Windows Movie Maker tips, tutorials, forums and more...

Visit the Windows Movie Maker forums

Community Forums

Getting Started
Learn Movie Maker 2
Capture Video
Improve Video Capture
Saving Projects

Editing Video
Video Editing
Video Trimming
Video Effects
Using Transitions

Adding Sounds
Adding Music
Adding Narration
Multiple Audio Tracks
Controlling Volume

Taking Pictures
Making Slideshows
Advanced Titles
Photo Story 3

Exporting Movies
Saving Movies
CD-Rom Backup
Create a DVD

More Articles
All Articles
Movie Maker 2 Review
Movie Maker Tutorials
What are Codecs?
Streaming Video
Create a Movie CD
Using Photo Story 2

MM2 Newsletter Archive

Download Windows Media Player 11

Digital Media BooksView Books about Digital Media

PapaJohn's Newsletter #157

A Video Perspective of Summer Sports

It's summer... time for outdoor fun... and taking pictures and videos of outdoor fun. We've been going someplace about twice a week, and on days we stay home there's an hour walk with our cameras.

With five grands who take turns entering the sport-of-the-year club, there's never a weekend without something to take videos of. Last week included our first to a Justin baseball game. At 8 going on 9, he's our youngest grand. 

It's not that much of a challenge taking video and making movies that look better than the games themselves. Pack the highlights of a two hour game into the 10 minutes of a YouTube flick and it's easy to make an enjoyable video... at least for close family and friends. At this age it's not important who wins or loses... they are all so cute.

Start with the camera... the subject, the viewing, the zoom... lots of things come into play. I'll go through some of them in this newsletter in the hopes that reflecting on them will reinforce them for me, and help some of you.

In the post-game editing room of my laptop, I used HitTheBongo's Brady Bunch script to do the opening 60 second clip... followed by 9 minutes of the same but full-sized clips. For shooting I had one constraint, the script is made for standard sized videos, so I shot in 4:3 aspect ratio. And for editing, the 10 minute maximum length of YouTube provided the other constraint.

Here are links to two copies of the same video

my website - for higher quality

YouTube - to be 'with it' - for Justin and his friends

I took 18 frame snapshots from the finished movie to make suggestions about the shooting and editing.


Before getting into details, here are...

... a few notes...


1&1 Website Host

I've been wrestling with website space for many months, if not ever since I moved my site to the 1&1 service. The problem is that my ftp uploads hit a ceiling and stop, most of the time in the middle of a file. Sometimes there's a note about not having enough space, but most of the time it's just a cryptic error message about the transfer failing, with no reason.

I'm currently using about 2-1/2 GB of space and my account has a limit of 300 GB... that's how big the problem is.

I got an email this week that offers some hope... it says...

... due to necessary hardware upgrades in our data centers... we are moving your account to our new state-of-the-art data center located in Kansas. The move will occur on July 10, 2007 between 12 am and 6 am EDT.  

They also said I had to go cold-turkey for the 6 hours of the move, not able to update it.

ImageGallery Folder

One of the things I'll enjoy with the elbow room is posting to a new ImageGallery folder. I kicked it off with these 3 pictures from our trip to Chicago the other day. There's one shot of the outside of 'The Bean', a polished stainless steel sculpture by Anish Kapoor, and two of the inside.

These smaller pix are links to the original 10.2 megapixel sized pictures (3872 x 2592 pixels) taken with a Nikon D40x, a digital SLR that I've been checking out and enjoying... great camera!!!!

Feel free to download and use them in your story and movie projects. I put my URL in corners for usual ownership reasons, but located to easily work around.

Bean 1

Bean 2

Bean 3

the Apple Store in Chicago

After taking pix of the Bean, we walked up Michigan Avenue and stopped at the Apple store, where I played a little with a new iPhone. That didn't take long as they were there to fondle, but not to go  online or make calls. While there, I walked around and checked what everyone was doing on the many computers setup for demo. One common theme was watching videos on YouTube.

There's a new Garmin store close to the Apple store... its GPS gadgets are more interesting to me than the iPhone. As I was writing this tonight Olivia, one of our grands, called.... on a new iPhone our son Chris has. He loves it!!! 

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

the Ball Game

The are many rules of thumbs for taking pictures, such as rule of thirds... which I won't get into. It's a matter of making each shot interesting by not having a single object in the middle of the frame. Let's go through my thoughts about the scenes with the above snapshots. The shots are not random, they were shot that way by plan.

Preplanned straight lines

Snapshots #1, 2, 3 and 4 all show shots where the action is along well established lines.... baseball and horseshoes are great for having such structured paths.

The straight lines from base to base make it easy to be positioned to shoot the action without having to either pan or zoom. Most of the time there isn't any real action, but you can be there shooting when there is. The same holds true for the line from pitcher to batter.


#4 and 6 show how to use chain link fencing for interest. Most of the time I was staying clear of the fencing, easy to do because the links are big enough to let the camcorder shoot through with an unobstructed view.

Sometimes I'll back up just enough to let a single link of the fence be the frame for a scene, as in #5. Then in #6 I used two fences, the closer for framing, and the farther one for visual interest.

Use Manual Focus.... not automatic

At any kind of ball game I set the focus manually. Zoom all the way into what you want to focus on, set the focus there, then shoot as usual.

