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PapaJohn's Newsletter #138

Vista - Using Other Apps - Part 1

So far my writings about Vista have been about features included in the operating system such as Movie Maker, Photo Gallery and DVD Maker. Now, with the rest of the world having the final release version, I'm starting to install my usual apps and see if and how well they work.

From what I read... mostly posts on newsgroups and forums, one could easily conclude that the whole roll-out isn't going very well. But I know from years of looking at posts that the far majority are made by those with problems. The silent majority is too busy enjoying the software to be posting.... maybe!!! There's really no way for me to know.

One way to check it is to go to the community of users who aren't posting individually, but collectively in a Wiki...

When XP came out, wikis weren't around. Today it may be the best way to gauge what software works on Vista.

I like wikis. I just started reading the book 'Wikinomics', and am getting involved in more and more wiki-type things, TripAdvisor being one of them. Hopefully I'll have a wiki-like page or segment on my website someday.

Here's a snapshot to the top of a wiki page... the picture is also a link to the page itself. It's a long and growing list from the community of users, sorting software into...

  • ones that work (42 in the video section)
  • those with problems, but they can be solved or are minor and unsolved (one in the video editing section)
  • those currently with heavy problems (5 in the video section)

42 of 48 video related apps with a positive note gives Vista a rating of 88%

Wiki Page

... here's the snapshot, and the link to the video section in it... the section that lists the 42 apps that work

Wiki - Video

From the comment after it, Pinnacle seems to be out of place.... and up high in an alphabetical list??? Wiki's aren't perfect.

I've tried about 42 apps of my own so far... with 69% of them working. The rest of the newsletter will be about them.

... pause for a few notes...


Stories with Animation...

I notched the stories with animation up a bit more... to the level of playing the animated segment at 10 pictures per second. Click the picture of the jellyfish to see the 2 minute story.

Compare what you see to the graph of the bitrate needed to play it smoothly. The average bitrate for the video stream is only 150 Kbps (attribute at lower left), but the bitrate for the jellyfish animation portion is up at the 4.4 Mbps level, the bitrate of a video DVD... the file is about 20 MB, pretty big for a Photo Story of 2 minutes.

I'm glad the limit for pictures in a story is 300... this is pushing things to where it's more efficient to use a movie codec than it is to use a story one. But it makes for a great conversation piece when talking to anyone who understands what you're talking about.

Jellyfish Story Bitrate

Vista Corner...

Vista has some new tools to help you assess things. Here's one that fits with this week's subject. Get to the Reliability Monitor by using Start > Right click on Computer > Manage > System Tools > Reliability and Performance > Monitoring Tools > Reliability Monitor.

I'd been creeping up to a reliability index of 9.45 (of a perfect 10) when I jogged things pretty hard this week by throwing a bunch of apps at Vista to see how they work. Here's the picture when I select my low point day of Feb 13th.

Reliability Monitor

It seems to bounce back pretty good from anything I throw at it.

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

the Software I Tried

To be totally unfair about this wave of testing, I went into my software library and used whatever version I had last downloaded. I didn't go to the websites to see if there was a newer version that works on Vista.

Most of the things that I tried from my software toolbox work as is. Here's my first rundown, 42 apps in alphabetical order. The 13 names in red didn't work

  • 3gpToRawAvi - convert phone 3gp files to .avi - works
  • Anim8or - v0.9 doesn't work
  • Audacity - works
  • AviSynth - works
  • Be Sweet - convert Dolby AC-3 files to WAV... I don't need the tool in Vista because Movie Maker handles Dolby AC-3 files without conversion.
  • BeSweet Wizard - fails to start because MSVBVM50.DLL isn't found... as I don't need Be Sweet, I don't need the wizard.
  • Check Codecs - works
  • Credit Maker - v1.0a doesn't work
  • Dazzle80 - driver installed successfully - it didn't show up in Movie Maker as a capture option, but an S-Video connection let me capture the video track using VirtualDub... but an attempt to capture both video and audio resulted in my second total Windows crash (both having to do with capturing audio).
  • DLL Explorer - v3.0 gave an error message when registering the DLL... resulting in the message 'class not registered'
  • Drum Roll - opens but don't see or hear it
  • DVPlayer - doesn't work... it's a utility to check that a computer can handle Pixel Shader 2.0... it also crashes when I open it on my XP system.
  • Find Text... a DOS based tool from the early days of Norton Utilities - works
  • Font Viewer - works
  • GSpot - v2.60 RC01 opens but doesn't interact with codecs... this one I use a lot, so I downloaded the latest version... same problem.
  • IconSaver - works
  • Illusionae - works
  • IfanView - works
  • LAME - audio MP3 encoder - works... tested with Audacity
  • LSMaker - works
  • Movie Maker 1 - doesn't work
  • MP4Cam2AVI - works
  • MPEG Streamclip - needs QuickTime installed first, not included in Vista.
  • Office Ultimate 2007 - works
  • Panasonic DV Codec - works
  • - works
  • Painter X - works
  • Personal database - works
  • Photo Story 3 - doesn't work
  • Process Explorer - works
  • RadVideoTools - works
  • Render Soft VRLM Editor - works
  • Salamander - works
  • TMPGEnc - works
  • Total Commander - works
  • Transition Maker 2 - doesn't work. Currently we (Patrick Leabo and I) don't have plans to make a Vista version
  • Tree Size - works in a very limited way, as access restrictions prevent it getting info from protected folders
  • TweakPS - doesn't work
  • VDubMod - works but crashes at times... but it does the same on XP
  • Virtual Dub - works
  • WinDV - copy DV-AVI files from and to a DV camcorder via firewire - works
  • WMMUtil - 0.4.3 doesn't work

Some apps didn't seem to install or work the first time... but on a second attempt and forever afterwards they worked fine. I like it when they go in that direction.

I had a funny experience with RadVideo Tools. It installed, opened, and seemed to be working. But when I pressed the 'Convert' button of the first test, the mouse cursor froze and the conversion didn't start. I went as far as rebooting the computer... but the cursor was still frozen. It's a cordless mouse and it turned out the battery had died the instant I pressed the 'Convert' button.

In addition to some software not working, I've had compatibility issues with discs.... a DVD made with MyDVD in XP can't be read on my Vista system... in it's disc drive. But I reach across my network to the disc drive on my XP laptop with no problems playing or using the files.

My home networking with Vista has been working great... I use a Linksys router/switch with some computers hard-wired to it and others connected wireless. Moving files to and from Vista is easy. 

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

This is just the beginning for Vista... too early for any conclusion... just reading posts and other info, and testing my own system.

One of things coming up is the MVP Summit at Microsoft in March. It'll be a good time to pickup on the buzz about Vista at Microsoft. After Seattle, we'll stop in Carmel, California on the way home for a little vacationing.

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):

#139 - Feb 24 - (open)

#140 - Mar 3 - (open)

#141 - Mar 10 - (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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