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PapaJohn's Newsletter #127

A Closer Look at YouTube

YouTube seems to be causing a tidal wave of added interest in online videos... it's been in the forefront of the news lately, including the feature article in the December issue of Wired magazine. From the viewings/sightings at YouTube, it seems that most videos uploaded were made with Movie Maker. 

Some stats from the Wired article

  • Google bought YouTube for 1.65 billion dollars
  • a study showed that 38% of responders want to create or share content online
  • over 65,000 uploads a day to YouTube
  • from a standing start just over a year ago to over 100 million video streams a day
  • Madison Avenue (read this as the leaders of the marketing world) has 67 billion dollars to spend on advertising 

When I issued newsletter #101 in April about 5 free online hosts, YouTube was just one of the 5 covered. Since then it has really taken off and currently stands alone as the leader of the pack.

It's a free service. With its popularity and ease of use, you'll need a good reason not to use it rather than reasons to do so.

YouTube Playlist

After uploading a movie, YouTube processes it to convert to flash format if needed and add some data. It then provides a link or the html code to embed a player in a website page...

... and a really neat feature lets you add the video to a current or new playlist.

You can use the link to the playlist to see it at YouTube, or use other html code provided to embed it in a web page of your own.

For the newsletter, I made a web page with Chuck Bentley's Carnival in Venice podcast videos embedded in it... click the image and it'll open the test page.

The scrolling filmstrip in the player lets you browse the playlist and select any of the videos... or you can opt to play them all in sequence.

I'll cover

  • uploading files to YouTube
  • why it's better to convert your movies to flash files yourself rather than letting YouTube do it
  • other tips about using the service.

... before getting into details, here are a few notes...


Vista Corner... I started updating the Vista section of the website...

In Windows XP, a movie project can get too complex for the computer's memory to handle when publishing the movie. Movie Maker in Vista is completely different under the hood. If more memory is needed, it uses part of the hard drive. That's the concept... of course I needed to check it.

My first test was a movie of 8 hrs, 22 minutes... all video clips... rendering a movie takes time... 18-1/2 hours later I had a 4.1+ GB wmv file that was complete and played fine.

Sometimes a super slide-show is harder to render than a long string of video clips. My second test was a 5-1/4 hour show that used 5,000 7-megapixel JPG files from our recent vacation, a transition between each, and music provided by 64 MP3 music tracks. Publishing to Vista's option for DVD quality took 10-1/2 hours of rendering, and produced a great looking and sounding 2.4 GB WMV movie file.

After some discouraging results when checking for missing frames last week, I was happy to see such positive results in these rendering tests.


As this link is a special for 50% off the usual annual service price... for newsletter readers... good to Dec 31.... I'll keep it as a sticky note until then.

It makes a better holiday gift than a free subscription to YouTube... there's no file size or quality limits on videos uploaded to mydeo.

Next week I'm attending an orientation class at the Kalamazoo Community Access Center... some info from their website

"The mission of the Community Access Center is to provide access to electronic media via education, technology, and distribution resources, so that a diversity of local voices can be expressed and heard in the community.

For over 25 years, the Community Access Center has provided vital community media services to the greater Kalamazoo area. Our services include educational workshops on
video production techniques, free use of our television production facilities, and programming distribution on Channels 19, 20, 21, 22, and 95 on the Charter Cable system. We also offer an outstanding internship program that provides valuable work experience for future media professionals."

Their current classes include iMovie and Final Cut HD... maybe with time they'll add one about Movie Maker. They seemed interested!!!!

Newsletter Review

One of the survey suggestions was to help readers know which of the older newsletters were still relevant.

Each newsletter starts with a post to the forum about the topic... and the post lives on from there. I checked the viewing stats to see which ones were most popular. Five issues have over 1,000 views. Here's my comments about them.

#45 - Sonic's PS3 DVD Plug-in and MyDVD 6.1 - 1,206 views... my suggestion has always been to put the $20 you would pay for the plug-in into DVD software that could handle the stories. Only read this issue if your really want to.  

#50 - Converting MPEG-2 Files - Part I - 3,377... the winner to date in terms of viewings... and yes, it's still up to date... at least until you get to Vista which handles such files without conversion.

#59 - From Recorded TV (DVR-MS) to Movie Maker - 3,034...  it still has my latest info.

