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PapaJohn's Newsletter #110

Re-Capturing a 'Lost' DV-AVI File

Maybe you deleted one in a cleanup process like I did a while ago. Or moving one from one drive to another left you with a corrupt file. Or the audio that you hear on the tape in the camcorder stops playing mid-way through the project. There are many reasons you might find yourself needing to re-capture a 'lost' or unusable DV-AVI source file. 

I'd tested the re-capture process before to see if and how it would work, but I hadn't really needed to do it until last week when I started the DVD phase of the Renaissance wedding project. I cleaned up hard drive space by deleting one too many files... a DV-AVI source file was gone and all I had was the project file and low quality movies for the website.

The re-capture process worked. Recovery was quick and easy, and the experience led to a newsletter topic.

Instead of using my real world example, in which the alignment of the replacement source file isn't really critical, I'll create a sample project that is... it'll be like using a magnifying glass to see how well the recaptured file fits into the original project position.

For some good practice following something with your camcorder, try doing a bee gathering pollen. Here's a frame snapshot from MM2 to get a good benchmark. I took it from the clip in the collection to get a full size 640x480 picture.

The bee wasn't in the same spot twice, and I slowed the clip playing speed down by a factor of 8 so it'll be easy to see if the replacement file fits... we just need to check the location of the new bee.

... before getting into it further, a few short notes...


Vista DVD

Vista Corner... I gave DVD Maker the 14 videos of the Renaissance wedding project and made a couple DVDs.

Here's the opening screen of the DVD as it's playing on my XP laptop in InterVideo's WinDVD.

My first for-sale video on Google Video... submitted on May 3... still has the status of "Video is verified; stay tuned - it will be live shortly"... that's almost 2 months now of it being in the queue.

Now I'm taking bets as to whether or not it ever gets to the next step.

My copies of the MaximumPC issue with the Photo Story 3 tutorial should be coming next week... as they head toward bookstands on July 18th.

.... back to the main topic...

the Capture Sessions - Using WinDV

I'll do both the original and the 'recovery' capture sessions right after each other... capturing to different drives, with different folder paths and file names. And I'll start and stop the captures at different points of the tape.


WinDV Config

I plugged my camcorder in with a firewire cable, rewound the tape to the beginning, and did some capturing, using my current standard method... the WinDV utility.

Press the Config... button in WinDV, set the discontinuity threshold to 1 second and select a type 2 file.

  • The one second setting results in the capture session starting a new file whenever there's at least a one second pause between frames.

  • Type 2 files are more universally accepted by video software apps.

First Capture Session
First Capture Session

The tape started with some footage of flowers and bees in a Saugatuck, Michigan garden, and was followed by some beach scenes of lapping waves.

I used one of my external USB 2 hard drives as the file destination... my 'E' drive. I created a new folder named Newsletter 110 - 1st Capture, pointed WinDV to it, and told it to name the captured file(s) Saugatuck.

I let the capture run until I started seeing waves instead of flowers, then paused and stopped the capturing.

Second 'Recover' Capture Session

I turned right around and did the recovery capture...

For this one, I didn't start at the beginning of the tape... maybe 20 or 30 seconds into it.

I used a different external USB 2 hard drive for the file destination... my 'I' drive, with the captured file going to I:\Testing\DVCapture\2nd Capture for Newsletter 110 folder. I told WinDV to name the file(s) Flowers.  

The recovery capture session started later in the tape than the first one, and I let it run a bit further into the tape before I paused and ended the session. WinDV reported no frames dropped in either session.

Captured Files

Let's use Total Commander to look at the sets of captured files, those from the 'original capture' at the left, and the 'recovery capture' at the right... a few comments:

  • I told WinDV to name the original capture files Saugatuck with the date and time stamp info added automatically. I renamed the files at the left after the capture to add descriptive info about the scenes.

  • The original capture session started at the beginning of the tape, so the first file on the tape comes in with the date and time of 06-06-20_17-08.00. June 20th was our anniversary and we went to Saugatuck to celebrate. The date is embedded in the tape's files. The time that the first clip was taken was 5:10 pm or 17:10. WinDV automatically adds the combo of the date and time to the name I give it.

