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 #4 - Using Windows Movie Maker 1 versus 2

I received an email this week from someone working on a book about XP. In the section about Movie Maker, he wanted to summarize what was new and different in MM2 versus MM1.

I'll take the list I sent him and expand on a few items in this week's newsletter.

Movie Maker 2 and Movie Maker 1

I use both versions on a regular basis and it's a good topic. Let me start with a picture of my laptop screen, where I'm using both MM1 and MM2 to work on a new project about this year's dance recital that included my daughter-in-law and 2 of our grandchildren.

Note a few things in this picture:

The name of the 'May 23 2004 Recital' collection in both MM1 and MM2 is the same because I made the collection in MM1 and imported it into MM2.

The source file is a 40 minute segment from a digital camcorder tape (captured using MM2). The project files in MM1 and MM2 are both using the same source file.

When I say MM2 and MM1, I don't necessarily mean using one or the other. You can use both at the same time. If I wanted to, I could render both of these projects to new movie files and do both renderings at the same time. They work independently of each other.

Using both Windows Movie Maker version 1 and 2 at the same time

Special Notices

Before continuing with the weekly topic, a couple notes:

I didn't get many responses about the availability of the Stereo Mix option on your computers. The few I did get indicate that at least half of you have the option, more than I thought it would be... and it's great that I can continue to discuss how to use it. I'll be mentioning it in this week's topic below.

There are still some broken links on my website from the recent change in servers. Just want to thank those who have sent notes about the ones they bumped into.

My final special note is about the length of these newsletters. I always lean toward more or perhaps too much info, thinking that readers can skip what they aren't interested in. Not everyone would agree with that; one comment back about the Zero to Hero book was that the content was great but the book was too packed with info. I'll try not to do that with these newsletters, so anything you question or want more about, just post your item to the newsgroup or send me an email. I won't go into all points in the newsletter in excruciating detail.

Here's the list of features introduced by MM2 that I sent to the author of that XP book:

  • great sets of built-in collections of special transitions and video effects

  • a 15 frames per second project editing environment, so you can have real-time previewing of the project with all the neat special transitions and effects. MM1 is a 30 fps editing environment (sometimes better for more precise clip splitting).

  • lots more choices when saving a movie, including saving directly as an email attachment, burning a WMV/HighMAT CD, copying to a digital camcorder, and uploading to an internet online video hosting service like Neptune.

  • text clips with your choices of animations, fonts, colors, etc.

  • an AutoMovie feature that makes a video for you, with a choice of 5 styles

  • support (unofficial anyway) of custom profiles for saving movies with different options than the built-in choices.

  • 'hooks' into the software so anyone can make custom transitions and effects to add to those provided with the software.

Now into the meat of this week's topic. Why do I still use MM1 over a year after MM2 was released? Here are 4 reasons:

Project Working Environment- 30 fps versus 15 fps (NTSC)

MM1 gives you a 30 fps working environment but doesn't have all the neat special effects, transitions and text clips. Real time previewing at 30 fps is relatively easy for your computer.

MM2, in order to give you real time previews with the extras, uses a 15 fps working environment.

The 30 fps environment aligns with the frames per second of your camcorder and DVD videos. Splitting clips can be more precise... for the nature videographer, the difference between a single frame of an action shot might be significant.

Sometimes MM1 Works Better

I don't know if it's related to the working environment, but I find the auto clip detection of MM1 to work a bit better than MM2.

MM1 handles some MPEG2 files easier than MM2 on my laptop, even though I'm only using Movie Maker to convert the files to DV-AVI or WMV. Sometimes it makes the difference being able to convert the file or not convert it.

Some people find that MM1 captures from their video equipment, but MM2 doesn't. Use the one that works best.

Collection Database Library

Why was I using MM1 and MM2 in the picture I showed you above? Well, that gets me into the subject of creating and managing collection databases.

When I capture video from a camcorder or other source, I do it with either MM1 or MM2. My goal in a capture session is to get the individual files located on my computers where I want them, and with appropriate names. Auto clip splitting takes time, so I usually skip it right after the capture. And there's no sense doing auto-clip detection as part of an MM2 capture session if I really want the clips in an MM1 collection database.

