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PapaJohn
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PapaJohn's Newsletter #158

ULead's DVD Movie Factory for Toshiba
on a Vista Home Basic System... without a DVD Burner


DVD Movie Factory Splash Screen That's one of the software apps that came on my new Toshiba Satellite L35 laptop, a minimal system with Vista Home Basic.

The laptop has a combo DVD reader/CD burner, but no DVD burner. And it lacks the new Microsoft MPEG-2 codec and DVD Maker app found on the Home Premium and Ultimate versions of Vista.

But this DVD MovieFactory software can make the files for video DVDs. Once made to a hard drive, it's easy to take the files over to another computer that has a DVD burner and make discs. External hard drives are bigger, cheaper and handier than ever.

One reason for buying the system was to see how things looked in Vista at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Ultimate version... and things look surprisingly good.

DVD Movie Factory for Toshiba works exactly like the trial version of ULead's DVD Movie Factory that I was helping someone with by remote control last week.


My first small test was to make a DVD project and save it to the hard drive. It had all the usual VOB and other files.

I tried copying the DVD files to a data CD to see what happens when I put the disc in a stand-alone DVD player. I was surprised to see and navigate the file structure, but I didn't succeed at playing the videos.


For a bigger test I gave it 18 videos... mostly DV-AVI with a couple WMV story and movie files for good luck... a total playing time of an hour and 25 minutes. I notched the quality setting down to the SP setting of 3.6 Mbps to pull it from the red (won't fit) to the yellow (might fit), and then from the yellow to the green (will fit).

Change MPEG Settings

It has two more lower quality settings that could pack even more playing time on a disc, and an option to customize the setting.

The help file says there's also a 'fit-to-disc' feature... which would do a better job of selecting the appropriate compression option.

It took 4-1/2 hours to 'burn' the project to an ISO file on my external hard drive (the laptop has a 1.86 GHz Intel Celeron M Processor 440). From there it was easy to unplug the drive and move it to my XP laptop with its DVD burner. Roxio's MyDVD Studio has a feature to take the ISO file and burn it to a DVD disc. That was only a 5 to 10 minute process. 

Burn ISO to Disc

Playing the DVDHere it is playing in WinDVD on my XP laptop.

Before getting into details, here are...

... a few notes...


Notes...

1&1 Website Host

My website was moved to Kansas on July 10th as planned. I uploaded almost a GB of files to it and the space limit issue has been resolved.

Now that I'm at 1% space usage (3 GB)... what to do with the other 99% (297GB)!!! I'll enjoy the newfound elbow room.

New Laptop

My first upgrade is to bump the 1/2 GB of RAM up to the max of 2 GB for the system... it's on order.

.... back to the main topic...


DVD Movie Factory

Starting Up

When opening DVD Movie Factory, you get 15 choices in 4 areas....

  • Video Disc (New Project, Open existing project, Burn video to disc, Burn DVD folders to disc, and On-disc editing)
  • Slideshow Disc (New project, Open existing project, Burn DVD folders to disc)
  • Disc Tools (Copy disc, Fit to disc, Format disc, Erase disc, Finalize disc, Burn from disc image)
  • Print Disc Label

My path was Video Disc > New Project.

That got me to 3 more choices. I knew I wanted a Standard Hollywood type of DVD, but the other choices made me stop and think a bit... what are the DVD+VR and DVD-VR options?

I'll add links to the Wikipedia pages I browsed...

  • make an editable disc in DVD+VR format
  • create an editable disc in DVD-VR format... with no menu

I found myself more deeply into the subject of DVD authoring and making than I expected to get with a new laptop without a DVD burner.

That selection got me to the main working window, in which there are three steps... or windows. Let's go through them.


Step 1 - add media...  

From a video device, video files on your hard drives, still pix from a hard drive (slide show), or files from a CD/DVD. I was surprised it doesn't accept jpg files, but takes JPEG2000 ones.

Edit media.... multi-trim video (crop the segments you want to keep), join (happens really quick)/separate video (undo the join), enhance video (with text overlays, adding audio clip, adding effects)

Add/Edit Chapters for video files.. includes auto-adding, Export selected clip to 7.2 Mbps to 1.6 Mbps.... exports to MPEG-2 DVD compliant videos... option to use the first video clip as an introductory video, before the menu shows up

A disc can have a mix of videos and slide-shows... and it'll take multiple slide-shows.

