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Using Photo Story 2

PapaJohn
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PapaJohn's Newsletter #153

the Quest to Edit an Audio Track...


As the audio editing features in Movie Maker and Photo Story are minimal to none, wouldn't it be great if, after saving and listening to your completed video, you could...

  • use your file manager to drag the saved movie or story and drop it into an audio editor without having to rip the audio first or do any audio file conversion
  • fix the snaps, crackles and pops... and enhance the good sounds to be even better
  • put the fixed and enhanced audio into the original video file without having to go back to Movie Maker or Photo Story

Does that seem more of a wild dream than a reasonable quest? I'm looking at half a dozen audio utilities and using that scenario to check them. If they can't do all of that, what can they?

So far Sony's Sound Forge is my benchmark app. I can get all the way through the quest when it comes to a movie in WMV format... I don't need to go back to Movie Maker as Sound Forge re-renders the movie with the new audio track in it. For a story, it can render it to a video WMV file, but not a story WMV file, but if I really want a story file rendered with the image codec, I need to take the new audio file back to the PS3 project and re-render it from there.

Sound Forge is the high-end app in the group, priced at $299.96... if it's beyond your budget, use the free trial like I'm doing for a fun experience and a taste of what's possible.


I started off making a test one minute movie project, and a one minute story, each using the same set of still pictures and audio file for background music. The video was terrible, and the audio had lots of pops and cracks, the kind you either discard or edit.

I got 3/4 of the way there, but ran into an old issue. The movie project was first, and finished fine, saving it to a DV-AVI file. Then I used TMPGEnc to rip its audio to a .wav file for the story project. I figured by doing it that way, I'd have the same audio in both projects.

But Photo Story reminded me of one of its restraints, and jogged me back to thinking about on old Movie Maker issue about the audio sample rate... as this newsletter is about audio, it's worth the flashback.

Photo Story 3 Error Message

Newsletter #113 was about the actual sample rate of the audio track a DV-AVI file versus what was being reported by Movie Maker. Was it 32 kHz in the file and resampled to 48 by Movie Maker, or was Movie Maker off-base in it's reporting of the file property?

I had finished that newsletter with an 11th hour flash from Microsoft about the reporting by Movie Maker probably being in error, and there's really no up-sampling going on.

As Sony's Sound Forge is the benchmark app for this week, I'll use it as another check.

  • Sound Forge says the DV-AVI file from my camcorder is 48 kHz... versus MM2 reporting 32 kHz.
  • A short clip from the DV-AVI source file, saved as a DV-AVI file by MM2, shows as 48 kHz in both MM2 and Source Forge. As a referee, Sound Forge is agreeing with Microsoft... no upsampling is going on, just that for some reason Movie Maker thinks my camcorder DV-AVI files are 32 kHz. Here's a composite of some of the things I looked at, along with a peek at the Sound Forge app.

SampleRate Issue

Ripping OptionsI used Source Forge to open the 48 kHz wav file that PS3 rejected. Then saved it as a new wav file, selecting one that would work in Photo Story 3... the highlighted one at 44.1 kHz.


Photo Story accepted the new file... I then had the sample movie and story to use for the rest of the newsletter. With different sample rates, they weren't exactly the same audio tracks, but close enough. Here are the links...

Sample Movie - with ugly audio

Sample Story - with ugly audio

Here's an amusing side note.... the profile I first used to render the sample story had settings of 48 kHz, 16 bit, stereo... WMA 9.2. So it can dish out 48 kHz of wma audio, but can't accept it from a wav file.

I made a custom story profile to keep it at the 44.1 kHz rate, to align with the processed wav file coming back later. I don't want to re-sample it any more than needed.

Before taking the ugly audio into Sound Forge for some fixing, here are...

... a few notes...


Notes...

iTunes

The properties of the Kenny Rogers video special I mentioned last week says it's 'Protected', which makes it not free to use even though it was zero in cost...

From the iTunes Help file: "The iTunes Store also offers songs without DRM protection, from participating record labels. These DRM-free songs, called "iTunes Plus," have  no usage restrictions and feature higher-quality encoding." Their description typically includes "Non-commercial projects use our music for free", which makes them open for our personal non-commercial usage.

Vista Corner

I find myself not using my Vista system for anything except testing... and my XP systems work well for my production needs. But my HP laptop ran into a new issue in the battery not connecting with the computer, so it's on AC power or nothing. That has me thinking of a new low-end 'backup' laptop to use in case the HP needs to go to a repair shop. And my preference would be that the new one have Vista.

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


Sound Forge

Sony says it's the industry standard for professional audio editing, processing, and mastering on the PC platform. I downloaded the free trial version to take a closer look for this newsletter.


Installation

The install went well... it said at one point it needed the Microsoft MSVC80 Runtime Redist, and before I could figure out what that meant, it took care of installing it. I also opted for a Noise Reduction Plug-In.

It won't let you use the trial without registration, so I finished with that.


Main Working Window

Working Window

Opening files...

I'll open Sound Forge and try to drag and drop the sample movie and story, using my Total Commander file management utility.

Having Sound Forge accept the two files without me having to rip the audio from them would have been good. But it went beyond that...

It provided a timeline viewer for the video track in addition to the wave pattern view of the audio.

As you listen to the sound track, the thumbnails for the video track actually play... as small but full video animations, not just static thumbnails.

You can see in the image at the right that you can have multiple videos open in different windows.


Fixing Audio

It was fun just watching them play... but it's time to move on to check audio editing features.

My interest is two-fold..

  • removing problems like excessive snaps, crackles and pops
  • adding some kind of special effect to enhance it

Tools MenuI browsed the main and sub-menus... eyeing one option for click and crackle removal. I almost had the technical term right.