  • The recovery session started a little bit into the 2nd segment on the tape. It missed the first one entirely and picked up most of the second one (108+ MB file on the recapture versus 121+ MB file on the first).

  • 4 of the files are identical in date, time and file sizes... great clues that the frames in them are identical.

Captured Files - List

The sample project uses the 6th file from the original capture, the larger 670+ MB one with the 06-06-20_18-31.00 date/time stamp info. The recovery file aligns with it.

After making the project from the original file, we'll delete it and see if the recovery file can be used in it's place. It's currently on a different drive, in a different path/folder, and with a different file name. But we know from the clues that the file is the same, so we shouldn't have to do anything more than resolve the big red-X in Movie Maker after it notices the source file is missing.

Project from Original File
the Movie Maker Project

I took a snapshot of a frame and then split the clip... in the collection to get the higher quality JPG (640x480). You saw the frame snapshot on the way into the newsletter.

The project has only a few clips

  • the first part of the split clip... trimmed and slowed down by 8x

  • the snapshot

  • a copy of the snapshot turned into a painting by a VirtualDub filter.

  • another copy of the snapshot

  • the second part of the split clip... trimmed and slowed down by 8x

Here's a link to the one minute rendered movie...

Sample Project

It's time to delete the original DV-AVI source file and see what it takes to use its replacement from the recovery  session.

the Missing File

With the big red X showing up in the project, we have to work with the info included in the project file.

You don't need notes about the name of the file or its location. Open the properties of the missing clip, linger over the source file's location, and read the tool-tip. It'll show you the drive, path and file name of what it's looking for.

Missing File

Double-click on the red X and browse to the replacement file... from the recovery capture session. You know from the clues that it's the same.

But it's in a different place with a different name. When you tell Movie Maker to show all the files in the folder, and you select the right one, you get this error message.

The file you selected doesn't match the original file closely enough to be used as a replacement. Either try a different file or delete the missing clip(s) and re-import the file you wish to use.
[The file you selected doesn't match the original file closely enough to be used as a replacement. Either try a different file or delete the missing clip(s) and re-import the file you wish to use.]

The tool tip tells us the file name, so let's rename it to that one. The dialog box which is looking for the file has the file name in it, easy to copy, and paste it into the renaming of the recovery file.

Got 2 problems this time.... the rename says the file name has an illegal character and points to what looks like a period after the word Saugatuck.... added automatically by WinDV. But it continued on to finish the renaming after closing the error message??

But it didn't work... got the same error as the first attempt. It had the right name, but it's in a different location.

Let's re-create the folder if needed, and copy/move the renamed replacement file to it.... BINGO!!! double-clicking the red X results in the linking being fixed in a second, without having to browse to the folder.

I rendered the movie to see how the new bee fits into the project... the snapshots and painted frame are from the original bee. The new movie uses

the new bee file

It fits right in.

the Capture Sessions - Using Movie Maker 2

Before concluding that WinDV is needed to recapture a file, after having used it to create the initial file, let's explore doing the recovery capture with Movie Maker 2. WinDV made a type II DV-AVI file and MM2 will make a type I... but the differences shouldn't be in the visual. Maybe we can be equally successful.

Using the auto-clip splitting feature of MM2, the first step looks promising... comparing the MM2 split clips at the left to a recapture set of split clips at the right, we see the same as we saw when looking at the initial and recovery captures using WinDV.

Again the 4 clips align in date, time and duration. See that the date and time is identical to the files captured with WinDV, just in a different format.

Capture With MM2

With WinDV we were looking at individual files and file sizes... with MM2 it's clips within a single file, and clip durations. Let's take a closer look.

Comparing MM2 clips to WinDV files

Here's an interesting comparison... I put the 4 clips captured with Movie Maker on the video track of the timeline, and 4 of the files captured by WinDV on the audio/music track... to see how they aligned in durations.

