About: This is a
Primer on VirtualDub (and NanDub).... including a usual mini-tutorial.
If you don't have it yet, VirtualDub is a free download from
In this newsletter, I'll do two basic things with Virtual Dub
• check a video file for errors before doing anything else to it
• add my logo to the lower right corner of a video
What's NanDub? It's the same as VirtualDub, but a different software
app that you need if you have files encoded with the XVID codec.... what VirtualDub does with many
AVI files, NanDub does with XVID encoded ones. I won't go any further into it than that.... OK,
maybe one step.... a link to download NanDub - from the Doom website at
If you haven't heard about or use XVID files, you don't need NanDub.
Before getting into it, here's a few notes about some things going
• The fairly new Setup > MM2.1 page of the site is up to date with
issues I've seen posted about how MM2.1 is working in SP2. As you would expect,
it resolves some issues for some and gives new issues to others.
I see a lot of people sitting on the fence waiting to see the fallout
from the early adopters.... while the early users are reporting mostly positive experiences. At
our house, we're up to having it on 5 computers now with no new problems on any of them.... and
better performance in a number of areas.
• I've been having fun checking out the Creative Zen Portable
Media Center, and started a blog about it... the blogs are accessed by the Online > Blogs
page of my site, but here's a direct link to the one about the Creative Zen:
I made 6 sample videos for the blog to show what the Zen's viewing
experience is like.... it's a great device.
One of the demo videos uses WMV-HD files from the dual disc High Definition
disc sets... if you check only one of the sample videos on the blog, make it that one.... even though
the PhotoStory sample looks almost as good.
Creative Zen Portable Media Center
The Zen's 20 GB hard drive (the minimum size unit - they will go larger
too) can hold well over 100 hours of my Movie Maker and PhotoStory productions.... it doesn't look
like I can fill it up. As you copy video files to it, WMP10 renders the copies as needed to align
with the specs for the Zen to provide smooth playback.... 320x240 at 800 Kbps or less total bitrate.
....on to the topic of the week
Per the opening paragraph of its website, VirtualDub is a video capture/processing
utility. It lacks the editing power of a general-purpose editor such as Adobe Premiere, but is streamlined
for fast linear operations over video. It has batch-processing capabilities for processing large
numbers of files and can be extended with
third-party video filters.
VirtualDub is mainly geared toward processing AVI files, although it
can read (not write) MPEG-1 and also handle sets of BMP images.
I'll take a downloaded AVI file from the Internet Archives, check it
for errors, and then add my logo to the lower right corner. That's enough to show you the basic
steps when using VirtualDub.
1 - Open
VirtualDub - and see a blank workspace with a pull down menu and VCR controls at the bottom.
Virtual Dub - Main Working Window
These simplistic looking opening windows can sometimes be the most
intimidating.... what next?
2 - File >
Open Video File - if you try to open a type 1 DV-AVI file, you'll get an error
message ".... VirtualDub currently cannot extract the audio. Only the video stream will be available."
So, if you want the audio too, convert type 1 files into type II first.
When opened in VirtualDub, you'll see something like this. The left
window is the source file and the right one is a preview of the same frame of the output file....
both the same until you tell it to make a change.
VirtualDub - Video File Opened
3 - From the main
menu, use Video > Scan video stream for errors - to do a routine
check of the file.
Scan Video File for Errors
I just scanned this one, with almost 8,000 frames... it took about
15 seconds and reported no bad frames and none were noted as being 'good but undecodable' (whatever
that means)... so my file is in good shape to work with. I'm all set to do something to it.
4 - Video
> Filters > click the Add button - this is where you get to pick one or more of the neat
things you want to do to the video clip.
Check the list of options. They include 'deinterlace', 'levels', 'resize'
and rotate2 (any angle). Note that you can do a cropping with VirtualDub too.
Select any of them and a note at the bottom of the window will summarize
what the filter will do.
When I select 'logo', it says it'll overlay an image
over the video.
Select a Filter
You can select a number of different items and apply them all at once.
I'll just do the one.
For a logo, you'll need to use a BMP or TGA image
file.... the one I picked was a JPG so I used IrfanView to convert it to a BMP.
There are some tricky options like alpha blending, but I'll do an easy
one, just pick an image and go with the defaults. I'm selecting the BR (bottom right) justification
(position), moving it left by 10 pixels and up by 10 pixels, and Show preview (same
button as the Hide preview one in the image below - it toggles between Show and Hide).
