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 #71

Rotating and Cropping a Video Scene

Having always used movie cameras and camcorders in the upright position, I hadn't realized how many turn them sideways to get a portrait-mode video clip, or create/receive clips that need rotation. Movie Maker can rotate clips by 90 or 180 degrees, but it results in mishaped and/or black borders... and sometimes you need something other than a 90 degree turn.

For this newsletter, I'll use Movie Maker and VirtualDub together... rotating scenes as needed, and cropping and resizing to appropriately resize the content to fill the screen. It's something that's easier to do than to explain.

As I videoed my grandson's football game on Saturday, I forced myself to take a couple scenes at angles that would need correcting during editing... to get a couple real clips to use for this tutorial.

Here's a frame from each of 4 scenes as they look in VirtualDub. Two are normal. One needs a 90 degree clockwise rotation, and the other needs turning about 45 degrees clockwise.

From Camcorder

I'll open the same file in both Movie Maker and VirtualDub, and move back and forth between the two apps as I work on the selected segment. They don't conflict.

I took the footage in widescreen mode. I'll use the widescreen option in Movie Maker, and the images will appear a bit squeezed in VirtualDub... ignore the squeezing and all will be fine. VirtualDub doesn't reshape pixels to maintain the aspect ratio as Movie Maker does.

... before getting into it, here are a few notes...


My Toshiba laptop was officially declared a 'lemon' by CompUSA last week. Three days after being returned from the last repair trip, it needed a new mother-board (again). As it was under a 3-year extended warranty, I was able to select anything up to the original purchase price to replace it; an HP laptop is on order.

I'll be at the Microsoft MVP Summit next week, and doing some vacationing on the way back... traveling with my old Dell laptop while I wait for delivery of the new HP. Being cramped for time and computer capabilities, I'll publish this and the next issue #72 very early, and then skip a week before #73.

.... on to the main topic

Rotating Selected Scenes with VirtualDub...

Older versions of VirtualDub don't handle the newer type I DV-AVI files from Movie Maker 2 but  VirtualDub 1.6.0 (build 215490) does. With the Panasonic DV codec installed on the computer, it's easy and lossless to go back and forth between Movie Maker and VirtualDub during project editing.

Working TogetherWhen Movie Maker has a file open, it doesn't lock it from being used by other software... and VirtualDub acts the same way. One result is being able to use Movie Maker and VirtualDub with the same file at the same time.

I'll emphasize this point as we go, starting by showing you the screen shot at the right... with the same source file open in both software apps.

When you see a segment that needs rotating, select the segment in VirtualDub by marking its first frame (press the Home key) and last frame (press the End key)... that tells Virtual Dub to use that segment when rendering a new file with your changes applied. 

You can apply rotation and cropping filters at the same time, but I prefer doing them in two steps... rotating the segment first, and then cropping while looking at... the clip rightside up.

For this rotation, after selecting the range in VirtualDub, apply the rotate2 filer with a setting of -47 degrees, select the Panasonic codec for video compression, and then render the segment to a new file (File > Save as AVI). There's no need to resize; it's DV-AVI in and DV-AVI out... and DV-AVI (NTSC) is always 720x480 pixels.

Test Rotation

Leaving VirtualDub open, import the new clip into Movie Maker and see how it looks... I named it a temporary file because I knew it would need cropping also... unless you like this kind of black-border effect, in which case you're done.

Preview the rotated clip in the MM2 collection and note that its made from just the selected segment of the larger clip.

... Leaving MM2 open, go back to VirtualDub, this time to crop the rotated clip to show the center of interest... and resize that part to the full 720x480 pixels. 

Resize Settings

Add the resize filter (Video > Filters > resize). Opt for 720x480 for DV-AVI (NTSC) size...

Applied Resize Filter

The Cropping option isn't a filter in VirtualDub... it's an option that you can use when adding any of the filters.

It's grayed out until you add a filter. In this case, adding the resize filter ungrays the button.