#70 - Movie Maker Rendering MPEG-4 Movies - 1,556... this issue was meant as more of a topic of trivia... I'm surprised it's in the top 5. It's not a mainstream item, so skip it.

#86 - First Look at Movie Maker in Vista - 2,581... I'm surprised this one is also in the top 5... As I'm now running the final release version of Vista, skip this issue and follow the Vista section of my website, where I'll not only be putting the latest info but maintaining it.

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


Chuck's videos make for a great playlist. I found that you can select and play any of them from the embedded player, but when opting to play them all in sequence, the first 4 play followed by a message that to see more it's time to go to the YouTube site... where you'll also see some advertisements needed to help Google get income from their investment in YouTube.

Another Playlist... a study of ducks - 5 videos

Let's study YouTube's service with a short 2:21 video of ducks, the same movie uploaded 5 times... each a different file type or with different quality settings. My starting point for each was the same DV-AVI source file from Movie Maker.

Two of the 5 were uploaded as WMV files, and the other 3 as flash FLV.

Instead of embedding the playlist in a web page, I'll give you the link to see it at YouTube. For some reason, the last of the ducks has taken off... with 600 views in 3 days, while the first 4 uploaded have a combined total of 88 views. I don't know why, maybe the words 'best WMV' in the title. What the viewers don't know is it's the worst of the 5 in quality... keep reading. 

Duck Playlist at YouTube

Play FullScreenPlay them to see differences in quality (most noticeable when viewed at full screen, something the embedded playlist viewer doesn't offer).

How Do Downloaded Files Compare to Uploaded Ones?

YouTube converts uploaded files to flash format...

  • give it a wmv and it'll convert it to a flash file... and maybe at a much reduced quality
  • give it a flash file and it'll keep the file pretty much the same but use YouTube Metadata Injector to add some info. The downloaded files are the same quality but slightly larger than the uploaded ones.

I use the file sizes as the first indicator of quality... both WMV and flash are highly compressed.

Ducks - this first upload was a wmv file saved at my usual choice of Video for LAN (768 kbps)... it went up as a 13.8 MB wmv file, and comes down as a 5.9 MB Flash file.

Ducks Again... for this next one, I did a conversion to a Flash file myself (see below) rather than letting YouTube do it. With the DV-AVI file as the source, I got close to the settings of my uploaded wmv file... 25 fps at a 768 kbps bitrate. The uploaded FLV file was 20.1 MB, and the file that comes down is just a slightly larger 20.1 MB.

Ducks... at 1000kbps - the first two played pretty smoothly, so I wanted to see what happens if I upload a higher quality flash file at 1000 kbps. The uploaded file was 22 MB, not much bigger than the previous one, and the downloaded file is 22 MB. We're seeing a pattern of flash files going up and coming back at the same size, indicating YouTube isn't re-rendering them to a default quality level.

Ducks... at 1600kbps - this is the highest bitrate setting the Riva FLV encoder goes up to... a 30 MB file up and a 30 MB file downloaded... the pattern continues.

If it doesn't come down smoothly as it plays, pause the playing and let the downloading finish. After the download, view it a full screen and you'll see the highest quality file in the playlist.

Ducks... best WMV at 60 MB - YouTube's maximums are a 10 minute video and a 100 MB file size. In Movie Maker I notched the size of the saved file as high as I could for a 640x480 pixel file. It made a  59.4 MB wmv file. I thought that perhaps YouTube would reject it as some users say they can't get it to accept their wmv files, but there was no rejection.

The conversion to flash by YouTube took a bit longer than usual, and the downloaded file was 6 MB, 10% the size of the uploaded one. The visual quality was consistent with the smaller file.

So the best quality going up was tied for the lowest quality when viewed... the lesson here is to upload what YouTube likes rather than what we like.... Flash files, not wmv. And make the flash files at the quality you want.

After uploading it takes some time, minutes to an hour depending on the file, for YouTube to turn the upload into a downloadable (viewable) file with link. During that time you can upload more or copy the file to a playlist, or do whatever else you want.

As both wmv files came back as lower quality flash files, let's look closer.

When you play a video on YouTube, the file downloads someplace into a set of automatically created sub-folders on your hard drive. On my laptop, they are in c:\Documents and Settings\PapaJohn\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5 sub-folders... along with other temporary internet files. They don't all go into one sub-folder.

