Go, Stop, Reverse, Photo
Story, Go Forward...
How do you reverse a clip?
It's a question posted often... not supported directly by Movie Maker 2, which makes it more
fun to use in a video.
But the subject goes deeper than that. You
don't just want a clip playing in reverse. You want to use the clip in a movie, and do it in
such a way that the transitions to and from the clip are smooth.
it's that overall flow I'll cover in this
newsletter, not just the clip reversal. How to stop a clip that's playing, put it into reverse,
stop again and go forward... all with smooth transitions between them. And I'll even take a
little side trip into and out of a Photo Story at one point in the movie, and add that to the
Here's the finished movie, an almost full-field
touchdown run by my grandson Nick. It's a 4.8 MB file that plays for 1 min, 10 seconds. It uses
freeze-frames, includes a short PhotoStory, and a reverse clip... they're all annotated.
... before going into it,
a couple notes...
• I mentioned the
neptune online video hosting service last week,
and my changing website priorities... as I move more toward focusing on having fun and doing
amazing things with Movie Maker
made a new graphic for my main page and it's
now in place. As I fully develop the new page about using the Mediashare service, I'll be moving
some of the better sample videos and stories to my neptune gallery, and inviting selected videos
from others to also be in it. I'm not sure how that will work yet
•The internet cafe that I conducted lessons
at folded up a while ago... not enough business in downtown Kalamazoo. And except for Doug,
one of the subscribers to this newsletter who I see most every night at Barnes & Noble, no-one
usually takes me up on my offer to meet them there for a private session. I met this week with
the director of the Portage, Michigan library and classes about Movie Maker and Photo Story
will be added to their regular schedule.
Pick a Video and Plan the Special Actions
offer scenes that work well with stop and go, and reversal effects... I hadn't tried integrating
a Photo Story in it too, but I'll do it for this tutorial.
I had taken video of my grandson Nick doing
his first full-field (almost) touchdown run... I'll use it and cover all the steps I take to
get from my database records to an online movie.
There was a point in the run when he turned
so much to look back that he almost stopped... I'll pause the video there, reverse it a bit,
go into a Photo Story and back, and then take off for the rest of the touchdown.
Let's go through the process in 6 steps.
1 - Get the Video Footage
I use a home-made
database for all my information, including
videos. I searched for the word 'football' and one of the 4 records found was about my analog
Hi8 tape #27. The info said the game footage starts at 1:18:50. I pulled the tape from the library
and put it into my Hi8 camcorder.
I connected the Hi8 camcorder to my digital
mini-DV one (RCA chords for the audio and S-Video for video), removed the tape from the digital
one, and connected the digital to my laptop via firewire. Using the 'pass-through' feature (digital
camcorder in VTR mode while I controlled the Hi8 camcorder at the camcorder, not at Movie Maker).
I used MM2 to capture the footage as a DV-AVI file, saving it to an external hard drive connected
to a USB2 port.
The captured footage almost 20 minutes. I
previewed it in the MM2 collection and split the clip into 3 parts to get the 1-1/2 minutes
of the touchdown run. I put that single clip on the timeline and rendered a new DV-AVI file
from it, so I could discard the bigger captured file (to save hard drive space).
You might ask why I just didn't capture the
1-1/2 minute segment from the camcorder initially... good question. I've been exercising the
USB2 connected hard drive lately to assess it more to see how well it performs for video capture
and exporting. Does it do as well as a firewire connected external drive? I tend to capture
more to give it a good workout. I did a full one hour capture the night before, using the WinDV
utility which reports any dropped frames... zero drops in the hour of capture. I'm finding the
USB2 connection works fine.
2 - Plan the Project in the Collection
Bin - Split the Clip and Take Snapshots
The goal now is to get the clips needed for
the movie, while working in the collection and before going to the timeline to start building
the project. Snapshots taken from a clip in the collection are full-sized... the same snapshot
taken from the same clip in the timeline is at 320x240, the size of the project preview environment.
For smooth 'freeze frame' transitions I pause
the clip preview at the point I want to freeze the action, take the snapshot using the MM2 feature,
and then split the clip before moving off the frame... that has the snapshot and the splitting
happening at the same frame.
I took two
split the clip twice... the first one at the point that Nick had slowed a bit
and was looking back, the first of the pictures above.
The second snapshot/split was about 4 seconds
before the pause. I chose this frame for the nice group shot with fairly good resolution...
thinking ahead to making a Photo Story from the snapshot, not just a usual freeze-frame.
At this point I had 3 sub-clips and 2 snapshots
in the collection. That's enough for this tutorial. I only need a couple more clips, a Photo
Story and a reversed clip.
Note in the clip list that the video clips,
being DV-AVI files from the camcorder, are 720x480 pixels.
But snapshots from them are jpg files of 640x480
pixels. For our purposes they are the same, and you'll see in the finished video you can mix
and match them fine.
3 - Make the Photo Story
I need two more clips before putting the movie
together, a little Photo Story of the
group scene and the reversed clip of the 4 second segment. First the story.
I imported the Nick in Action picture 5 times
to play with various pans and zooms in the story.
The first thing I did in the story project
was go to the Transition tab of the 'Customize Motion' window for each picture and uncheck the
option to start it with a transition... I didn't want the standard 2 second overlapping transitions,
which don't look smooth if you change panning directions.
The motion settings started from full screen
on the first picture, zoomed in toward Nick for a couple pix, and then back out to full screen.
PS3 set the durations initially, and I had
a 28 second story, way too long. PS3 does a great job of determining the durations.... I just
wanted a faster tempo, so I went into each and set the duration to 1/3 of what PS3 had used.