I didn't expect them to align as perfectly as they did. The 4th file from WinDV was the one I split for the project and took the snapshot of the bee. When I went to that point of the timeline I was looking at the new bee in the exact position as the original. Things seemed to be in sync.

Compare MM2 Clips to WinDV Files

As MM2 shows you every other frame, I might have nudged it to the frame to satisfy myself... we'll take the comparison a big step further by using the MM2 clip as a replacement for the WinDV file and look at the rendered movie.

Replace the WinDV file with the MM2 Clip

I left just the 4th clip from MM2 on the timeline and rendered a DV-AVI file... I was thinking about the dropping 27th frame in such a file moving the bee one frame to the left... would it be noticeable?

I slipped the newly rendered DV-AVI file into the original folder and opened the project in Movie Maker. It didn't blink at the new type I file in either the collection or project. No red-X to be resolved.

The rendered movie looks pretty good. Here's the link to the last of the sample clips for this issue... see if you can spot the effect of the missing frame when the bee freezes for a bit, and then takes off again.

WinDV File Replaced by a Clip from a Recapture by MM2

The recovery MM2 clip effectively replaced the lost WinDV file... with no need to make any changes to the project file.

Conclusions and Closing

It turned out easier and more successfully than I thought it might be.

The recapture was for a file initially captured by WinDV with the option of breaking the capture session into several files. If I had captured originally to one big file with either WinDV or MM2, it would probably be much more difficult to recover. More studying would be needed...

Use WinDV with settings such that you get multiple files as your routine method of capturing DV-AVI files from your camcorder... if you want the insurance of being able to do a recapture to replace a corrupt, deleted, or lost source file.

Date and time code data is used by MM2 to initially name the auto-split clips. I explored that area a bit more and found something interesting.

Friendly Clip Names versus Date/Time Names

If you capture a file with MM2, naming it something friendly such as 'Our Vacation in Maine', it won't include the date/time stamp info as part of the file name. And if you then import it into your MM2 collection without auto-splitting, the clip name will be the same friendly one... but the date/time info is still there, and can be obtained as you'll see in a second.

If you import the same file with auto clip generation turned on, the sub-clips are named with the date/time info.

If you select a clip in a collection with a friendly name, and use the option to 'Create Clips'... even if there are no sub-clips to split it into, Movie Maker will change the file name from the friendly one to the date/time stamp info... recovering the date/time stamp info for the selected clip.

But if you rename the clip in the collection to a friendly one, and then copy it into a project, the name will only be the friendly one, as you can't rename a project clip. Your ability to recover the clip's date/time info is gone.

Friendly clip names in projects are good for easy editing, but not for a source file recovery.

I look forward to comments and discussion about this and other newsletters on the forums at:

Windows Movie

Have a great week...


Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 -
Photo Story 2 -

Products and Services

I'm involved in many things that support users of Movie Maker and Photo Story, and adding more regularly. Some are free and others reasonably priced.

Radio and Podcasting

theDVShowTheDVShow is the only weekly Podcast having more useful information about desktop video editing and production than anywhere else on the Web. Digital video editing, nonlinear editing, streaming media, software releases, tutorials, business tips, technical help, download of the day and news on the latest products to make everything easier. It's where professional and consumer desktop video users go to stay on the cutting edge.

Call the phone mail machine to get your technical question answered on the air... call (206)-203-3516

The radio broadcast is from Boston, and the website has downloadable podcast files. The June 19th 2005 podcast was the first 'bi-weekly' show with a segment about Movie Maker 2.

Do Amazing ThingsBooks and Magazines

Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things (with its online companion on, published by Microsoft Press...

Movie Maker 2 - Zero to Hero - with support on the publisher's forum - Friends of Ed

MaximumPC's winter 2005 quarterly special... had a 7 page tutorial 'Make a Killer Home Movie with Maker 2'. The special edition of the video made for it is now on my website as a file download.

The November 2005 edition of Maximum PC had a well done reworked 6 page reprint of the same article, starting on page 42 after the Happy 20th Birthday article for Windows.