Clips for my library of collection databases???? Let me illustrate a bit. I have a number of sets of standard 'topical' clips, and even some for selected longer-term projects: 

  • Music - favorite items that work well in movies... nicely trimmed clips... the refrain or a particular segment of a longer piece.... maybe the Ode to Joy section of Beethoven's 9th.... all that work done in splitting the clips just right the first time lets me easily reach over to it in a standard collection, usually at a time when I'm busy editing a project and not wanting to do detailed audio editing steps.... I'd probably do they sloppily if I did them at the wrong time.
  • Starting intro clips like countdown clocks... transition clips like black and white still images.... personally developed standard endings. When I need such clips, reach over to the collection in my library of collection database files.
  • Sound effects.... listen to all those sound effects you have on your computer in the pinball game... import them all into Movie Maker, find those that work great in videos. But the clip names won't be very descriptive. Keep the sound effects clips you want and rename them in Movie Maker so they are descriptive like 'boing-boing', 'pop-pop-pop', 'buzzing', etc. Save them in another collection database.
  • The clips for a longer-term project such as the dance recital footage of May 23rd.... I'll do some web-based shorter videos for all to look at and pass around the URLs. Then probably some longer higher quality ones on a DVD. Then in future projects, grab an occasional one to mix in with other events. The point is, as I import and slip the clips.... I already know there's a number of projects that will use them. The work that goes into renaming the clips with the names of the dance pieces and the people in them (instead of tape footage counter numbers) will be used over and over. So the package of clips for this recital goes into its own collection database in my library.

You get the idea. My library of collections with routinely used clips is built using MM1. Then, as I do my projects in MM2, I start with an empty collection database and import the MM1 collections I need. Let's say I'm working on the project for web-based videos of the recital.

I'll open MM2 and import the MM1 collection of recital clips by using File > Import Into Collections > change the file type dropdown list to Windows Movie Maker 1x Collection Files > reach over and get the collection from my library.

When I need the starting and ending clips I'll reach over and get that collection database. My collection of music won't be needed as a recital has it's built-in music.... same with sound effects. I'll get the collections I need and not the others.

Backing up your collection databases is something that's important but often neglected.... an advantage to working with a library of collection databases on a neat shelf in a corner is that it's easy to access, and easy to backup. I don't keep them buried deeply in my personal default sub-folders. Not only can I use them, but so can anyone else who uses my computer.

Not good but true.... sometimes Movie Maker wipes out, rezeros, the collection database. I've had it happen many times. By running with essentially an empty one, and with the hard work captured in my library of collection databases, losing a current collection database is a trivial issue.

Narration Capture - WMA versus WAV

Capturing a narration into a new WMA or WAV file is a great feature of Movie Maker, especially when you have the Stereo Mix option listed in the narration wizard (or its equivalent).

Whatever is playing on the computer at the time you're hearing it is going directly into a CD quality stereo audio file. MM2 makes WMA files and MM1 makes WAV files. A few advantages:

  • Some audio issues are fairly common in MM2, especially in a saved DV-AVI file. If you can play the file and it's sounding good in any player on your computer (maybe the project preview of MM2), startup MM1 and record it in MM1 as a WAV file.... and use that file in your MM2 project. 
  • Put a bunch of music files on the timeline of Movie Maker 1 or 2, overlapping to mix in and out. When it sounds great, use the narration feature of the other Movie Maker to save the audio file.... no need to clear off the video or text clips that might be on the timeline at the time.
  • iTunes has a neat equalizer feature... play your music there, fiddle with the equalizer and capture what you hear in MM1 or MM2. Do the same thing with volume adjustments, and make the audio fade in or out over a long period of time, rather than the split-second fade in or out that MM2 uses. Or use the equalizer presets like I'm using the 'Lounge' sounding option here.
  • DRM material.... if you have the rights to use it, and you hear it now.... it'll be in the captured narration.

Narration Capture - WMA versus WAV

DV-AVI Type I versus II

By now many know that MM1 saves DV-AVI files as type II, and MM2 saves them as type I. If your other software can only handle the older type II, then MM1 can be used as a conversion utility. Open the DV-AVI type I file in MM1 and save it as a DV-AVI file (it'll be type II).

This constantly needs reiteration as others you deal with may not know it, or your might come across new places where the type I versus II issue is at the heart of a problem.

Installing MM1

If you didn't save MM1 when you installed MM2, look at other computers that haven't been upgraded to MM2 and copy the main executable file from it. The MovieMk.exe file fits on a floppy disc. Rename it to something like MovieMaker1.exe on the floppy, copy it into your Movie Maker working folder and use both MM1 and MM2.

I look forward to any discussion items at the forums, and whatever the next topic(s) will be.


Movie Maker 2 -
Photo Story 2 -

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. 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.


Download more Movie Maker Effects!

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