedia Framework" has started in June 2000. So far
a Technical Report and two standards have been produced
and three more parts of the standard are at different stages
of development. Several Calls for Proposals have already
the MPEG website is interesting.... for some. It's gets
MPEG and PhotoStory/Movie Maker
MPEG standards we're interested in are:
- VHS quality files used for VCDs, the ones burned directly
by PhotoStory. 352x240 pixels (NTSC) and 352x288 (PAL)
- SVCD and DVD quality files for discs burned by other software,
starting with PhotoStory and Movie Maker saved movies. 480x460
(NTSC) and 480x576 (PAL) for SVCD. 720x480 (NTSC) and 720x576
Notes About Resolution:
the first recognizable image of a person's face from a video
camera to a display was on Oct 25th, 1925. Within a few
years the buzz about high definition started. Early images
with 8 scanning lines had to be 'high definition' if they
had 60 lines. In 1935, the British government defined HDTV
as video with at least 240 lines, a good bit below today's
MPEG-1 VCD files.
of 441 lines at the New York World's Fair in 1939 (the year
before I was born) was hailed as the advent of HDTV in the
new dual disc packs have high definition WMV-HD files with
720 and 1080 lines.
television broadcast systems are standardized on MPEG. If
you're getting it from TV or heading that way with your
movies, then you'll be working with some kind of MPEG file.
MPEG-2 standards were issued in 1996. The standards specify
exactly what constitutes a legal bitstream. A legal encoder
generates only legal bitstreams. A legal decoder correctly
decodes any legal bitstream. MPEG2 does not standardize
how an encoder accomplishes compression. It's about results,
not methods of getting them.
covers 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios, and accommodates progressive
or interlaced material.
are formally MPEG Audio Layer III... there may be something
here, most MM2 users have problems with MPEG-2 files and
some have problems with MP3 files. Maybe they are related.
VCDs, SVCDs are discs with MPEG files on them (MPEG-1 on
VCDs and MPEG-2 on SVCDs and DVDs). Part of the MPEG-2 standard
was that decoders had to be backward compatible and be able
to handle MPEG-1 in addition to MPEG-2.
TV files in the Windows XP Media Center Edition, with their
DVR-MS extension, are some type of MPEG-2 files.
camcorders that don't record in Digital Video (DV-AVI) files
record in MPEG-2.... transfers via USB connections are a
clue that the files are MPEG-2.... those that record directly
on DVD disc are MPEG-2.
codecs are free. MPEG-2 codecs require licensing fees.
Mini-Tutorial Part 1 - From Movie Maker to MPEG-2 for DVD
and DVD burning software may or may not accept WMV files
as inputs. And they may or may not accept the type I DV-AVI
files that Movie Maker 2 produces. But all disc burning
software uses MPEG files to make discs.
reviews by everyone.... for quality. And gets pointed to
as taking a long time to render MPEG files. I'll use it
to illustrate the process, using version Plus 2.5.
any settings that I make or adjust.... if I don't mention
one, it means I just go along with what TMPGEnc uses as
menu is page 1 of the project wizard, where I'll pick DVD/NTSC
as my goal for this session, a high quality DVD (note...
I should have picked the NTSC (16:9) option on this screen,
as my file from MM2 is widescreen).
next page of the wizard, select the source file.... either
browse to it or drag and drop it from your file browser
into the video file field. This version of TMPGEnc will
handle both DV-AVI type I and WMV version 9 files saved
by MM2. I'll drop a 1 minute widescreen clip into it, accepting
all the default settings on this and the upcoming pages.
file entry is filled in automatically, telling TMPGEnc to
use the audio stream in the DV-AVI file.
