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PapaJohn's Newsletter #125

Pixelan Transitions and Effects v3.0


Happy HolidaysMy latest video doodle turned into a holiday greeting... a bit on the early side. Use the link or click on the picture to view it.

To extend the wishes further, Cary Marsh, the CEO and founder of mydeo, sent a special link offering newsletter readers 50% off the regular one year subscription rate... an offer valid only until December 31st... it would make a great holiday gift for family members and friends who make movies or stories.

I'd been planning an issue about the latest version of Pixelan effects and transitions for weeks now, but every time I started I found it a difficult subject to write about. How can you adequately describe in words, pictures, or even video clips the infinite variety of visual content you can achieve by selecting not just one effect or transition, but multiple ones. 

For effects you can apply as many as 6 of the same or different ones, and change the sequence they are applied to the clip... sequence changes alone can change the visual results dramatically. Transitions can look so different when you adjust the time it's applied; the same transition that lingers on for 10 seconds can be great, while the same one at the default 1-1/4 seconds might look poor. 

The Pixelan website has expanded lots, in attempts to show what each effect and transition does. It's doing it with either the sample images that Movie Maker uses, or a new sample from Pixelan. The expansion helps a lot, but still falls far short of getting you excited about what they will look like with your videos and your own still pix. 

Many of Pixelan's thumbnails that show up in the collections in MM2 give added insights into the effect or transition, but your system typically uses the same two Microsoft sample pictures in the preview monitor... and the preview uses still pix, not videos... which often fall far too short.

With about 1,000 effects and transitions on my laptop, and about 600 of them from Pixelan, the only way to really see them in action is to apply them to a test project and do a preview.

In an attempt to show you more, I selected 12 video clips from our recent vacation, each 5 seconds long, using the default transition duration of 1-1/4 seconds (which I'd usually adjust in a real project), and made 1 minute or less sample videos. My choice of effects and transitions was pretty random, and I limited the effects to one per clip.

Here's a link to the baseline, the 12 clips with no transitions or effects...

No Effects or Transitions Used

I'll cover the newsletter poll results after the regular feature. Scroll down to below the closing comments.

... before getting into details, here's a few notes...


There was one too many newsgroup posters wrestling with the issue of not being able to save a movie, with MPEG-2 source files from a DVD being used... so I did a test that I should have done long ago.

  • I copied a VOB file from a DVD to my hard drive, renamed the extension to .mpg and used it as a project source file. It was acting a bit strangely in the timeline, but I kept the project small and was able to save the project file.
  • I used VirtualDubMod to render the .mpg file to a DV-AVI one, compressing with the Panasonic DV codec.
  • I renamed the new .avi file so it had the same name and extension as the source file being used.... VTS_01_1.mpg, and put it in the same folder as the original.... slipping in a substitute source file when Movie Maker was closed.
  • When I re-opened the project in MM2.1, the substitute file was accepted without question... for more editing, previewing, and saving to a movie.

I added a new section to the Problem Solving > Can't Save a Movie page of the site... a new work-around, which should work for Divx, Xvid, and other file types that can get into a project but result in issues when editing or saving the movie.

Vista Corner... I just finished installing the final released version... my first pass to quickly check things showed Vista itself, Movie Maker, DVD Maker, Photo Gallery, and Windows Media Player all working well. Nothing more was needed beyond the basic installation, which I installed on a newly re-formatted drive.

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

Pixelan Effects

The effects packages are listed here to align with Pixelan's website... click on either the name of the package or one of the images to see a sample clip that uses them.

The italicized statements are from Pixelan's website.

The images are snapshots of some of the thumbnails that show in the collection of video effects.

My personal comments follow the images.

Bonus Effects  

9 Bonus Effects - These bonus effects provide painterly and abstract looks that can add a unique touch to your videos...

Bonus - Blends

Bonus - Ink

Blend in Color, Blend in Grayscale > Chalk & Charcoal >> Cutout > Dry Brush >> ink Outline >> Sponge, Sprayed Strokes, Strokes...