Pressing the Cropping button opens this window... where you tweak the 4 controls to get the desired offset dimensions.

Many scenes such as this one don't need precise arithmetic. I eyeball/estimate it as I set the cropping lines. When it looks OK, press the button and move on.

Cropping and Resizing

With the cropping settings selected, the resizing ready to make it 720x480, the Panasonic DV codec selected for video compression, save it as an AVI file (File > Save as AVI), and you have what should be the final corrected clip.

... from VirtualDub, go back to Movie Maker 2, import the new clip and take a look at it in the preview monitor.

If it's good enough, put it into your project and keep going. If you want to tweak it further, it's still an open project in Virtual Dub... go back and adjust the settings some more, and save it again to a new avi file.

Cropped and Resized in MM2

Here's the rotated, cropped and resized clip in Movie Maker...

Check the clip's audio track. The wave patterns show the audio track made it through the two rendering processes without us having to think about it.

Audio Check

That's all there is to it.

Conclusions and Closing

I'm hoping you'll find the process of using Movie Maker and VirtualDub together like this to be easy and fun...

I didn't go through the other scene that needed rotating... it would be even easier than the one we did. Use the rotate filter instead of the rotate2... Rotate is for 90 degree increments... rotate2 is for any angle. 

If you don't take videos at angles and don't need to rotate clips, you can get lots of mileage from the cropping feature... I'm sure there are many scenes where you would like to change the focus of attention by cropping/resizing.

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

Windows Movie

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 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 included the first 'bi-weekly' show with a segment about Movie Maker 2.

Do Amazing ThingsBooks and Magazines

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

MaximumPC's 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 now  on my website as a file download.

Learning VirtualDub - published by Virtual DubPackt Publishing, is the first book about VirtualDub software. I wrote the first chapter about downloading and setting up the software: VirtualDub, VDubMod and AVISynth.


Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 - - the site's 3 goals are: an online companion to the Do Amazing Things book, a detailed tutorial for PhotoStory 3, and helping you solve Movie Maker 2 problems.

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

Online Support - Forums and Newsgroups

I'm a regular 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 W indows Movie Makers

Movie Maker 2 forum at

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

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

Photo Story 2 newsgroup -

Photo Story 3 newsgroup -

Weekly Newsletters

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 at:

Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):

October 1 - Equipment - Monopod (I'll issue this one early)

October 8 - no newsletter

#72 - October 8 - open

Older newsletters (more than 6 issues ago) are posted by Rob Morris to an Archive Site at his Windows Movie Makers website. Links from website pages to specific newsletters make it easier for the website viewer to see the content of both while browsing a topic.

Drop an email to suggest a newsletter topic... I can use more requests rather than fewer.


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. Version 2 was released a week ago and I'm still working on updating the online tutorial.

I routinely beta test the  Pixelan packages and think very highly of their people and products.


ProDAD's Adorage package for Movie Maker 2 provides an additional source of professionally developed transitions and effects.

Personal Database

Managing your personal information is more of a challenge as hard drives get bigger and the internet more robust. 

My personal database has been an ongoing project over many years, and is now available to others. Info is on the Managing > Personal Database page of my site, and in the database package itself.

It's available free to regular newsletter subscribers... send an email request.

To others it's $10. To order, use the button on the top of the Managing > Personal Database page.

Online Gallery Neptune Gallery

An online gallery that fully aligns with the main priority of the website is the  'PapaJohn Expert Zone' at neptune.

Check it at Neptune  and the Distributing > Neptune page of the website, where there's a developing tutorial about how to use the service.


in conjunction with the Portage, Michigan library, I offer two free training sessions about Movie Maker, an intro session and a workshop. The upcoming scheduled sessions are:

Monday - September 19 - 6-7:30 - Intro to Movie Maker

Monday - October 10 - 6-7:30 - Workshop

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 $50 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 - starting at $2,500 + travel expenses. See  Jill-MarkWedding or the bottom branch of the Movie Maker 2 website for a sample of what you can expect for the online portion of the package.

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.