The downloaded files are named get_video, and they are flash files without the FLV file extension. Just add it.

I watch the files grow in size as the downloading buffering happens. When finished, I copy them into the newsletter folder with the uploaded ones, and rename them to add a FLV extension. With the extension, double-clicking one opens it in the  Riva FLV Player, a utility that comes with the Riva FLV Encoder.

The uploaded duck files started in the folder shown at the right in this picture (don't look at all the details as the list wasn't finished when I took the snapshot). The folder also has copies of the files that came back from YouTube.

I correlated the ones that went up and down, and gave them numbers to pair them - the 1s, 2s, 3s and 4s are related.

Uploads and Downloads

the MetaData Injector

To study the file properties of the downloaded flash files, I got a

Meta Data Injector
FLV MetaData Injector

and it's associated GUI.

When you run FLVMDI, it injects meta data (like I injected my name into the file). I didn't need it to do any injecting, but one of the options when injecting is to have it make an xml file which shows the file's properties.

Let's check some of the files by looking at the xml files

Checking YouTube File Properties

Here's a section of the xml file for the downloaded 1600 kbps flash file... the video size and data rate are the same as the file I uploaded.

xml data

downloaded file 1WMV to Flash by YouTube

This snippet of xml info shows what came back from my first wmv file upload.

A 640x480 file with a bitrate of 778 kbps went up, and a flash file of 320x240 at 331 kbps came back.

My 60 MB super duck wmv video went up at 640x480 with a video bitrate of a high DVD quality... 3276 kbps.Super Duck File

... and came back at the same flash file quality as the first wmv file... 320x240 with a video bitrate of 340 kbps.

The pumped up extra quality of the uploaded wmv file didn't buy me anything when viewing it. It just took more time to process.

Make Your Own Flash Files

Save movies as DV-AVI from Movie Maker, and use the Riva FLV Encoder, a utility covered in  Newsletter #102, to convert them to Flash FLV files.

Here's a snapshot of my usual settings.

Being in a good broadband NTSC environment, I favor 640x480, 29.97 fps at a video bitrate of 768 kbps. 

... as seen above, with this tool you can notch the bitrate up as high as 1600 kbps.

Make YouTube Playlists

When a video is online, you can add it to a playlist, a great feature.

A playlist has a fixed link, so once you've created one and given the URL to the world, you can delete, add, or swap videos without effecting the link.

The last one uploaded will appear first in your list of online videos... a perfect time to assign it to a playlist.

Playlists of 4 or fewer videos will play completely in an embedded website player. If there's more than 4, as in Chuck's playlist of 7 videos, YouTube gives a message after the 4th one that, to see more, you need to go to the list in a YouTube page, where you'll get to see some advertising.

YouTube Interface

Tip: I learned by experience to give YouTube the time it needs to do what you tell it. My first attempts to build playlists didn't happen quickly enough to suit me, so I told it again and again, adding the same files over and over. Then maybe 10 to 30 minutes later I found lots of duplicates in the playlists. Each time I told it to add a video, it did so, but at its own pace, not mine.

It works well if you give it a chance.

Widescreen 16:9 Videos

display as they should... I checked by

  • uploading a widescreen WMV file... which plays widescreen in YouTube viewers
  • saving a widescreen movie to DV-AVI and running it through the Riva encoder to get a Flash file... the new file plays as widescreen in the Riva Flash player, and the uploaded FLV file appears as widescreen to viewers.

I saw a post on Riva's forums asking when widescreen will be supported... there wasn't a response, but it seems it already is.

Conclusion and Closing... and What's Next?

... upload a higher quality wmv and get back a smooth playing flash file, but of lower quality... upload a high quality flash file and get back what you upload. Sometimes you don't care, so wmv to YouTube is good... sometimes you do, so make a DV-AVI file and convert it to flash yourself.

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  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 was in the 2006 Summer Special edition. I'm just starting an article about Movie Maker, DVD Maker, and Photo Gallery in Vista.

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):

#128 - Dec 9 - a 35 mm slide scanner for 'stories from older memories'... the topic keeps moving out until I get a chance to try a different and higher quality scanner to compare results to the one I'm using now. 

#129 - Dec 16 - 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, 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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