The tempo and flow was much better... I saved
the PS3 project file and rendered the story, using my custom DVD profile (there's a link to
it on the PS3 > Saving page of the site) to render to 720x480 pixels to align with the DV-AVI
file clips. Could I have used a 640x480 profile instead? Probably, but I wanted to test the
As a check, I imported the story into MM2,
put it on the timeline between the two surrounding video clips and previewed it to see how well
the transitions were working (no transition really, just clips butted up as usual)... the preview
4 - Make the Reversed Clip
Just need one more clip, a copy of the 4 second
segment playing in reverse. I'll use AviSynth
and VirtualDub to make the clip...
one of the subjects of last week's newsletter.
Before reversing the clip, I need a clip of
the 4 second segment playing forward... until now it's been a 4 second clip in the collection,
not a stand-alone video file. I put it on the timeline and saved it as a new DV-AVI file
(type I from MM2). I put the new clip in my c:\Copy
• The next step was to make an AviSynth
script, a simple text file using Notepad
that reads two lines:
Double clicking the avs script showed it playing
fine in WMP10, running in reverse. Now to make a new copy of the file as it's playing backwards.
• I opened VirtualDub, used my file manager
to drag the script file from, and dropped it into VirtualDub. The preview showed the input playing
in reverse as the AviSnyth DLL engine was feeding it that way to VirtualDub.
• Set the video compression to choose a codec.
I opted this time for Panasonic DV codec and rendered the backwards playing clip to a new DV-AVI
The new file played fine in WMP10. My final
check of the reversed clip was to play it in MM2 between the two clips it'll be snuggled between...
still looked good.
I now have all the clips needed for the movie.
5 - Make the Movie
This part is familiar. Put the clips on the
timeline of the movie project, add
some text, and render it to a movie.
For the audio, you can see in the timeline
that the still pix and reversed clip don't have audio... so I muted the rest of the clips that
included audio, and copied the 3 main sub-clips from the collection to the audio/music track.
I trimmed some footage off the starting and ending of the clips, so the total movie aligned
pretty well with the audio track... the durations of the frames trimmed off were about the same
as the durations of the silent clips that were brought in, so it all kind of balanced.
The audio track isn't good... lot's of wind
noise, something that seems to go with taking video of kids playing soccer or football. But
this tutorial is to make a sample clip about the visual, so I'm not taking any steps to fix
6 - Render the Movie and Put it on
My current rule of thumb when rendering a
movie to use on the internet, as a sample for a newsletter or the website, is to use the option
'Best fit to file size' and toggle the figure while watching the info at the lower left of the
When it's at a bit rate of about
500 Kbps, I check the other figures - yup,
320x240 at 30 fps.... that's what I want.
After rendering, upload it to a website server
using an ftp utility (I use Total Commander), and add the link to the newsletter.
There's a couple things that I thought about
that might have needed extra steps, but didn't.
VirtualDub needs type II DV-AVI files and
I gave it a reversed type I file using AviSynth. What VirtualDub can't handle is the audio track
of a type I file, something I didn't need in this case. It handled the video part of the file
The video clips were all 720x480 and the still
pix snapshots 640x480. Using a 640x480 still picture to make the story and rendering it to 720x480
profile didn't effect what we ended up with in Movie Maker.
When checking the final playback of the video,
I was happy with all the transitions from the normally playing video to the freeze frames, and
the Photo Story... but there was one transition at the 'look-back' frame that wasn't as smooth
as the others. That may be due to MM2 being a 15 frame per section project working environment.
Maybe the snapshot frame and splitting frame were really a frame off? I don't know.
It was all good enough for the example, so
I didn't go back and try the snapshot and splitting again for that one transition.
I look forward to comments and discussion
about this and other newsletters on the forums at:
Have a great week...
Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 -
Photo Story 2 -
Products and Services
I'm involved in many things that support the
users of Movie Maker and Photo Story, 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 Magazines:
Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things
its online companion on
Movie Maker 2 - Zero to Hero (with support
on the Friends of Ed forum at
MaximumPC's winter quarterly special - with
a 7 page tutorial 'Make a Killer Home Movie with Maker 2' - now on newsstands in the USA through
Publishing of Birmingham, U.K. issed a Press Release yesterday about the first book about VirtualDub.
I did the introductory chapter for it.
Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 -
www.papajohn.org - 3 goals: be
the online companion to the Do Amazing Things book, provide a detailed tutorial for Photo Story
3, and help you solve Movie Maker 2 problems.
PhotoStory 2 -
www.photostory.papajohn.org - a
full tutorial about using it. It's not a problem-solving site.
Online Support - Forums, Channels
I'm a regular on many online forums and newsgroups,
the main ones being:
Maker and Photo Story forums at
Movie Maker 2 forum at SimplyDV.com
Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup at
Photo Story 2 newsgroup
Photo Story 3 newsgroup
Movie Maker 2/Photo Story newsletter. The
annual subscription is $20 and the link to subscribe is on the main page of my Movie Maker website
for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):
#38 - open (I'll post to the forum as soon
as I know)
Older newsletters (more than 6 issues ago)
are archived by Rob Morris at:
Maker 2 (TM2) - a utility for the ultimate in making
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:
ProDAD's Adorage package for Movie Maker 2
is available at:
A new venture that fully aligns with the new
priority of the website is a 'PapaJohn Expert Zone' gallery at
It's in the startup phase.
Portage, Michigan library is adding a training
session to their regularly scheduled ones for an introduction to Movie Maker and Photo Story.
I'll be conducting the first sessions in the
spring or summer.
Other fee-based services:
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 - send an email to
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
- starting at $2,500 + travel expenses. See
www.jill-mark.papajohn.org or the bottom branch of my Movie Maker 2 website for a sample
of what you can expect for the online portion of the package.