3, select any filter settings... some interesting choices
that I'll skip over for now.
is one of the more interesting ones. It's here that you
select the bitrate.... that's what MPEG-2 quality versus
size is all about... higher bit rates mean higher quality,
and more time to encode the movie. It also means bigger
files and shorter playing time on a disc. You get to pick
the balance point.
do any picking yet.... see that it knows that my video is
1 minute and 1 second long, and if I opt for the settings
at this point, it'll use 1.65% of the capacity of a DVD.
is the end of the wizard, where you tell it where to put
your output MPEG2 file. See that the check is on 'Start
encoding immediately'. I'm putting the new files in the
same folder as my saved movie.
it the OK to create the m2v and wav files, which didn't
exist. It did the rendering pretty quickly because this
was just a one minute test file.
wizards in today's software are really great. They assess
your needs and do their best to get you through the process
as easily as possible.
look over your selections and decide to change something,
just use the Back and Next buttons at the bottom of the
windows.... it'll remember the settings in each of the 5
I press the OK button to start a long rendering session,
I'll give all the settings some more thought. Here's what
• I'm sitting
here at Barnes & Noble and will be packing soon to go home....
no, I don't want to start a rendering session now... start
it when you know you'll have time to let it run and finish.
5 shows that my output won't be a single MPEG2 file. It'll
be two separate files. The video will be in an
and the audio in a
Is that what I want? Yes, if my DVD software can handle
the two files. No, if it can't. I'll assume it can.
home and the files are rendered by TMPGEnc, here's what
I see in my file manager.... the widescreen DV-AVI movie
saved by Movie Maker and used as the source file for TMPGEnc,
the video m2v file that should have been widescreen but
isn't, and the audio wav file.
the combined size of the 2 m2v and wav files is about 1/3
the size of the DV-AVI file.... the compression settings
at work.... still pretty big when you consider they are
33% the size of the DV-AVI file, while a high quality WMV
file would be about 7%.
Mini-Tutorial Part 2 - From MPEG-2 to DVD
I use Sonic's
MyDVD, version 4.5, on my laptop (only because it came bundled
with the laptop and its DVD burner). I'll use it to take
the new MPEG-2 and wav files to make a DVD.
opening screen, I pick 'Create a DVD-Video Project'.
the main working window I (1) select the 'Get Movies' icon,
(2) browse to my new m2v file and select it. (3) MyDVD goes
through an importing process and the video ends up on the
screen in the icon.... I guess the audio goes along with
it.... no mention of audio by MyDVD.
few things on the above figure. The little meter at the
lower left says I have 4.60 GB remaining for a 4.7GB DVD
disc.... that aligns with the indication we saw in TMPGEnc.
step is to save the project.... using File > Save as - this
is a quick step.
project is saved, I preview it... using the menu Tools >
Preview... I say OK to the note about not seeing the motion
menu yet (it needs rendering first). The preview shows
the movie playing in MyDVD... it looks and sounds great.
A couple notes about it at this point. The audio is playing
fine with it, so it confirms that the wav file tags along
and is associated with the m2v file. It previews in standard
4:3 mode - yup, I should have selected the 16:9 option.
point I could simply press the red button at the bottom
of MyDVD and burn a DVD disc.... but I'd want to do some
finishing touches first.... at least change the titles for
the DVD and the clip from the defaults. That's the minimum
to get going.
actually burn a disc for this exercise.... but I'll have
MyDVD make a set of DVD files on my hard drive, the same
files it would put on a disc, and play the virtual DVD on
the hard drive. Use Tools > Make DVD Folder > tell it where
you want it.
itself needs a different kind of file than the MPEG2 files
we use on computers. Remember it's being setup to play on
a DVD player/TV. So vob type files get created and put onto
help file: VOB
- Video object file. The basic media file of the DVD-Video
format. VOB files contain video and audio.
what the new set of folders and subfolders now looks like.