These need to be applied to real clips to see them in full glory.

Pack E1 - Corrections

Correction Effects - Pack E1 - Expanded/improved in Version 3.0! 46 total effects for commonly needed fixes of color, contrast, hue, and edge noise in your clips. Five new CleanCrop effects perfectly retain image sharpness while eliminating frame edge artifacts! For many videographers, this Pack will be useful in almost every project!

' Improve Contrast
Movie Maker does not provide any contrast adjustment. This Pack solves that! Sometimes all an image needs is more or less contrast to make it visually sing!

' Color Correct
Fix common color problems in shots. Subtly color-correct clips that are too 'hot', cool/blue or not 'white balanced' from your camcorder. Or add a creative tint!

' Crop Out Noise
Movie Maker also does not provide cropping. This Pack fills the gap! Easily eliminate frame-edge noise, etc. WITHOUT losing image quality or stretching your image.

' Blur Better
Increase or decrease blur during a clip for a transitional effect. Or apply a slight constant blur -- often a more useful alternative than the strong blur already in Movie Maker.

Set - Blend and Border

I have a lot of analog 8 and Hi8 video files, which have the standard artifacts on the bottom edge... about 7 to 7 pixels high. The crop bottom filter is the easiest way to resolve it. 

Effects Pack E2 - Pan/Zoom

Pan/Zoom - Pack E2 - Expanded/improved in Version 3.0! Sharper image resize algorithms, 32 new pan/zoom variations (99 effects total now), and easy-to-remember effect names.

' Follow Your Subject
Apply pan/zoom moves within any image, just like in Microsoft Photo Story! Unlike others, our effects smoothly accelerate/ decelerate for a high-end, elegant touch.

' Enliven Stills
Apply the well-known "Ken Burns" look to animate stills. Works great at any size/resolution MM can accept. Greatly extends the versatility of your images!

' Mix and Match
Our effects are modular. Zoom in tighter to your subject, hold as long as desired, pan with your subject's movement, then zoom back out. Or any other combination you desire.

' Easily Customize
p/z variations are included, as shown below. To further customize to perfectly match a particular shot, try our visual, easy-to-use PanZoom Maker! NO messing with XML code!


Pans and Zooms are always useful... and this canned pack of them easy to select from and apply... leaving the Pan/Zoom utility for more detailed surgical steps. You can tell from the thumbnails what the effect will do, while the set of 25 effects from the separate utility all use the same thumbnail, with no indication of what it'll do.

Effects Pack E3 - Borders-Frames

Border/Frame Effects - Pack E3 - Expanded in Version 3.0! Terrific ways to highlight your subject -- using borders, frames and other useful accents. A simple, elegant custom touch for special scenes. Ten new frame effects have been added, bringing the total in this Pack up to 50 effects now!

' Highlight & Accent
Use the elegant approach of brightness or color saturation to highlight your subject. A terrific accent for sports videos, family shots, weddings, special scenes, etc.

' Focus Attention
Use these effects to focus your audience's attention. De-emphasize background or scene-edge distractions. Especially handy for active/complex shots.

' Enjoy Variety
Choose from several useful shapes and variations of frames -- organic, soft, shadowed, and more. Nothing cheesy! Easily match the look you desire.

' Express Love
Use heart-shaped effects to express love in wedding videos, family segments, remembrances, etc. A classy custom touch for special scenes!


Like many of Pixelan's effects, the subtle ones are often extremely effective and allow for repetitive use... much like the simple fade transition is routinely used. But the subtlety is often not seen very well in the samples... try them on your clips and toggle with and without them.

The repetitive use of these makes them an extremely useful pack.

Effects Pack E4 - Animation

Animation - Pack E4 - 30 amazing ways to easily create color-accurate cartoon/animation looks from your video. Or to form beautiful abstract imagery. Just like high-end effects shown in several recent movies/commercials. A creative breakthrough now available for Movie Maker users!

