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PapaJohn's Newsletter #165

Photo Story 3 to Silverlight

This week I'd like to take you through the steps to take a story from Photo Story 3 to an online embedded Silverlight player and see it playing on a typical website page...

Click the link or picture to view my sample... playing as a file download from my website.

Silverlight Player with Story

For this full-sized snapshot, I manually sized the browser to get the player and text positioned on the grid so they looked good. The player controls are a bit small, but you can use them. Just a short single line of html code was needed to embed the player and video in the web page.

The main steps are.

      1. Install and/or upgrade the trial version of the Expression Media Encoder (if you haven't already)
      2. Use the Encoder to convert a story to a Silverlight package... adding an overlay logo or frame
      3. Upload the package to a website
      4. Embed the Silverlight package in a standard website page

The Silverlight process can use wmv video files made by Movie Maker, but not stories made by Photo Story 3.... different codecs are used to make and play them. That's why we have to take the story through the Expression Media Encoder.

Let's go through the steps in detail, after...

... a note...


The forums of SimplyDVSimplyDV are back... having been closed from April 2nd to July 19th for a long holiday and face-lifting.

It's under the same owner Colin Barrett, and you may recognize a couple of the moderators (Graham Hughes and myself)...

As the forums at have almost all of today's forum traffic about Movie Maker, I look forward to helping reshape the parts of the forums that cover the broader sphere of Microsoft video and multimedia products.

Images can now be included in posts at SimplyDV... provided they not exceed 600x600 pixels in size, with a file size maximum of 60 Kb.

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

1. Setup the Expression Media Encoder

Stories are compressed with the Windows Media image codec and can't be used in Silverlight packages, which needs wmv files compressed with a Windows Media video codec. You could use Movie Maker to convert the story, but for this exercise I'll use the Expression Media Encoder.


Get both the  Expression Media Encoder free trial (6.3 MB) and the update to it (1.3 MB).

Vista MenuThis fully functioning version will expire 30 days after installation unless you use the product key to extend it to 180 days. The key is provided with the Microsoft website info.

I downloaded fresh copies as I wrote this, and installed them on my Vista Home Basic laptop. Until now I'd only been using the Encoder on my XP laptop.

Install and Open...

The installation, followed by the update, went well using whatever the defaults were.

To open the Encoder use Start > All Programs > Microsoft Expression > Microsoft Expression Media Encoder... even easier in Vista is to just type a few letters such as 'enc' and select it from the short list of apps and files you'll see.

When prompted... enter the product key to extend the trial version from 30 days to 180. That'll get you well past the end of the year holidays, even if you procrastinate in putting your end of the year stories and movies online.

You're ready to make Silverlight packages.

2. Convert a Story to a Silverlight package...

I made a new story for the newsletter, a tweak of a Manarola, Italy story I'd previously made to use as the opening clip of one of my vacation movies.

I then dragged and dropped it from a file manager (Total Commander) into the Encoder. Drop it anyplace and it'll know where to go.

Here's a screenshot of my encoder session... ready to press the 'Encode' button that generates the Silverlight package. If you only wanted the video file, don't select a template. Choosing a template gets you the full package including the video wmv file. 

Expression Encoder Session

My story was widescreen, but with the frame around it I didn't want it letterboxed. I opted for the 'Stretch' mode in the Video Profile settings. Some distortion is acceptable and preferred to the letterbox black bars being part of the video under the overlying frame.

Add OverlayAdd Overlay... icon or frame

FrameThe encoder calls it an 'Overlay Icon' (see the above picture), but I use it for any sized overlay, up to full-frame images. For this sample I used a picture frame with its center cutout and made transparent (using It's a png file I use as an overlay in Movie Maker.

Uncheck the 'Maintain Aspect Ratio' in the 'Overlay' settings area. That lets you stretch it to full frame size... or any other size and position over the story.

Select a Silverlight template and Encode...

Be sure to pick one of the choices with RC at the end of its name, or it won't work in the latest Release Candidate version of Silverlight. The template provides the style for the online player. If your list doesn't include those with RC, then you have the Encoder but not the update.

Leaving most of the default settings as is, I pressed the Encode button...

Files to UploadIt took about 10 minutes to create the package of files in my default folder...

c:\Users\John\Documents\Expression\Expression Media Encoder\Output\TOSHIBANOTEBOOK 8-26-2007 2.16.32 AM

You don't need to understand what all these files are... just know that the wmv is the video file made from the story, and the Default.html file is the website page to open... or call on from another page.

Preview the Package...

If you open the wmv file it'll play in Windows Media Player as usual.

Get Microsoft SilverlightTo see it playing in a full-sized Silverlight package on a web page, open the Default.html file with your browser. Here's a link to my sample...

I got a Silverlight update message when first previewing... you'll probably also need an update, and your browser will need restarting after the update... quick and easy.

If you see only blackness in the player, check that the template you used included an RC extension. A template with the same name but without RC won't play in the latest Silverlight version. Re-render it with an appropriate template if needed. I know this because my first one was only blackness.

3. Upload the package...

To a website... any website. That's all you need for an online Silverlight experience... playable on Windows and Mac computers.

Beyond that, you may want to use someone else's video in an online Silverlight package, or embed your package in a website page with other things on it.

Downloaded files...

Where do the downloaded video files go? How do you get a copy?

The Silverlight player is using a wmv file, which is a file-download process. The file goes into a temporary Internet file folder.

XP - c:\Documents and Settings\PapaJohn\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\ContentIE5\(some random code)\(filename.wmv)

Vista - protection measures make access to the downloaded file a bit trickier... I couldn't browse to it or find it in a search when using Explorer or Total Commander

In Vista I got it by using the Internet Explorer 11 menu > Tools > Internet Options > General tab > Browsing history Settings button > View Files > sort by Type > change the sort order so it goes from Z to A > the Windows Media Audio/Video file type will be toward the top of the list > select the file and copy it to another more accessible folder.

4.  Embed the Silverlight Player in a website page...

Here's the total html code for my sample page... the Encoder did all the hard parts. All I needed to do to embed the Silverlight player with the story was to include an iframe in my website page.

My files are all in the same folder so I didn't have to tell it the path to the Default.html file.

Website page - html

You're seeing my typical html editing using Notepad... not pretty, just functional.

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

You must have detected by now that I have a pretty positive bias toward the new Expression Media Encoder. This newsletter adds another positive test sample to my experiences with it. I'm careful to do lots of testing before heavily investing (time and effort, not necessarily money) in a new software package.

What I can still use is some feedback from Mac users... can you view my Silverlight packages?

I have some experimenting ahead of me to learn more about how to best embed Silverlight players, sizing and positioning them on website pages.

We're taking off for a long holiday weekend of fun with one of our sons and his family... 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 Create a Ken Burns-Style Slideshow with 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 and others you'll recognize were interviewed for an article about Movie Maker for a  Microsoft Home magazine article... here's the link.


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


SimplyDV - for camcorder hardware and Apple, Windows, and any other video editing software. Include pictures in your posts to help explain them.

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):

#164 - August 25 (open)

#165 - Sept 1 (open)

#166 - Sept 8 (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



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