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PapaJohn's Newsletter #16 - Using VirtualDub (and NanDub).... including a usual mini-tutorial

About: This is a Primer on VirtualDub (and NanDub).... including a usual mini-tutorial.

If you don't have it yet, VirtualDub is a free download from

In this newsletter, I'll do two basic things with Virtual Dub

• check a video file for errors before doing anything else to it

• add my logo to the lower right corner of a video

What's NanDub? It's the same as VirtualDub, but a different software app that you need if you have files encoded with the XVID codec.... what VirtualDub does with many AVI files, NanDub does with XVID encoded ones. I won't go any further into it than that.... OK, maybe one step.... a link to download NanDub - from the Doom website at

If you haven't heard about or use XVID files, you don't need NanDub.

Before getting into it, here's a few notes about some things going on...


• The fairly new Setup > MM2.1 page of the site is up to date with issues I've seen posted about how MM2.1 is working in SP2. As you would expect, it resolves some issues for some and gives new issues to others.

I see a lot of people sitting on the fence waiting to see the fallout from the early adopters.... while the early users are reporting mostly positive experiences. At our house, we're up to having it on 5 computers now with no new problems on any of them.... and better performance in a number of areas.

• I've been having fun checking out the Creative Zen Portable Media Center, and started a blog about it... the blogs are accessed by the Online > Blogs page of my site, but here's a direct link to the one about the Creative Zen:

I made 6 sample videos for the blog to show what the Zen's viewing experience is like.... it's a great device.

One of the demo videos uses WMV-HD files from the dual disc High Definition disc sets... if you check only one of the sample videos on the blog, make it that one.... even though the PhotoStory sample looks almost as good.

Creative Zen Portable Media Center


The Zen's 20 GB hard drive (the minimum size unit - they will go larger too) can hold well over 100 hours of my Movie Maker and PhotoStory productions.... it doesn't look like I can fill it up. As you copy video files to it, WMP10 renders the copies as needed to align with the specs for the Zen to provide smooth playback.... 320x240 at 800 Kbps or less total bitrate.

....on to the topic of the week

About: VirtualDub

Per the opening paragraph of its website, VirtualDub is a video capture/processing utility. It lacks the editing power of a general-purpose editor such as Adobe Premiere, but is streamlined for fast linear operations over video. It has batch-processing capabilities for processing large numbers of files and can be extended with third-party video filters

VirtualDub is mainly geared toward processing AVI files, although it can read (not write) MPEG-1 and also handle sets of BMP images.

Mini-Tutorial: VirtualDub

I'll take a downloaded AVI file from the Internet Archives, check it for errors, and then add my logo to the lower right corner. That's enough to show you the basic steps when using VirtualDub.

1 - Open VirtualDub - and see a blank workspace with a pull down menu and VCR controls at the bottom.

Virtual Dub - Main Working Window

Virtual Dub - Main Menu

These simplistic looking opening windows can sometimes be the most intimidating.... what next?

2 - File > Open Video File - if you try to open a type 1 DV-AVI file, you'll get an error message ".... VirtualDub currently cannot extract the audio. Only the video stream will be available." So, if you want the audio too, convert type 1 files into type II first.

When opened in VirtualDub, you'll see something like this. The left window is the source file and the right one is a preview of the same frame of the output file.... both the same until you tell it to make a change.

VirtualDub - Video File Opened

File Opened

3 - From the main menu, use Video > Scan video stream for errors - to do a routine check of the file.

Scan Video File for Errors

Scan File for Errors

I just scanned this one, with almost 8,000 frames... it took about 15 seconds and reported no bad frames and none were noted as being 'good but undecodable' (whatever that means)... so my file is in good shape to work with. I'm all set to do something to it.

4 - Video > Filters > click the Add button - this is where you get to pick one or more of the neat things you want to do to the video clip.

Check the list of options. They include 'deinterlace', 'levels', 'resize' and rotate2 (any angle). Note that you can do a cropping with VirtualDub too.

Select any of them and a note at the bottom of the window will summarize what the filter will do.

When I select 'logo', it says it'll overlay an image over the video.

 Select a Filter

Apply Filter

You can select a number of different items and apply them all at once. I'll just do the one.

For a logo, you'll need to use a BMP or TGA image file.... the one I picked was a JPG so I used IrfanView to convert it to a BMP.

There are some tricky options like alpha blending, but I'll do an easy one, just pick an image and go with the defaults. I'm selecting the BR (bottom right) justification (position), moving it left by 10 pixels and up by 10 pixels, and Show preview (same button as the Hide preview one in the image below - it toggles between Show and Hide).

Select Logo and Position It

Select Logo

So I'm telling VirtualDub to add my logo to the position on the video as shown in the preview window. Click OK a couple times and move on.

5 - Use File > Preview filtered... to play it, viewing the original in the left monitor and the new one in the right monitor. Here's what I'm seeing as it previews the addition of logo on each frame. I took the snapshot as the train was passing frame 4,532 and looking good all the way.

