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PapaJohn's Newsletter #137

Music and Sound Effects

Personal LibraryA new subscriber was doing what we all do, trying to understand copyright rules when using music in her projects. That's one of those subjects a bit hard to talk about unless you're a lawyer representing one side or the other.

  • Why are copyright issues hard to talk about?  I think it's a bit like talking about how many miles per hour you can go over the speed limit without being ticketed. Everyone knows the limit is the limit... but try to find a car going at or less than it. Does the fact that everyone does it make it right? make it legal? remove you from being at risk?
  • A speed limit has a fixed number, making it much easier than copyright issues... read one lawyer's opinion about where the line is for legal use of others' material, and it's different than another lawyer's view. 

It' been about a year since I devoted a newsletter to the subjects of music and audio, and the world keeps turning. In this issue I'll show you where I draw my lines today. You are free to draw your lines differently.

I lost a hard drive last year, and one of the things on it was my original library of computer-based audio files. As I re-build it, I'm much more in tune with copyright issues, as my work has evolved over the years from being purely for private viewing to now being almost totally online for open viewing. I'm not comfortable upload a video to YouTube that uses a Willie Nelson tune for background music, something created years ago for family viewing.

I'm going to illustrate where I draw my lines, and where I get my 'free' music by showing you my current audio library. I'll go into each folder and tell you where I got the files from.

Most of the sub-folders in my Music folder are the source files for the source files I keep in a Movie Maker 1 Music collection. That's where I split, organize, rename files for use in MM2 projects.

When I get to the point of adding music to an MM2 project I can go two ways. If I know exactly the file I want from my music library, I can import it directly into MM2 and drag it on the timeline. If I'd rather do some browsing of the music and pick various clips, I'll import the full MM1 music collection into MM2 so the full library is there for the previewing and using. By the way, Vista's Movie Maker doesn't give you the option to import a collection.

My music library is one source of music and sound effects for my projects.

Ripped from Video

Another main source is my video clip library. The file list at the left shows the audio files I've ripped from my Europe301 camcorder tapes. I store them in a different MM1 collection than my music library.

If I want both my generic music library and this Europe301 audio collection in MM2, I'll import both collections.

Here's the top level view of my MM2 collections when I'm working on a new project about Florence. Europe 301 Audio is the collection of all the ripped audio files of the vacation. Florence and its sub-collections are the video clips and still pictures specific to Florence. Music is my all-purpose library of audio files.

MM2 Collections

Note the other Audio folder... the audio clips specific to Florence. They are duplicated in the Florence collection and the Europe 301 audio collection. If I'm making a project about Rome and find myself a bit short on music, I'll use some from Florence or another place in Italy.

I'm comfortable using any of the audio from any camcorder footage that I personally shot in public places, or in other places when I'm permitted to use my camcorder.

In the rest of the newsletter, I'll talk about the folders in the main music library, where I got the clips from, and talk about a couple websites that appear to offer music and audio files free to use... we'll look at the fine print.

... pause for a few notes...


I sent last week's newsletter to my contact at TripAdvisor. She loved it and was going to pass it on to the full production staff. She noted they eat lunch in the bagel shop down the street.... for those who opt to make a candid video of them chuckling over the days submittals.

The videos that I and Chuck Bentley have on TripAdvisor are getting many more views than those we have on YouTube.

One of them is of interest to this newsletter.... being early in the submittals to TripAdvisor, if you go to the Walt Disney World page to do some trip planning, and click on the link to submitted videos, there's only one there so far, an 8-1/2 minute one I submitted on Jan 26th... with 268 views to date. My opinion is that I'm allowed to take pictures and video at Disney World and Epcot, while Chuck thinks I'm at risk of being contacted by the Disney police. I contend that Disney facilities have camera stores dotted all over the place, have marked photo scenic spots, and characters that pose with you and your kids. How could they then say you can't upload the pictures and video you took to TripAdvisor or YouTube? Maybe it's in the fine print I didn't read.

Vista Corner...

The first of Microsoft's Knowledge Base articles about Movie Maker and DVD Maker in Vista are online. Here are some I found interesting...

KB923946 - "... some video files that are encoded by using the Microsoft Screen Capture codec do not contain time stamps. These time stamps are required to use Movie Maker to correctly edit and publish a movie. Unlike other video file types, the Microsoft Screen Capture codec only saves time stamps to the file when the screen changes during the encoding process. This behavior creates gaps in the file that Movie Maker cannot render..."