Animate/Cartoon. QUICKLY create cartoon-like animations from video while RETAINING color accuracy and stability.

Accent Beautifully. Blend abstract/sensual artistic styles with details from your source image.

Distill Essentials. Simplify images to their most emotional/ compelling artistic elements.

Renew & Revitalize. Easily and attractively revitalize/ customize existing clips and stock footage for new projects.

Effects - Animation

These look like they will be lots of fun in selected cases... I haven't explored them a lot beyond adding some to the sample.

Effects Pack E5 - Cosmetic

Cosmetic - Pack E5 - 30 effects adapted from our powerful CreativEase BlurPro plug-in for other video editing systems. Typical blur effects alter the entire scene, limiting their usefulness for digital video. The unique technology in this Pack makes it easy to SELECTIVELY SOFTEN your clips and/or create fresh animated blur effects. You can even use it to nicely SHARPEN scenes without introducing typical sharpening artifacts.

Soften Yet Retain. Soften areas AND retain edge definition (i.e. smooth skin but keep fine hair, eyelashes) so the overall scene does not blur or lose depth.

Enhance the Sensual. The opposite of above is also handy' easily soften ONLY certain details (i.e. blemishes, harsh reflections) to produce lush/sensual visuals.

Be Dreamy/Surreal. Apply just the right touch of SELECTIVE softness for dreamy/ surreal looks in wedding videos, dream segments, etc.

SHARPEN Better, Too! This Pack also is for sharpening! SHARPEN only desired areas, accenting details more effectively and reducing sharpen 'halos.'

Effects - Cosmetic

The Pixelan website does a good job of showing the before and after images, but using a close-up of one eye, something I've only done a couple times for fun clips. My sample clips show them as they are more apt to be used on a story or video clip.  It's not just what it does to the eyes and face, but to the rest of the picture too, as the filter gets applied to the whole frame.

Effects Pack E6 - Film

Film - Pack E6 - 30 effects to help your video look like various looks/grains of contemporary film. Also includes OLD film effects, such as scratches, flashing, and strong grain.

Add Filmic Grain. Apply subtle luminance-based grain to emulate contemporary film. From subtle to strong, we include several choices.

Age Your Footage. Scratch, tint, flash, and decay your clips to emulate old film looks. Much more tailorable than MM's one built-in Film Age effect.

Film Looks Galore! Dozens of terrific film looks (selective colorations) to stylize your clips. A great complement to applying grain (described at left).

Mix and Match. Experiment with applying more than one look to the same clip -- to create unique blended styles of your own!


If it looks old, users want an effect to make it look new. If new, they want one to make it appear old. I guess the perpetual quest is to take something good and make it different. It's complimentary to the video that it looks so good that they want to put their personal stamp on it and make it different.

Effects Pack E7 - Time

Time - Pack E7 - 30 ways to add image ghosting, motion trails, and other cool time-delay effects, such as in sports/active shots or dreamy/surreal scenes. Also includes unique blended stop-action, strobe, and flash looks.

Look Dreamy. Slow down your clips and apply this Pack to create terrific dream looks -- for special segments, wedding or religious videos, etc.

Emphasize Motion. Use ghosting to highlight motion in the scene or a pan/zoom of a still-image. Echo light or dark, or both.

Blend Stop-Action. Freeze frames per a set interval, with blended action in-between, for an attractive/unique stop-action effect.

Add a Hot Strobe. Easily apply a strobe, a fun effect especially when used with other effects. Add a hot white flash too, if desired.

Effects - Time Ghosting

My holiday greeting video, in case you missed it, used a number of these.... ghosting and flashing effects. That's why I used the bouncing globe, something with enough movement to appreciate the time effects.

Effects Pack E8 - WOW

WOW - Pack E8 - 30 amazing effects; your audience will think you used a high-end FX system! From organic blurs to creative color effects, it's terrific for a wide range of projects.

Be Creative Quickly. Quickly drag-and-drop creative color effects into your scenes, from cutting-edge distortions to glowing color warps.