My new 5 page tutorial about Photo Story 3 will be in the Summer Special edition of Maximum PC, on newsstands July 18th.... the sample story will be included on the disc in it.

Virtual DubLearning VirtualDub - published by Packt Publishing in April 2005, is the first book about VirtualDub software. I wrote the introductory chapter about downloading and setting up the software: VirtualDub, VDubMod and AVISynth.


Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 - - the site's 3 goals are: Doing Amazing Things, a detailed tutorial for PhotoStory 3, and helping you solve Movie Maker 2 problems.

PhotoStory 2 - - a detailed tutorial about using the earlier version.

Online Support - Forums and Newsgroups

I'm a regular on many online forums and newsgroups, the key ones being:

Forums are open to all for viewing, but require registration of those who want to post. Moderators actively participate to ensure the forum discussions move forward and stay on track.

Movie Maker and Photo Story forums at Windows Movie Makers

Movie Maker 2 forum at

Newsgroups are wide open for all to view and post... moderation is collective by the participants.

Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup - microsoft.public.windowsxp.moviemaker

Photo Story 2 newsgroup -

Photo Story 3 newsgroup -

Weekly Newsletters

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story newsletter. The annual subscription is $20 and the link to subscribe is on the main page of my Movie Maker website at:

Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):

#111 - July 8 - using the wave patterns of the audio tracks to sync your clips

#112 - July 15 - open

#113 - July 22 - open

Newsletters issued more than 6 weeks ago are posted by Rob Morris to an Archive Site on his Windows Movie Makers' website. Links from my website pages to specific newsletters make it easier for viewers to see the content of both while browsing a topic.

Drop an email to suggest a newsletter topic... I can use more requests rather than fewer.


Add-On Transitions and Effects

Transition Maker 2 (TM2) is a utility for the ultimate in making your own personal and custom transitions for Movie Maker 2. It's a joint product from Patrick Leabo, the programmer, and myself.

I've beta tested some of the Pixelan packages and think very highly of their people and products.


ProDAD's Adorage packages for Movie Maker 2 are  additional sources of very professionally developed transitions and effects. And here are the links

TransiitonsEffectsPackage for Movie Maker - Volume 1

PapaJohn's Transitions - Volume 2

PapaJohn's Video Effects - Volume 3

Personal Database

With more info to manage, consider additional tools that help.

My personal database has been an ongoing project over many years, and is now available to others. A tutorial about using it is on the Managing > Personal Database page of my site, and more info is in the database package itself.

It's free for the asking to regular newsletter subscribers... send an email request and I'll return it with the zipped file, which is less than 1 MB.

To others it's $10. To order, use the button on the top of the Managing > Personal Database page.

Online GalleryNeptune Gallery

An online gallery that fully aligns with the main priority of the website is the 'PapaJohn Expert Zone' at neptune.

Check it at Neptune and the Distributing > Neptune page of the website, where there's a developing tutorial about how to use the service.


In conjunction with the Portage, Michigan library, I offer two free training sessions about Movie Maker and Photo Story, an intro session and a workshop. Scheduled sessions are:

(Summer Break... will re-start in October)

The classroom has a large screen overhead projection system... and individual laptops for each attendee to use. You learn by doing, with a little guidance from me.

Other fee-based services

If you can't save a movie because your project has become too complex, e-mail a copy and I'll divide it into manageable sub-projects, and provide detailed instructions about how to render the parts and assemble them into your final movie. $49.95 (no cost if it's not the right solution or doesn't work) - for details, see the sidebar on the Problem Solving > Can't Save a Movie page of

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story training and support services start at $75 per hour - send an email - and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with you to plan and implement them.

Wedding combo website/video packages - check the bottom branch of the Movie Maker 2 website for a sample of what you can expect for the online portion of the package.

© 2006 - PapaJohn: Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

About John 'PapaJohn' Buechler from
John 'PapaJohn' Buechler 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 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 the Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup and in the Windows Movie Makers Forums.

This newsletter is republished with permission of John "PapaJohn" Buechler.
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 warranties.

Visit - PapaJohn's Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 Newsletter Index



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