Last week I planned this newsletter to be about
MyDVD, but then I realized that Newsletter #11 had already covered it. That issue is on the
archive site, and anyone who was looking forward to reading about it in this one can get issue
#11 online at...
The replacement topic is a
'project collection'. What's that? It's one that
is project-specific and important enough to the project to back up with the MSWMM file.
Some of the wedding videos I've been working on need
to mix footage from 2 camcorders, one my older Hi8 and the other my newer mini-DV. I shot the
scenes of the wedding ceremony and the dancing at the recital party using both camcorders,
so I'm faced with putting them together and syncing the video footage of each clip with the
audio track. It's gotten me into 'project collections'.
I'll illustrate it using these 3 source files for
the recessional scene. I saved the audio track of the Hi8 camcorder as a WMA file - during the
recessional it was sitting on my backpack up close to the string trio, recording
the complete audio of the scene. While it was doing that, I was moving around with the digital
camcorder, starting and stopping it.... and even changing tapes at one point. The change of
tapes resulted in my capturing 'Digital 1' and 'Digital 2'.
Wedding Recessional - Source Files
What's the easiest way to mix the footage and
achieve the syncing? I'll explore that, with some insights into the value of a 'project
collection'. I'll work the editing process first from the perspective of the collection, and
then from the project timeline perspective.
Before getting into it more, a few notes about some
things going on...
• Here's another routine notice about my
changing from a free newsletter subscription to a paid one. I'll carry this notice for two
Issue #26 will be the last one
for the free subscriptions. See the main page of my
www.papajohn.org website to continue beyond that.
A paid subscription is for 52 issues, not
necessarily a calendar year... those subscribing before issue #27 will receive 52 issues beyond
#26. Subscribers after that will be for 52 issues.
One frustrated PayPal user wrote last
week, saying he'd tried about 8 times to place an order... if that's your situation or
prefer sending a check, send an email and I'll provide my real name and mailing address.
• After last week's issue, I wrote to
Microsoft about the limit of a Photo Story project file size being 300 MB. I also posted the
info to the microsoft.public.plus newsgroup..... I heard back from the MVP on the newsgroup that
there were reported problems with bigger stories, but there wasn't a known reason. He
appreciated the info. I haven't heard from Microsoft about the item.
• Dean Rowe provided this link in his blog....
...about how the MM2.1 version in Windows XP Digital
Media Edition 2005 works with DVD writing software.
....on to the
topic of the week
Working the Collection with the Project
What I mean by this is assessing and working with
the clips in the collections, but doing it with the help of the project timeline. The work done
here is needed to:
- Subdivide the
- Determine the
sync adjustments needed to precisely align the audio of the video clips with the sound track
- Determine which
clips need to be in sync with the sound track
The 3 Starting Clips
The properties of the audio
clip show its duration as 0:09:14.67. That's 9 minutes and 14.67 seconds. Some
video editing software split the second into frames rather than decimals of a second; Movie
Maker is different... it's totally time-based, not a mix of time and frames.
The audio clip starts with the minister saying 'All
Please Rise'. The bride and groom kiss at the 45 second mark. At 1 min and 15 seconds the guests
applaud as the recessional and music begins.
The string trio starts playing at 01:16:00 and
finishes at 08:13.95.... enough continuous background music for a 7 minute video of the
recessional. A musical piece often dictates the duration of the video, providing there's enough
good video to go with it.
The Digital 1 source file is 2:47.60 in duration and
Digital 2, which starts with the camcorder looking at my feet, is 3:12.73. The two combined are
6:00:33 versus the 9:14.67 of the audio clip. That means I was shooting digital footage 2/3 of
the time during this scene....
The sound track is the measuring device. In addition
to it having a linear time value at each point, the shape of the audio waves provide visual
feedback about what's happening and where you are in the project. See the waves at the 01:15.00
point of the project... that's when the guests started to applaud and processional began.