Step 1

Use the 3rd icon in at the top of this step to add a slideshow... then add transitions and effects to slides... but on my new laptop 

the app crashes or hangs forever when adding transitions

Slideshow

Set picture durations from 1 to 254 seconds... applies to all of them. This isn't as fully featured a slideshow as you can make with Photo Story 3.


Step 2 - select a menu style

... one of 7 styles... the Edit tab has options to add background music, motion menus, a background image or video, layout settings (pan & zoom, motion filter, menu in, menu out, and navigation buttons style).

Step 2


Step 3 - burn the disc

... sometimes it's to a disc in the drive... if you have a DVD burner, which I don't on this system.

If not to disc, then to a set of DVD folders and files, or to a single compressed disk package... an image (ISO).

Note the options to normalize the audio (nice touch but I didn't test it), and to archive the slide-show images... which usually means adding copies of the original pictures to the disc in addition to the smaller sized ones used for the slide-show. That lets you distribute your originals with the videos and slideshow.

Step 3

... first makes MPEG-2 files for the videos... 18 of them for my test disc. at a total duration of 1-3/4 hours.... that gets you to 50% overall progress

then it builds motion background files for the menu pages...  51 animated background files, each an MPG.... to about 55%

then builds 150 menu transitions... each an MPEG file....

finished in 4-1/2 hours


5 menu icons The 5 menu icons at the bottom left can be accessed when you're on any of the 3 steps.

from the first you can

  • Save the project
  • Save as a different project
  • Select preferences... lots of choices including an 'anti-flicker' filter, resample quality of good or best, slideshow image duration, video transition durations, and audio fade in/out duration
  • The setting for the 'TV safe area', as a percentage
  • A capture feature for DV... capturing into BMP images 

 from the second icon (looks like a gear... a film projector sprocket) you can change the project settingsProject Settings

  • The MPEG Settings are all about compression... how much fits on your disc. The High Quality of 7.2 Mbps bitrate gets you an hour on a standard DVD... the lower bitrate choices get will let you burn more than an hour... I used the SP setting to have my full 1 hr, 25 min video on the DVD. You can see from the meter in the opening section of this newsletter that my disc was just a bit more than half filled, so it could have taken more than 2 hours of video. 
  • if the 5 built built-in profiles for MPEG settings aren't enough, you can customize a profile... frame size, aspect ratio of 4:3 or 16:9, VBR or CBR, audio format of
    • MPEG
    • PCM or
    • Dolby Digital 

·         audio bitrate 

·         an option to skip the conversion of MPEG files that are already DVD compliant

·         auto-repeat when the disc ends... lots of people ask for this feature


The third icon toggles between a standard 4:3 aspect ration and widescreen 16:9 for the DVD playing window.

The next is the print icon for a disc label printing... a full-featured authoring one to add images, icons, text (straight or curved to align with the disc), text shadows, the ability to save the disc label project file, etc. It's as good or better than stand-alone disc labeling apps.

The last icon at the bottom is for help, from a local help file on your computer.


Conclusion and Closing... and What's Next?

From newsgroup and forum posts, ULead DVD software has a very positive reputation... I can see why. With the exception of it freezing when I add a transition to a slide show, it worked flawlessly.

I know... freezing when adding a transition or effect is pretty important!!! And on an OEM installed app.

Have a great week and enjoy your summer fun and video work...

PapaJohn


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

Windows Movie Makers.net

Have a great week...

PapaJohn

Movie Maker, Photo Story 3, DVD Maker, Expression Media - www.papajohn.org
Photo Story 2 - www.papajohn..org/PhotoStory2/PS.html


Products and Services

I'm involved in anything and everything that supports the users of Movie Maker and Photo Story, and adding more regularly. Some are free and others reasonably priced.


Radio and Podcasting

theDVShow TheDVShow 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 was the first 'bi-weekly' show with a segment about Movie Maker 2. The frequency of radio Q&A sessions about Movie Maker has fallen off as submitted questions are minimal.  Maybe Vista will perk it up a bit.


Do Amazing Things Books

Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things (with its online companion on www.papajohn.org ), published by Microsoft Press...

Movie Maker 2 - Zero to Hero - with support on the publisher's forum -  Friends of Ed

Learning VirtualDub - published by Packt Publishing in April 2005, is the first book about VirtualDub software. I wrote the introductory chapter about downloading and setting up the software: VirtualDub, VDubMod and AVISynth.