Lots of folders and files, all automatically taken care
of by MyDVD. Remember we used the 59.9 MB m2v file as the
source file for the DVD, and the associated wav file was
11.5 MB. I actually did the saving a couple times, and MyDVD
created new sets of folders and files each time. One set
is enough. Look at the bottom folder in the tree to see
the final set of files made for the DVD.... it includes
a vob file of 72.6 MB and another of 16.3 MB.... (maybe
video and audio files somewhat larger than the input files
double-click the largest of the vob files on my laptop,
up pops InterVideo's WinDVD software and plays it as if
it was a DVD.... it looks and sounds fine.... but still
no widescreen, as now expected.
as far as I'll take the process for this newsletter....
my batting average for burning discs after this point is
1000, and creating a coaster just to tell you I did it isn't
needed. I burned a few a couple weeks ago that had a 22
minute movie on them.... and I did it the easy way.....
taking a high quality WMV file from MM2 and going directly
into MyDVD with it.... skipping the TMPGEnc process. The
viewing quality is still great!!
have different setups, use different conversion software,
different DVD software, etc. This mini-tutorial shows you
one path from MM2 to DVD. You can work on the specifics
of your own.
types can be confusing.... and MPEG-2 files can be difficult
to work with. But Movie Maker 2 users who want to edit files
from TV or DVD, or make discs that play on a DVD player
will need to setup their process to do it.... like I did
here, use a one minute video clip just to learn about and
test all the steps of your process.
another link to MPEG.ORG, with lots of info about MPEG files:
but heavily technical book about this week's topic is Digital
Video and HDTV by Charles Poynton.
forward to comments and discussion about this newsletter
on the forums at
Photo Story 2 -
Products and Services
in many things that support users of Movie Maker and PhotoStory,
and adding more daily. Here's a list of what is available
to the public. Some are free and others are reasonably priced.
2 - Do Amazing Things (with
its online companion on
2 - Zero to Hero (with support on the Friends of Ed forum)
hacks that will be included in a new O'Reilly book about
Windows Media Hacks.
these books or anything else from Amazon, I'd appreciate
you using the links on the main page of
www.papajohn.org - I get some income from Amazon that
way, and it doesn't cost you any more. It'll help keep most
of my services free.
- two goals: to help you solve problems, and to be the online
companion to the Do Amazing Things book
- a full tutorial about using it
Support - Forums and Newsgroups:
I'm a regular
at many online forums and newsgroups, the main ones being:
2 and PhotoStory 2 forums at
2 forum at SimplyDV.com
newsgroup at microsoft.public.windowsxp.moviemaker
newsgroup at microsoft.public.plus
Movie Maker 2/PhotoStory 2 newsletter. Subscribing is free
via the link on the main page of
topics for upcoming newsletters (subject to change):
#12 - (open
#13 - (open
newsletters are archived at:
Maker 2 - a utility to make the ultimate in personal and
custom transitions for Movie Maker 2 -
beta test the Pixelan packages and think very highly of
their people and products: Their SpiceFX packages of additional
transitions and effects for Movie Maker 2 are available
can't save a movie because your project has become too complex,
I'll divide it into manageable sub-projects for you and
provide detailed instructions to render the parts and assemble
them into your final movie. $49.95 - for details, see the
sidebar on the Problem Solving > Can't Save a Movie page
2/Photo Story 2 training and support services start at $50
per hour - email
and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with you
to plan and implement them.
Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 Newsletter Index
About John 'PapaJohn' Buechler from Microsoft.com
||John "PapaJohn" Buechler, of
Kalamazoo, Mich., goes by PapaJohn
online. An avid user of Movie Maker
since its first release, and a regular
supporter of the community of Movie
Maker users, John received a 2003
MVP award from Microsoft for that
support. In March 2003, he started
a comprehensive website about Movie
Maker 2 at
www.PapaJohn.org. He maintains
the website, writes books and articles,
teaches, and provides support services
- all for the community of Movie
Maker 2 users. An engineer by formal
education, John is a computer database
and multimedia expert by business
and personal experience. He co-authored
the first book about Movie Maker
2 and is actively working on a second
one. You can find his advice in
Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup
and in the Windows
Movie Makers Forums.
newsletter is republished with permission
of John "PapaJohn" Buechler. To subscribe
to PapaJohn's Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story
2 newsletter click here:
Subscribe to PapaJohn's Newsletter.
Please note that this is an archive of newsletters
and some information may become outdated.
PapaJohn, and the webmaster of this site,
provides this information"AS IS" with no