The Audio Tack - Measuring Ruler and Visual Guide
Aligning the Digital Clips to the Audio
Listening to the
Digital 1 clip showed that the start of the
applause was at 1:08.83.... that's 06.17 seconds before the same point on the audio track. There
were no stops and starts of the digital camcorder up to then. That means I'd need a filler clip
of 6.17 seconds on the video track to push the start of Digital 1 clip to the right and align it
with the sound track... My filler clip is a plain black still picture which you'll see me using
a lot in this tutorial.
Digital 1 didn't divide into sub-clips by stopping
and starting the camcorder. I'll be getting back to it later.
MM2 split Digital 2 into 9 clips when I had it do it
in the collection. The splitting was done analytically, by the stops and starts of the
camcorder, not based on visual scene changes.
Digital 2 Split into Clips by Movie Maker
Before trying to sync the 9 clips, I reviewed them
to provide descriptive names and decide if they really needed syncing with the audio track. The
results of this assessment are included in the clip names.
Only 1 of the 9 needed syncing, the one named
Digital 2-2. In the others, you could hear the string trio playing, but they were far enough
away from camcorder that the music was faint and in the background, enough so that
syncing wouldn't be critical or needed. The foreground audio far overshadowed the background
And I lucked out when determining the sync point...
the trio paused for 14 seconds between 2 pieces, for a long flat part of the wave patterns. They
started again at the same time I re-started the digital camcorder. A 26.07 second filler black
picture on the video track made things align. Video clip 2-2 starts at the 3:19.73 point of the
audio track. That's the sync point for the one clip of Digital 2 that needs it.
Aligning Video Clip 2-2 with the Audio Track
The work done so far with the clips in collections
was mostly analytical, letting Movie Maker auto-split the larger clips and detemining sync
Digital 2 - Collection Info
Note that the duration, starting and ending times of
the clips in the collection list are approximate, rounded off to the whole second. Looking at
the properties of the clips gives you the exact figures. Clip 2-2 has a starting point
at 0:00:15.88 and a duration of 00:18:05. I'll use the more exact figures as I work into the
Having this reference info throughout the remainder
of this project is important enough to warrant it being a 'project collection' and
backing up the collection database with the project file. It'll get even more important when we
go back to the Digital 1 file and split it manually.... we'll do that in the mini-tutorial
Mini-Tutorial: Working the
Project with the
The work done above in the collections was
mainly analytical. It's time to change mental gears and shift to the other side of the brain....
as we move the focus of the project from the collections to the timeline. We'll change to become
less analytical and more artistic.
Great movies are not the result of analysis. But
having the reference info needed to sync the video and audio tracks will allow your full
creative energy to be applied without fear of losing any of the analytical homework you've done
up to this point. If we didn't keep the collection info for reference, it would be easy to start
moving things around on the timeline and get into a situation where you have to reassess the
syncing points over and over.
Movie Maker doesn't include a feature to link a
video clip with a selected position on the sound track.
Subdivide the Clips in the
So far the clips in the collection were subdivided
at the start and stop points of the camcorder when shooting. The Digital 1 clip is still at its
original duration of 2:48, and 3 of the Digital 2 clips are over 20 seconds.
A personal guideline is that any clip over 15 to 20
seconds needs to be critically assessed and probably subdivided based on artistic discernment,
not analysis. If a clip is more than 15 seconds, I might be too personally attached to it
because I did the camcorder shooting.
By subdividing the clips in the collections
and renaming them to be descriptive, it's much easier to work them on the timeline. They are
easier to select, to position, to sync with the sound track, and to readjust later when adding
So it's back to the collections to subdivide the big
clips and assess them some more. This time around, the assessment is based more on artistic
taste.... does the clip fit into your vision of the video? If so, how? If not, tag it for
Working the Project.... with the Collection
The next picture shows a few things about the
Digital 1 source file and the developing timeline.
My artistic splitting of Digital 1 resulted in 18
clips... at first simply named with sequential numbers.
While splitting I was assessing each clip... adding
to the clip number some descriptive info which included the results of the assessment. 10 of the
18 were tagged with the disposition 'discard'....
they were out of focus, quick pans or zooms, accidental footage when I deliberately or
accidentally didn't turn the camcorder off, etc.... or maybe they just didn't fit in with
my vision of the finished video.