Virtual Dub  

A large percentage of book sales are of electronic copies. The Packt Publishing Website page  for the book provides a full table of contents and chapter summaries... and a link to a full free online copy of Chapter 3, Capture Preprocessing.


Magazines

MaximumPC

A six page article Making Movies with Vista was in the Spring 2007 Special Edition (page 78). It covered the movie making process from camcorder tape to viewing it on a standard video DVD.

The 2006 Summer Special edition included a 7 page tutorial Create a Ken Burns-Style Slideshow with Photo Story 3.

The November 2005 edition had a well done reworked 6 page reprint of the article about Movie Maker, starting on page 42 after the Happy 20th Birthday article for Windows.

The 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  on my website as a file download.

Microsoft Home (online magazine)

I and others you'll recognize were interviewed for an article about Movie Maker for a  Microsoft Home magazine article... here's the link.


Websites

Movie Maker and Photo Story - www.papajohn.org - the site's goals are: doing amazing things, providing a detailed tutorial for PhotoStory 3, and helping you solve Movie Maker problems.

It's been expanded to include the version 6 of Movie Maker in Vista, along with the new Photo Gallery and DVD Maker apps.

PhotoStory 2 - www.papajohn.org/photostory2/PS2.html - a detailed tutorial about using the earlier version. It's been a long time since I've updated anything on it, but it still gets pretty good viewer traffic.


Online Support - Forums and Newsgroups

I'm a regular or moderator 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 Windows Movie Makers

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

Windows Vista newsgroup - microsoft.public.windows.vista.music_pictures_video

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

Photo Story 2 newsgroup -  microsoft.public.plus

Photo Story 3 newsgroup -  microsoft.public.windowsxp.photos


Weekly Newsletters

Movie Maker/Photo Story newsletter. The subscription is $20 for 52 issues, and a link to subscribe is on the main page of  www.papajohn.org or the Products and Services page.

Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):

  • #159 - July 21 (open)
  • #160 - July 28 (open)
  • #161 - August 4 (open)

Newsletters issued more than 6 weeks ago are posted by Rob Morris to an Archive Site on his Windows Movie Makers' website. Links from my website pages to specific newsletters make it easier for viewers to see the content of both while browsing a topic.

Drop an email to suggest a newsletter subject...


Software

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.

I've beta tested some of the Pixelan packages , including the new packages for Vista, and think very highly of their people and products.

ProDAD's Adorage packages for Movie Maker 2 are additional sources of very professionally developed transitions and effects. Here are links

Transiitons Effects Package for Movie Maker - Volume 1 

PapaJohn's Transitions - Volume 2

PapaJohn's Video Effects - Volume 3


Music

I use a lot of professional background music for movies and stories that was created by Randon Myles, and act as his agent in selling tunes individually. 

There are 62 tunes available from 4 of his many albums... at 99 cents per tune (MP3 or WMA format). Here's a Sample - 45 seconds from 'Groove 2'. The 4 albums are: In the Fields of the on-Feretin , Music for Film Volume III, the Emerald Way, and the Fourth Door.

I don't have a full set of online samples yet, but if you hear something you like in one of my videos, there's a good chance it was done by Randon. Send an email if you are interested.


Personal Database

 With more info to manage, consider additional tools that help.

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

It's free for the asking to regular newsletter subscribers... send an email request and I'll return it with the zipped file, which is less than 1 MB.

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

On my list of things to do is a video tutorial about how to use it.


Online Galleries Neptune Gallery

neptune Mediashare is the preferred file download service for Movie Maker users... there's a  'PapaJohn Expert Zone' where I keep many of my samples and personal videos. 

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

Mydeo ... and mydeo is the preferred video streaming service. Many of the video samples for newsletter are on it.

Normal sized photo stories stream as well as or better than movies.


Training

In conjunction with the Portage, Michigan library , I offer free training sessions about Movie Maker and Photo Story, an intro session and a workshop. 

Classes will resume at the end of summer, when schools re-open. We'll be re-inventing the topics offered, as the subject of Movie Maker doesn't draw very many... maybe topics such as making and uploading videos to YouTube, and vacation videos to Trip Advisor... using Movie Maker as the tool rather than the primary subject.


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 www.papajohn.org

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story training and support services start at $75 per hour - send an email - 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 - check the Living Projects section of the website for samples of what you can expect for the online portion of a package.


© 2007 - PapaJohn; Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

About John 'PapaJohn' Buechler from Microsoft.com
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 www.PapaJohn.org. 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

 

 

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