Enjoy the Organic. This Pack's organic, flowing visual effects are far more compelling for artistic treatments than standard effects.

Apply the Unique. Easily create fresh, unique blur looks that were previously possible only in high-end video effects systems.

Make It Flow. Form incredible fluid/molten effects quickly. To amplify the effect, simply apply it repeatedly to the same clip. Easy!

Effects - WOW

This and the following ones are really fun... for occasional use.... especially for music videos.

Plus Pack + Fun

Plus Pack


I'll run through the transition packs alphabetically, as they appear in Movie Maker's collection.

Transitions - CoolFX

CoolFX - 3 Bonus and the rest in Pack T3 - 43 cutting-edge transitions, such as organic, fire, beautiful irises, bands & reveals -- all with soft, seamless edges. Ideal for videos of family, events, music, or sports.

Transitions - Cool FX

The samples on Pixelan's website use the sample landscape picture... these are great but subtle transitions, and my sample video clips show them better.

Transitions are easier to check on your real project as you can only have one transition... so applying another one removes whatever is there before it. No need to remove one first.

Transitions - Energy

EnergyFX - Pack T4 - 36 'natural' transitions that use wind, gravity, etc. to reveal the next scene. Especially handy when you need an eyecatching transition that looks "real".

Transitions - Energy

The default transition duration of 1-1/4 seconds is often too short for these. I tweak the durations after applying.

Transitions - Particles

Particles - Pack T5 - 44 exciting particle-effect transitions as sophisticated as those made by the highest-end visual effect systems. Includes bursts, page curls, drops, spills, spins and trails.

Transitions - Particles

I agree with Pixelan's comment... soft sophisticated quality, as are most of their effects and transitions. I'm sure that's why Microsoft goes to them.

Transitions - Picture in Picture

Picture in Picture - Pack T2 - 54 professional PIP (picture-in-picture) transitions, allowing you to fly clips in or out of the scene, hold them, softly slide in or away, or zoom in/out effortlessly. Great for many projects!

Transitions - PIP

The samples on Pixelan's website use the sample landscape picture transitioning into a plain pink image... with no animation.

My samples with the default transition durations don't do as a good a job as they could... if I were to adjust the durations manually and appropriately for each, something I'd do when using them in movies.

Transitions - Plus

Plus! Pack... released by Microsoft and developed by Pixelan - 2 crack, drain, erode, 2 evaporate, 2 fire, fizzle, 3 flow, 2 organic, random scan,  rip vertical, snow, 2 star, 6 texture

Transitions - Plus Pack

Long and slow in many cases makes for interesting visuals...

Transitions - Fun

SnowA couple snow transitions from a Microsoft Holiday Fun Pack

I like the snowflakes effect more than the snowy transitions.

Transitions - SoftFX

SoftFX - Pack T1 - 35 ultra-soft, subtle 'directional' dissolves, a great alternative to regular fades/ dissolves in Movie Maker. Tie transitions seamlessly to your subject, action or theme -- for a terrific "pro" touch!

Transitions - SoftFX

The samples on Pixelan's website use the standard sample landscape picture... these are great but subtle transitions, and my sample video clips show them a bit better. 

Conclusions and Closing

I think my actual video clips show the Pixelan effects and transitions a bit better, but I'm not satisfied with them.... Using the right ones in the wrong place doesn't do justice to either the effects, transition or the video clips they are used on.

When selecting from these, you're heavily into the creative part of the movie making process...

You can't apply them if you don't have them... get at least the trial versions and check them out. Beyond that, it's a reasonable investment in tools you'll use over and over.

Special Section

... the Newsletter Poll and comments

the kickoff for the poll was an email from a subscriber saying...  the last couple of newsletters I feel like I'm a kindergartener trying to take advanced calculus. Maybe you should have two newsletters, one for the beginners and intermediates and another one for the techies that are into the advanced placement arena.... I thought you might want to test the waters and see if you're hitting your target market. (I won't be going to 2 different newsletters... I put a lot into each issue and couldn't do 2 of them without drastically lowering the quality of each... but yes, used the comment about testing the waters).