Select Logo and Position It
So I'm telling VirtualDub to add my logo to the position on the video
as shown in the preview window. Click OK a couple times and move on.
5 - Use File >
Preview filtered... to play it, viewing the original in the left monitor and the
new one in the right monitor. Here's what I'm seeing as it previews the addition of logo on each
frame. I took the snapshot as the train was passing frame 4,532 and looking good all the way.
Logo Added - Preview
If you're happy with the preview, it's time to create the new file,
starting with your choice of a compression codec.... or no codec.
6 - Video >
Compression - you get to pick a codec. I've usually used Cinepak at 100% quality
in the past, and my personal notes tell me to force a keyframe every 30 frames.... that's probably
Select Compression and Settings
In the future I'll probably go with the Microsoft Windows Media Video
9 option... as I'm getting to know more about it. Yes, you can use the Media 9 compressor to compress
an AVI file!!!!
For shorter videos like this one, I tend to make them uncompressed
if I'll be discarding them right after using them in Movie Maker.
7 - Use Video >
Select Range... you can apply the effect to just some of the frames instead of
all of them.... but I'll apply my logo to the full video, all 7,882 frames.
Frames to Process
8 - File
> Save as AVI... to do the rendering. With my codec (or no codec) choice and settings,
I get warnings about the quality level being high and using an outdated compressor if I use Cinepak.
I don't mind the high quality or the outdated compressor, as I'll be
using it as a source file in Movie Maker and discarding it afterwards.... but I'll go with uncompressed.
For those who like uncompressed files and can handle the file sizes,
you don't need to pick a compression codec....
It took about 4 minutes for the logo to get applied to the complete
video... I watched the input file in the window at the left and the output file at the right as
it went along. Virtual Dub also provided this pop-up status window.
Status of Rendering
It rendered a new 1.8 GB uncompressed file.... large considering the
source AVI file was 14 MB, but as expected for an uncompressed file. It looked and sounded great.
Here's the new file opened in VirtualDub... it's now the input at the
left, with the logo on it.... I'm ready to do something else to it from the list of available filters.
New File Used as Input for the Next Change
That's enough for this mini-tutorial... get an AVI file and play with
the various options yourself.
VirtualDub is a great utility that compliments the work you do with
Movie Maker. You saw how easy it was to put a logo on a clip. It's brother software package NanDub
is the same for XVID encoded files.
For you programmers and geeks... here's an extract from VirtualDub's
Don't see a video filter you want? Write your own, with the filter
SDK. VirtualDub has the capability to load third-party DLLs that include their own video filters.
The filters that are built into VirtualDub use the same interface that is exported to DLLs, so you
can write filters similar to or better than the included ones. You can sample some of these
third-party filters page; these range from corrective filters, such as noise reducers, to synthesis
filters, such as the subtitler. The basic interface is simple to work with: VirtualDub gives
you a 32-bit ARGB bitmap to modify.
I look forward to comments and discussion about this and other newsletters
on the forums at:
Have a great week... I'll be videoing a wedding this weekend - rehearsal
dinner Friday and the wedding Saturday.... more footage is coming for new samples and future tutorials.
And that's after the Chicago airshow last weekend.... I've been cranking out new camcorder footage
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.
Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things
(with its online companion on
Movie Maker 2 - Zero to Hero (with support on the Friends of Ed forum
The 14 hacks that I wrote for a new O'Reilly book about Windows Media
Hacks are in the editing phase.
When ordering these books or anything else from Amazon, I'd appreciate
you using the links on the main page of
- I get some income from Amazon that way, and it doesn't cost you any more. It'll help keep most
of my services free.
Movie Maker 2 -
- 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 -
www.photostory.papajohn.org - a full tutorial about using it. It's not a problem-solving
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 microsoft.public.windowsxp.moviemaker
PhotoStory items are covered at microsoft.public.plus
Weekly Movie Maker 2/PhotoStory 2 newsletter. Subscribing is free via
the link on the main page of
Tentative topics for upcoming newsletters (subject to change): A series
of primers about utilities used in conjunction with Movie Maker and PhotoStory.
#17 - (Open - do you have any requests?)
Older newsletters are archived, with a few weeks delay, by Rob Morris
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:
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
PapaJohn@CharterMi.net and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with
you to plan and implement them.
PapaJohn's Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 Newsletter Index
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
Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup and in the Windows
Movie Makers Forums.
newsletter is republished with permission of John "PapaJohn" Buechler. To subscribe
to PapaJohn's Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 newsletter click here:
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