KB926672 - Windows DVD Maker slide show... you find that the slide show length does not match the song length. Therefore, there are sections of silence between the songs...  This problem occurs because the lengths of the MP3 files that are encoded with a VBR are not correctly detected when you create the slide show. WORKAROUND... use song files that are not encoded with a VBR.

KB929532 - "... you try to capture video in Windows Media Center from an analog video camera or from a VCR. You try to do this by using a TV tuner card. However, you receive the following error message: The Device is in Use.... WORKAROUND... stop and temporarily disable Windows Media Center Receiver Service. Then, try to capture video in Microsoft Windows Movie Maker from an analog video camera or from a VCR..."  And I've been telling everyone that Movie Maker in Vista only does digital importing via firewire. Guess I'll need to try some analog capturing.  

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

My Sources of Music and Audio Clips

My first folder is Allie's Keyboard. This past Christmas, our grand-daughter got an iPod... of no interest to my projects. But the year before it was a Yamaha keyboard, which I found of great interest... not for her playing tunes, but for what I could record on my camcorder tapes, over 100 sample files included on the keyboard.

I tested it by recording some... picking up the music and other household noises.

Sample - from Allie's Keyboard

The keyboard includes at least 5 hours of build-in samples. I'll be doing some more recording... with less background noise.

Belfast Gin is next... a group I first saw at a local medieval festival. Their website's Music page has a couple pieces free to download and use.

Local musicians vary in experience and quality... and how they give permission to use their material. Some pieces might be free to use and others not.

You may remember Bruce Shankle who developed the WMMUtil app that lets you see which of your source files are missing from a movie project. He also plays the piano... and his wife Karen has a business teaching piano.

Bruce and Karen have some of their recorded pieces on their website, free to use. Here's a link to Bruce's Musical Side. From there you can get to Karen's music too.

The Civil War offers much to remember, and some people focus on the music. This link was given to me a long time ago by a newsletter reader, and I've been using snippets of Civil War music from 19 pieces ever since.

Darth Sinister is a forum member who recently posted info about a couple music scores he wrote, and offered them for free use. I downloaded his Victory Battle piece.

When someone offers free use of home-made music, and the piece is good... add it to your library.

The Blue Devils Drum Corps offers some pieces... the one I have is an 11 minute one.

The Archival Preservation of Player Piano Music Rolls is a noble project, with the goal of digitizing the world's library of player piano rolls, and placing the results online for free use. They are now up to having almost 5,000 midi files. I wrote to Terry Smythe about his project, specifically about copyright aspects. He told me he was working on the basis that any copyrights of player piano rolls having expired long ago, and I should feel free to use his midi files, as he wasn't copyrighting the conversion work he was doing.

As file space is so much smaller with midi files, I leave them in that format, play them in WMP, and capture them into Movie Maker as narrations as I choose to use them.

One of my projects from the old rolls is the Walk Across the Golden Gate ... this link is to the copy of the video on neptune.

Music downloaded from Napster is usually copyrighted and used for personal listening, not for movie and story projects. The folder isn't included in my MM1 collection.

Pinnacle Studio has a neat feature to generate higher quality background music than midi files. That's where I got the music for my Grand Canyon video that illustrates the making of Picture in Picture effects... here's a link to it on neptune.

Studio 9 was bundled with my Dazzle 80 capture device. You'll often find it freely included with something else.

I preview the audio being generated by Pinnacle Studio and capture it into Movie Maker as a narration file.

The most professional music I use is from Randon Myles Chisnell, who composes and produces it... digitally. He uses a Mac, so we have to sometimes work over walls to move things from one place to another.

He's given me copies of 4 of his CDs, and permission to use them. I don't extend this permission to pass them on others, but I can sell you any at 99 cents a tune and share the proceeds with Randon.  

This Mission to Mars video uses a couple of his pieces.

Ron Vreeland posted on 3/31/06 that he was freely offering some of his pieces for general use.... from his bobsongsmusic website. I downloaded a couple.

Sam Fox Moving Picture Music... provides a nice set of 23 midi files... piano pieces of music from the early days of moving pictures.

The Turning - one of the members of this local band gave me copies of a few of their CDs, with permission to use them in projects. I've extracted segments that are particularly good for movies and stories, and use them regularly.

Many of my contacts for music and video come from years of hanging out evenings at our local Barnes & Noble bookstore. Little by little you meet the artists and their friends. When they learn about what you do, some offer material freely, and others pull back and guard it closer. Go with the flow.