I asked all subscribers to rate them as being too hard, OK, or great.

80% of the responses selected great, keep up the good work. Thanks for that and I intend to... but emailed newsletters, like websites, are always different, changing, and getting better...

Regardless of the rating, many of them had good comments. Here are the suggestions for changes.

  • More on Vista - from one responder...
  • ... from another - Learning about Vista is not as interesting (Vista will become more interesting as time goes by... I'll mix issues about it in pretty slowly... and as I decided not to write a book about Vista, I'll be adding all the basic 'How-To' info on the website, and won't need to cover it in newsletters.... which are for more advanced info than the basics.)
  • Keeping a log on that site (Google Video) that's supposed to post a video isn't too interesting since they haven't been able to do it. It will be something if they ever get it on and that would be news worthy.  (I agree that the log ran too many weeks... it never did get published by Google and I didn't get any note from them... it was just quietly erased... anything about Google video is newsworthy I think.)
  • ... the articles... assume a basic knowledge of the features described... in many cases, that may not be the case. and will leave some users in the dust (I've given refunds when subscribers tell me they didn't understand what they were ordering, but not if they are beyond getting 1/2 of the issues for the subscription period).... on the otherhand, those that subscribe probably do have a basic knowledge of most new features so getting too basic may be annoying to those who are well informed (I agree... my books and websites cover basics and more... the newsletters were meant to go beyond them)...  there is enough background and direction to get even the most novice user the start they may need to try new things and do further research on their own.
  • ... I want to make better MM2 videos. I like to burn them so that I can share. I've used your information to buy better equipment, to use different software so that my final video with MM2 is great. I even like learning about 3 rd party vendors that provide a great tools to enhance my viewers experience. (in the beginning my focus was on Movie Maker... but I quickly expanded it to include all the places you get video or pictures from, and the ways you can distribute the final videos)
  • I like learning a new tool or feature. I like learning about your experiences. I like learning about other uses for MM2 and other software. Here's my profile: I use MM2 and kept it because of your information. I also have Nero and Roxio Premier 8 based on your recommendations. I have a video iPOD and use Jodix video converter based on your recommendations. I have Pixilan software and just picked up PanZoom1.1 based on your recommendations. I use Adobe PhotoShop Elements 4.0 to clean up my images. I have both Windows Movie Maker 2, Zero to Hero and Movie Maker 2, Do Amazing Things. I also have iMovie but it's old and I decided a couple of years ago to commit to MM2. Someday I will want to change my format to wide and I will use your information to pick the right equipment. New creative ideas would always be interesting. Perhaps adding contributors or readers experiences would be good to add. (thanks, you demo the fact that Movie Maker isn't the only tool in the box... and I'd be happy to publish a short or long article in an issue from any reader... send an email if you have a subject and want to do it... it'll make that week easier - I hope)
  • Some of the newsletters that you send don't pertain to me but for the most part they have extremely useful information that would take me forever to find on the internet. (you can find all of the older than 6 to 8 weeks' issues on the internet, all in one library... I try to keep the new ones fresh enough to be useful to those with the quest for learning) 
  • Truthfully I have been disappointed in many of your recent newsletters.  I don't know if it is me not keeping up with what everyone else is interested in or what.  For me, personally, I most enjoy the newsletters where you provide new ways to make my videos more interesting and professional looking.  For example, Picture-in-Picture, tricks with titles and transitions, importing clips and audio, using Photo Story 3 and other packages in conjunction with MM2 are all areas that I am interested in.  Again, it may just be me, but I am more interested in basics and the more 'cookbook' techniques you can provide the more I will get out of it  (this is a good comment.... I don't know if this issue helps you enough...  hopefully next week's will, when I do a tutorial about making a video greeting card for the holidays... it'll be more of a card than the holiday greeting video you might have seen at the start of this issue - I need a good mix of cookbook techniques in with other topics).
  • Too hard (thanks for the honest comment)
  • One subject that I must take some time to review, is that of storage and archival/cleanup of old files uses in different MM clips and videos.  I have a 160 GB hard drive and a 160 external drive and scattered about are probably 200 GB of files including 90 Gb of Original .avi clips related to MM.  Call me a pack rat as I seem cautious about deleting anything. (maybe you hadn't read my last issue about my vacation pix and videos when you wrote this)
  • I think that some of us are getting ready to move to HD...  Of course the HD world at this moment is in a state of flux,  editors not working correctly, too many output selections...  60i, 24p, 30p ect..ect...So it may be a little early for you to move your newsletters into HD... (the final release of Vista and the versions of Movie Maker, DVD Maker and Photo Gallery in it kind of fixes the picture for us, and will be the subject of occasional issues from now on)