I ran that a couple times, along with the noise reduction option. Then I tweaked settings in the Process > EQ > Graphic... the traditional graphic equalizer.


My adjustments were experiential, not planned... tweak a setting and preview what it did.

The app is great for providing a preview button at each step of the way, and the preview starts instantly. Clicking OK after a preview folds the changes into the project file.

As usual with working projects, do a 'Save as' to start one, and save it as needed... it'll be a small .frg file.

Look at these options in the Click and Crackle Removal dialog window... things like 'remove lots of crackle'... I think I can relate to this technology if I study it a bit more, maybe because I'm old enough to remember what 78 RPM records were and how they sounded.

Click and Crackle Removal Options

When the 'fixing' is done, it's time to consider 'enhancing'.


Enhancing Audio

Reverb OptionsI tried the Effects > Reverb window. Here's the working window for this feature, with its list of reverberation modes.

I went with the warm ambiance option. The OK button applies it to the project file.


Saving the New File

When ready to save it the project to a new file, here's the list of file types offered... which includes the .wmv video type.

Save As Choices

Pick the WMV choice and it then offers a list of built-in templates... going a bit deeper, you can select anything from low quality 28.8 Kbps video suitable for low quality dial up phone connections to 1080 high definition with 5.1 surround sound. That's quite a range.

WMV Choices

The rendering went fine for the movie... the fixed file online was rendered with Sound Forge, not Movie Maker.

For the story, ErrorI tried setting up a new profile that used the same image codec as Photo Story 3.

I felt good about getting this error message... it isn't perfect!!... it had already exceeded my expectations as an audio editing app. Rendering a story would have been too much. I'm guessing the error is due to my telling it to use the image codec.

To continue for the story, I did what I expected to up front, saving the new audio track as a wav file and using it to replace the one currently in the story project.


Replacing the Story Audio...

In this case it was a simple matter of opening the story project, deleting the existing background music file, and adding the new wav file.

A more complex case would be to replace an audio track of a story that also includes computer generated music and narrations... a bit more complex but easily done unless you've added narrations to most of the pictures in a story with hundreds of them.


The links to the staring files are in the newsletter opening. Here are the links to the finished sample clips. The audio in them is much less ugly... not near as good as it could be if I were to do more work on them, but hopefully enough for you to notice the big differences.

Note that the fixing/enhancing of the movie and story files were done in different sessions... to exercise the process a couple times. It was pretty easy but I'm sure it won't pass the ears of discerning audiophiles.

As mentioned above, the movie was re-rendered by Sound Forge, not Movie Maker. Of course Sound Forge didn't support my changing the title text. I'd need to return to Movie Maker to do it.

And the revised story was re-rendered with Photo Story 3.

Fixed Movie

Fixed Story


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

The reason for using Sound Forge for this exercise was to help me calibrate myself... is my quest reasonable or a wild dream that should be filed for some time in the future. With the positive results, I'm holding onto the quest.

From downloading through installation and testing, I had no issues with Sound Forge. It's a great product. Unfortunately the trial will expire in a couple weeks.

I'm involved with a couple Internet-based startup ventures that are not live yet... one in the tech support space and the other in software reviews. Something I'm currently thinking about is how to rate software... I have 2 main criteria so far... (1) how well does it do what its own marketing claims it will? I don't think it's fair to compare one app against others unless they both claim to do the same things, and (2) does it adhere to commonly accepted user interface expectations? I have a number of expectations that I'm making a list of... thinks like dragging and dropping files into the app.

Have a great week and enjoy your video work...

PapaJohn


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

Windows Movie Makers.net

Have a great week...

PapaJohn

Movie Maker, Photo Story 3, DVD Maker, Expression Media - www.papajohn.org
Photo Story 2 - www.papajohn..org/PhotoStory2/PS.html


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 www.papajohn.org ), published by Microsoft Press...

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

Learning 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.

Virtual Dub

A large percentage of book sales are of electronic copies. The Packt Publishing Website page  for the book provides a full table of contents and chapter summaries... and a link to a full free online copy of Chapter 3, Capture Preprocessing.


Magazines

MaximumPC

A six page article Making Movies with Vista was in the Spring 2007 Special Edition (page 78). It covered the movie making process from camcorder tape to viewing it on a standard video DVD.

The 2006 Summer Special edition included a 7 page tutorial about Photo Story 3.

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.

Microsoft Home

I had been interviewed by phone by someone doing an article about Movie Maker for an upcoming Microsoft Home magazine article. An editor called the other day to check some things... I guess it'll be out soon... probably in the June issue.


Websites

Movie Maker and Photo Story - www.papajohn.org - 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 - www.papajohn.org/photostory2/PS2.html - 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

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

Windows Vista newsgroup - microsoft.public.windows.vista.music_pictures_video

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

Photo Story 2 newsgroup -  microsoft.public.plus

Photo Story 3 newsgroup -  microsoft.public.windowsxp.photos


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  www.papajohn.org or the Products and Services page.

Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):

#154 - June 16 (open)

#155 - June 23 (open)

#156 - June 30 (open)

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

Drop an email to suggest a newsletter subject...


Software

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


Music

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 about how to use 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.


Training

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

Classes will resume at the end of summer, when schools re-open. We'll be re-inventing the topics offered, as the subject of Movie Maker doesn't draw very many... maybe topics such as making and uploading videos to YouTube, and vacation videos to Trip Advisor... using Movie Maker as the tool rather than the primary subject.


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 www.papajohn.org

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story training and support services start at $75 per hour - send an email -  PapaJohn@CharterMi.net 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 Microsoft.com
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 www.PapaJohn.org. 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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