 Logo Added - Preview

If you're happy with the preview, it's time to create the new file, starting with your choice of a compression codec.... or no codec.

6 - Video > Compression - you get to pick a codec. I've usually used Cinepak at 100% quality in the past, and my personal notes tell me to force a keyframe every 30 frames.... that's probably overkill....

Select Compression and Settings

Select Compression

In the future I'll probably go with the Microsoft Windows Media Video 9 option... as I'm getting to know more about it. Yes, you can use the Media 9 compressor to compress an AVI file!!!!

For shorter videos like this one, I tend to make them uncompressed if I'll be discarding them right after using them in Movie Maker.

7 - Use Video > Select Range... you can apply the effect to just some of the frames instead of all of them.... but I'll apply my logo to the full video, all 7,882 frames.

Frames to Process

Select Range

8 - File > Save as AVI... to do the rendering. With my codec (or no codec) choice and settings, I get warnings about the quality level being high and using an outdated compressor if I use Cinepak.

I don't mind the high quality or the outdated compressor, as I'll be using it as a source file in Movie Maker and discarding it afterwards.... but I'll go with uncompressed.

For those who like uncompressed files and can handle the file sizes, you don't need to pick a compression codec....

It took about 4 minutes for the logo to get applied to the complete video... I watched the input file in the window at the left and the output file at the right as it went along. Virtual Dub also provided this pop-up status window.

Status of Rendering


It rendered a new 1.8 GB uncompressed file.... large considering the source AVI file was 14 MB, but as expected for an uncompressed file. It looked and sounded great.

Here's the new file opened in VirtualDub... it's now the input at the left, with the logo on it.... I'm ready to do something else to it from the list of available filters.

New File Used as Input for the Next Change

Logo Applied

That's enough for this mini-tutorial... get an AVI file and play with the various options yourself.


VirtualDub is a great utility that compliments the work you do with Movie Maker. You saw how easy it was to put a logo on a clip. It's brother software package NanDub is the same for XVID encoded files.

For you programmers and geeks... here's an extract from VirtualDub's website:

Don't see a video filter you want? Write your own, with the filter SDK. VirtualDub has the capability to load third-party DLLs that include their own video filters. The filters that are built into VirtualDub use the same interface that is exported to DLLs, so you can write filters similar to or better than the included ones.  You can sample some of these at the third-party filters page; these range from corrective filters, such as noise reducers, to synthesis filters, such as the subtitler.  The basic interface is simple to work with: VirtualDub gives you a 32-bit ARGB bitmap to modify.

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

Have a great week... I'll be videoing a wedding this weekend - rehearsal dinner Friday and the wedding Saturday.... more footage is coming for new samples and future tutorials. And that's after the Chicago airshow last weekend.... I've been cranking out new camcorder footage lately.


Movie Maker 2 -
Photo Story 2 -

Products and Services

I'm involved in many things that support users of Movie Maker and PhotoStory, and adding more daily. Here's a list of what is available to the public. Some are free and others are reasonably priced.


Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things (with its online companion on

Movie Maker 2 - Zero to Hero (with support on the Friends of Ed forum at

The 14 hacks that I wrote for a new O'Reilly book about Windows Media Hacks are in the editing phase.

When ordering these books or anything else from Amazon, I'd appreciate you using the links on the main page of - I get some income from Amazon that way, and it doesn't cost you any more. It'll help keep most of my services free.


Movie Maker 2 - - two goals: to help you solve problems, and to be the online companion to the Do Amazing Things book... and currently thinking of another goal of movie making and editing styles.

PhotoStory 2 - - a full tutorial about using it. It's not a problem-solving site.

Online Support - Forums, Channels and Newsgroups

I'm a regular on many online forums and newsgroups, the main ones being:

Movie Maker 2 and PhotoStory 2 forums at

Movie Maker 2 forum at

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

PhotoStory items are covered at


Weekly Movie Maker 2/PhotoStory 2 newsletter. Subscribing is free via the link on the main page of

Tentative topics for upcoming newsletters (subject to change): A series of primers about utilities used in conjunction with Movie Maker and PhotoStory.

#17 - (Open - do you have any requests?)

Older newsletters are archived, with a few weeks delay, by Rob Morris at:


Transition Maker 2 (TM2) - a utility to make the ultimate in personal and custom transitions for Movie Maker 2:

TM2 is a joint effort by Patrick Leabo, the programmer, and myself.

I routinely beta test the Pixelan packages and think very highly of their people and products: Their SpiceFX packages of additional transitions and effects for Movie Maker 2 are available at:

Fee-based services:

If you can't save a movie because your project has become too complex, e-mail it to me and I'll divide it into manageable sub-projects for you, and provide detailed instructions to render the parts and assemble them into your final movie. $49.95 - for details, see the sidebar on the Problem Solving > Can't Save a Movie page of

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story 2 training and support services start at $50 per hour - email and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with you to plan and implement them.

PapaJohn's Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 Newsletter Index

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. To subscribe to PapaJohn's Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 newsletter click here: Subscribe to PapaJohn's Newsletter. 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.



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