  • I think they are too hard to understand and way too technical for me.  I just want to learn techniques on how to make good movies through the software, not how the software is made, etc.   I am not a sophisticated techie, but very interested in how to make movies, new techniques, etc. (you might need to subscribe to another newsletter in addition to this one... all I have in my resume is a 2nd place award for a Neptune editing contest.... no feature films or other creative movie-maker accolades.... I'd not suggest dropping this subscription as the more you learn about using the tools, the more energy you can put into the creative end) 
  • Vista is fine but that is not coming out retail for 6 months.  I want to start going thru the prior letters  #1 thru about #75 and would like to see an overview / topic index of these.  Maybe there is one and I have not seen it yet.  Would like to know which of these are now obsolete and not worth going thru due to advances in technology, so I can focus on the ones that are germane.   Maybe you could recommend a series of them to emphasize certain subjects? You are the only one that can help us sort thru what is germane and not.  We can whack thru the jungle and get nowhere quick. I consider myself advanced on jpeg but high end novice on video  mpeg and avi.   Would like to strengthen myself here and I know the older news letters could help.   I would rather start on smaller chunks than start and give up on a big effort. (good comment... I'll do a review of the past issue subjects and give you a short list of those that are still relevant)
  • the majority are too far advanced for me. I would like to see more on transitions for PS3, simple things like ok here is a website that has great transitions. Most of them charge for a download, which I have done on several occasions and then have trouble getting them into the PS3 program.   I'm sure they are on the computer, but finding them and getting them into the right program and making sure they pull up when I go onto PS3 is an entirely different matter.   Or how about a little more detail on doing something really creative with PS3. I have tried unsuccessfully to do a small clip in MM and then import it into PS3 with varied results. (the comment confuses me a bit... PS3 doesn't support extra downloadable transitions... do you really mean Photo Story 3, or are you thinking of Movie Maker?)
  • MM is not as intuitive as PS3. The tutorial that MS provides leaves a lot to be desired.  I have your book on Zero to Hero and it helps but I get a little confused by the format.  It appeared to me that three experts (obviously you were one of the experts) divided up the chapters and each wrote on their area of expertise; but to the layman just picking up the book and trying to figure out the basics it wasn't as helpful as I was expecting.   Some of my problem(s) with MM is that it probably works best if you are downloading some recent footage from a camcorder, while most of my attempts have been downloading video from either my old digitized 8mm's (which is a whole other set of problems) or maybe trying to capture some footage on the web and incorporate it.   Either way it's extremely more complicated than merely taking some footage out of the minicam. (yes, I wrote 1/2 of the chapters fro 'Zero to Hero' and the overall editing was done by Friends of Ed and one of the other authors... but I tell those who ask that the book is a better choice than 'Do Amazing Things' for use by a classroom teacher... Movie Maker is optimized to make it easy to go from a digital camcorder by firewire... Vista is even more that way.... and downloaded footage is often in highly compressed formats that are difficult to deal with... you need more learning about capturing and conversion issues than many, but it's you're only road to easily using the things you have or want)
  • I think I have finally mastered getting the songs over to either PS3 or MM.   The biggest challenge is getting them into the library of Windows Media Player and ensuring that they are in an mp3 format.  Forget IPOD.   I have downloaded music from paid websites like and have the music on my harddrive, but still can't use it in PS3 as they block the transfer.   So frustrating.  Maybe some help along these lines. (see the Import Movie Source Files > Music and Audio page... life couldn't be easier than playing a tune in any player and capturing it into Movie Maker as a narration file... try it if you haven't) 
  • Another thought as you are talking to your subscribers....maybe ask them what issues or problems they are encountering.  Or you probably get a sense for this by the number of questions you get on your website. Anyway, hope this helps. (I don't have a website feature for people to ask questions, not yet anyway... I use newsgroups and forums... the one forum for my newsletters, at gets little if any comments from subscribers.... when I write an article for Maximum PC and it sells to millions of readers over 3 months, a total of 3 emails is a lot over the life of the article.... same goes for other articles in the magazines. Seems that people want to browse or read, not make comments in writing.... the feedback I got on this poll was great!!)
  • I'd like to see more 'How To Do XYZ with MovieMaker. And maybe a *regular* 'Tips & Tricks' section. (good comment.... are you aware of my official tips and tricks thread at SimplyDV, which has almost 22,000 views so far... here's a link:

  • I am a Novice so some revisiting of the "How to get started in MM2 etc" would be nice for newbees that have less experience.  As you do more newsletters your reader base will become more diverse. (Good comment... an overview every so often is probably a good thing even for the experienced users, as the world of computer hardware and software changes over time and we need at least an occasional recalibration)

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 anything and everything that supports the 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. The frequency of radio Q&A sessions about Movie Maker has fallen off. 

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.

A 7 page tutorial about Photo Story 3 is in the 2006 Summer Special edition, still on bookstands.

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 goals are: doing amazing things, providing a detailed tutorial for PhotoStory 3, and helping you solve Movie Maker 2 problems.

It's being expanded to include the new version of Movie Maker in Vista, with Photo Gallery and DVD Maker.

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 subscription is $20 for 52 issues, and the link to subscribe is on the main page of

Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):

#126 - Nov 25 - making a video postcard... tutorial...

#127 - Dec 2 - a 35 mm slide scanner for 'stories from older memories'

#128 - Dec 9 - 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 topic...


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. Here are links

TransiitonsEffectsPackage for Movie Maker - Volume 1 

PapaJohn's Transitions - Volume 2

PapaJohn's Video Effects - Volume 3


I use a lot of professional background music for movies and stories that was created by Randon Myles, and act as his agent in selling the tunes individually. 

There are 62 tunes available from 4 of his many albums... at 99 cents per tune (MP3 or WMA format). Here's a Sample - 45 seconds from 'Groove 2'. The 4 albums are: In the Fields of the on-Feretin , Music for Film Volume III, the Emerald Way, and the Fourth Door.

I don't have a full set of online samples yet, but if you hear something you like in one of my videos, there's a good chance it was done by Randon. Send an email if you are interested.

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.

On my list of things to do is a video tutorial showing users tips about using it.

Online Galleries Neptune Gallery

neptune Mediashare is the preferred file download service for Movie Maker users... there's a  'PapaJohn Expert Zone' where I keep many of my samples and personal videos. 

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

Mydeo... and mydeo is the preferred video streaming service. The video samples for this newsletter are on it, and I'll be using it for many of my future ones.

Photo Stories stream as well as movies.

mydeo offers a one month free trial... click the logo or the link to check it out.


In conjunction with the Portage, Michigan library , I offer free training sessions about Movie Maker and Photo Story, an intro session and a workshop. Upcoming classes are 7-8:30 PM on:

Thursday, November 30th
Thursday, December 14th

The classroom has a large screen overhead projection system... and individual laptops for each attendee. You learn by doing, with some coaching.

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 Living Projects section of the Movie Maker 2/Photo Story website for samples of what you can expect for the online portion of a 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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