At this point the timeline stops being used to just
assess the sync points, and starts being used to build the project.
I replaced the unsplit Digital 1 clip on the
timeline with the 18 clips made from it.... yes, including those tagged for deletion. Then I
checked the ending point of the 18th sub-clip on the timeline to assure it ended at the same
time that the pre-cut clip did. It was exact to the hundredth of a second. All was still in sync
with the audio track.
Then I used a copy of the plain black still image to
replace each of the 10 clips that were tagged for deletion. I didn't reconsider; I just replaced
I put the black clip on the timeline in front of the
clip being replaced, adjusted the black clip by the trim handle to make it the same duration as
the clip being deleted, and then deleted the tagged clip behind it. By doing each that way, the
relative positions of all the clips that had audio should stay in sync with the audio track.
After replacing the discarded clips by copies of
the black image, it was time to do another check to ensure the ending point of the last clip was
still in sync. It was. I also previewed the entire timeline at this point, listening to the
audio of the video clips and the audio track play together....it's still too soon to mute the
audio associated with the video clips. The listening and watching showed all were aligned....
just had a bunch of black spaces to fill with something.
Digital 1 File - Split, Divided, Assessed, Moved
to the Timeline, and Tagged Clips Discarded
The rest of the editing is the artistic part and
up to you. We each have our personal style and vision of what we are trying to achieve with a
video. The short video of the recessional is one I'm currently working on. When it's done, you
can view it on my website.
I'll make just one comment about something I would
do. There's a lot of black video around the 3 minute mark. But there's also quietness on
the audio track in that area, as the trio paused between pieces. I'd remove most of the quiet
pause so the classical pieces move along one after the other. And to keep the video and audio
tracks in sync, I'd take an equal amount from the video track. First split the audio part, see
what duration is being removed, then split or trim an equal amount form.
If you prefer trimming to splitting and removing (I
do), then you can do it instead. Trim equal amounts from each.
That's one of the key things in this video....
maintaining the sync. At least until the bridal party goes back down the aisle. Beyond that the
need for continued syncing falls off as the guests all start leaving and no-one pays attention
to the string trio. With the need for sync finished, I'm free to arrange and use the rest of
the clips any way that works best.
The dance scenes at the wedding reception
party need syncing maintained throughout the videos. I have a few of the dance scenes on the
website already, and I'm using one of them for an in-dept tutorial I'm currently working on for
a major magazine.... I should be able to tell you more about it next week.
The set of wedding videos I'm working on are
the first ones in which I've had to integrate footage from two camcorders. As I work on them, I
find myself constantly rethinking the use and long-term value of a project-specific collection
I ran into significant time delays in opening Movie
Maker back in the days when I built one large collection database.... like my website menu. With
over 11,000 clips in the collections, it was taking almost 5 minutes for Movie Maker to open, as
it had to check each clip.
From there, I went into a routine of
building topical clip collections using MM1, importing them into MM2 projects as needed, and
discarding the project collection when the video was done.
Now, with the amount of effort I'm putting into
working some collections, and the continued need for the reference info they provide, I find
myself saving some collection databases as project files, in addition to the usual MSWMM project
I look forward to comments and discussion about
this and other newsletters on the forums at:
Have a great week...
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.
Books and Magazine:
Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things (with its online companion on
Maker 2 - Zero to Hero (with support on the Friends of Ed forum at
Movie Maker 2 -
www.papajohn.org - 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 SimplyDV.com
Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup at
PhotoStory items are covered at
Movie Maker 2/PhotoStory 2 newsletter. The annual
subscription fee is $20 and the link to subscribe is on the main page of my Movie Maker website
for upcoming newsletters (subject to change):
#25 - A Special Edition about Photo Story
#26 - Open - the last free subscription issue
#27 - Open - the first issue that will be sent only
to regular paid subscribers
Older newsletters are archived 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:
Other 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 me at PapaJohn@CharterMi.net and
I'll help you determine your needs, and work with you to plan and implement them.
Wedding website/video packages
start at $2,500 + travel expenses. See
www.jill-mark.papajohn.org for a sample.
About John 'PapaJohn' Buechler from Microsoft.com
||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.
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
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