The fencing would play havoc with auto focusing. So would the batter take the focus away from Justin when he was pitching, when I have both batter and pitcher in a tight visual line.

Action in Groups

#6, 7 and 11 each show groups of people... a team in the dugout, both teams at the closing, and the fans.

It's good to keep shifting from one extreme to another... a single player or two to a group... a tight in shot versus a wide view.... shots with lots of motion, and those without. If the action gets too stiff you can add custom effects or transitions in the editing.


I don't pan at a ballgame. I choose either a player or the ball and follow it. The background is automatically panning faster than you would ever do it manually as the scene unfolds. I try to keep the camcorder focused on whatever it is I picked to take the shot.


Like panning, I don't usually zoom. The computer editing can zoom steadier than I can. But, as with all suggestions, rules are meant to be broken at times, as long as the breaking doesn't become the rule.

On the other hand, I take lots of scenes tightly zoomed in. #16 is the view of the pitching/batting action taken from beyond the outfield. #18 shows Justin's foot on first base, zoomed into from my position behind the batter.

I have the digital zoom feature turned off and only go as far as I can with the optical one.

#17 is a close-up of Justin's face... a moderate zoom from where I was.

Get some footage from the Back

#8 and 9 show Justin and another team-mate in the dugout bench from the back. Views from behind can imply a strong story to a viewer... maybe one that is better than the reality of the subject.

Justin wears #24 on his shirt.... the pair of 24/7 had some meaning. There were a few times I was shooting #24 from behind, only to find it wasn't Justin.... it's funny that two of them on the team wear the same number.

Slow Motion

Any sport-related video can use a shot or two of slow motion. The Slow Down - Half effect is perfect for it. I used it on the clip of Justin on the sideline preparing to hit, and again on the scene #2 of him scoring from 3rd on a walked batter.

Sports IllustratedTake Still Pix

#10 shows a virtual Sports Illustrated cover as the titling effect as part of the Brady Bunch 60 second opening script... it's also used by itself at the end of the 10 minute video.

My camcorder can take 2 megapixel snapshots. But Bernadette was there using a 7 megapixel camera. She's the Photoshop guru who made this magazine cover from one of her shots.

No, he hasn't pitched a no-hitter... but he likes pitching. I saw an article the other week about major league pitchers starting at younger ages, so the headlines fit with current stories.

I used IrfanView and to convert the large cover file to an 800x600 PNG file for use in the Brady script.

an Opening Clip...

A Photo Story with added text makes a great opening clip for any project... for this video I went further and used the Brady Bunch Avisynth script made by Al HitTheBongo. I tested the script a couple weeks ago and was primed for using it as a real opening clip.

                    Brady Bunch Script

I used the script as downloaded, opening it in VirtualDub, adding the resize filter to make the output 720x480 pixels, and saving it to a new DV-AVI file using the Panasonic codec for compression.

Frame snapshots #11, 12 and 13 are from the script segment. To summarize again what's happening: you open the script in VirtualDub (or other video app that accepts it... Movie Maker won't) and use it the same way you use a single video input file. Avisynth, running in the background in stealth mode (the only way it works) reads the script and puts all the pixels together from the assorted video clips, handing the pixels to VirtualDub, one frame at a time. Avisynth is a 'frame server'.

This opening again demos how powerful such a 'frame server' utility can be... if you have a neat script like Al's.

The Bunch of Projects

For the script, I made 24 projects of 30+ seconds each... more than I needed so I had different ones to choose from. I saved each project to a DV-AVI file.

These clips did double-duty. Many were used by script to make the opening scene... and they were all used as full-sized clips for the final assembly.

The Final Assembly

My goal was to have a copy of the finished video on my website, and another on YouTube. That gave me one restraint... keep below YouTube's maximum of 10 minutes... it's 9:57.

I used the Video for LAN (768 kbps) setting, my usual for videos on my website. Rather than re-render it with my custom Video for YouTube profile, I uploaded the same 57 MB file and was surprised how quickly YouTube converted it to a Flash file ready for viewing. It took only about 5 minutes after the upload. 

For the batch of projects and the final assembly, I used some special transitions and two special effects, the slow down - half used in two of the clips. Some well-placed PIP transitions can do lots for a sports themed video. Snapshot #14 shows one of them, using a Pixelan PIP transition.

The background music isn't quite what I had in mind. As often happens, it's the last thing into the mix and you're ready to roll out it out for the initial showing. I lowered it's volume relative to the sounds of the video clips a bit more than usual.

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

This video went online a couple days ago and viewers' comments are starting to roll in. Of course they all love it, at least family and close friends, the only ones who really count for something like this family home video.

You can't put this much effort into a video of every game... but it's better to do a few of them a year well then to roll out batches of them not worth watching.  

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


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

Windows Movie

Have a great week...


Movie Maker, Photo Story 3, DVD Maker, Expression Media -
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

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.



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 (online magazine)

I was interviewed by phone for an article about Movie Maker for an upcoming Microsoft Home magazine  article.


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

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

Windows Vista newsgroup -

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):

#158 - July 14 - ULead's DVD Movie Factory

#159 - July 21 (open)

#160 - July 28 (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...


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 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.


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

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



Download more Movie Maker Effects!

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.