The Turning is interesting from a copyright standpoint in that the band no longer exists. The members went separate ways after a few years of being together, as often happens with bands. When together they were more interested in their art than in administrative things like copyright... I consider an informal note on a CD jacket, combined with face to face discussion, sufficient permission to continue using the material.

Urge - slot it like Napster... items for personal listening, not for movie and story projects. It's another folder in my main music library, but not in my MM1 collection.

Wired Magazine... included an innovative audio CD in their Nov 2005 issue... music you could freely use up front from top line artists. I haven't followed the experiment, but feel free to continue to use the pieces on the disc.

There's one used in this Photo Story of London

When I checked the instruction manual for Allie's keyboard for copyright info, things not only looked good, but the manual pointed to downloadable files from Yamaha.... Yamaha Midi Files... I got 13 zipped files with 134 midi files, a combo of tunes and keyboard sound effects.

Here's one of them, descriptively named cl40xg... I played the midi file in WMP, captured it as a wma narration file in MM2, trimmed it on the timeline, and saved it as an average CD quality audio file. Here's what came out.


"Free" Music Download Sites

Some websites offer free music to download... and many don't read the fine print. Let's look at one example,  FreePlayMusic.... a site noted in many posts in response to someone looking for music that is free to get and use.

The fine print says it is free to use 'depending on usage'... the items of interest to us are:

If you are using Freeplay Music for:

10. Internet - Website Use (to promote a business, product, service or club)
11. Personal Website Use (Non-Commercial)
13. Greeting Cards / Email Greeting Cards / Email Brochures
14. Podcasting
15. Film Festivals / Competitions
16. Religious Use (most)
17. Non-Profit (most)

Then Freeplay Music requires a signed license agreement and a license fee payment as described in the Freeplay Music Rate Card . An example is a personal (individual, noncommercial) internet usage... $100 for a year per 4 minutes of use per piece used. Another example is $25 for a 4 minute podcast background music

FreePlayMusic is often mentioned in posts as being a great place to get sound files.


Look a bit more and you'll see this

FindSounds - Copyright Policy

Few websites offer files that are both free to download and royalty free to use.

The above covers music and audio files... don't forget the audio track of your video files. Your camcorder tapes, and downloadable and freely usable files from places such as  the Internet Archive offer you lots more source material. The audio track is easy to rip off the video and add to your audio library.

The Internet Archive also has music that has been contributed for open use... check it out.

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

Not being in the copyright law business, and trying to adhere to the requirements, it gets difficult at times to understand and follow the rules. When you use your camcorder, there's an inherent risk in using it in most places.

I had a one hour 'chat' once with a lawyer who represents the music industry... and it was at the reception of a wedding at which I was the videographer. No, I didn't ask him to sign a paper giving me the right to include him in my videos. If I took all his suggestions to heart, I'd of had to pack up my camcorder and forget the rest of the evening, and never produce those wedding videos for the bride and groom. But, as it was like going a steady 61 in a 60 mph zone, I accepted the risk and went on.

I won't encourage you to break any laws.... just cheer you on when you make amazing projects. 

Have a great week!!


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 as submitted questions are minimal.  Maybe Vista will perk it up a bit.

Do Amazing ThingsBooks

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

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.

Magazines - MaximumPC

The latest is an article for a soon-to-be-published issue about Vista ... in the final stages of preps and printing. It'll be about the movie making process from camcorder tape to viewing a standard video DVD.

A 7 page tutorial about Photo Story 3 was in the 2006 Summer Special edition.

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

The 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.


Movie Maker and Photo Story - - the site's goals are: doing amazing things, providing a detailed tutorial for PhotoStory 3, and helping you solve Movie Maker problems.

It's been expanded to include the version 6 of Movie Maker in Vista, along with the new Photo Gallery and DVD Maker apps.

PhotoStory 2 - - a detailed tutorial about using the earlier version. It's been a long time since I've updated anything on it, but it still gets pretty good viewer traffic.

Online Support - Forums and Newsgroups

I'm a regular or moderator 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/Photo Story newsletter. The subscription is $20 for 52 issues, and a link to subscribe is on the main page of or the Products and Services page.

Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):

#138 - Feb 17 - (open)

#139 - Feb 24 - (open)

#140 - Mar 3 - (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 , including the new packages for Vista, 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 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. Many of the video samples for newsletter are on it.

Normal sized photo stories stream as well as or better than movies.



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:

Feb 22, March 29, April 19 and May 17

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 website for samples of what you can expect for the online portion of a package.

2007 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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