Microsoft's Windows Live Photo Gallery is an enhanced clone of Vista's Photo Gallery... for use in XP or Vista. It's in the beta stage at the moment; here's the link to get it...
I'll check it out on my XP laptop, and compare its features to the app that comes with Vista. If you're already a user of Photo Gallery in Vista, you have the option of installing the beta and running two versions of it.
One of the things I like about Photo Gallery is that it includes a built-in image/video player that doesn't rely on the standard Windows Media Player (WMP).
WMP is an audio, image, and video player that stops the music when I open a video clip to preview, or watch a finished rendered movie or story. More annoying than the stopping is it not returning to the music at the point it stopped when I finish watching the video.
I had all but given up listening to music with WMP during movie and story working sessions.
Looking quickly at the image below, you might think it's Windows Media Player... but it's not. It's the player that comes with Photo Gallery. As I view pictures and video clips on my hard drive, I'm listening to URGE on my Windows Media Player.
Here's the main working window, camped on a folder of video files.
I'll go through the installation and operation on my XP laptop, and note difference between it and Photo Gallery in Vista. I have two Vista systems, an Ultimate SP1 version and a Home Basic one. Before getting into it, here's...
a couple notes...
I installed the beta version of Vista's SP1 over my Vista Ultimate desktop system. The download and installation went flawlessly. It overwrote the previous install completely as the option to do more of an incremental update was grayed out. The Photo Gallery app in SP1 hasn't changed, and I didn't see any changes to Movie Maker and DVD Maker.
Reading posts on the > microsoft.beta.vistasp1.beta_program newsgroup, I could have opted for an incremental update rather than blasting the previous install for a totally clean new one. Too late now!! Maybe that would have let me keep my registration key rather than being in 30 day trial without a key to continue.
calls are coming in routinely. I'm up to 13 so far and find myself turning off my availability signal when I need to get other work done. Each support request has been unique, interesting, makes for great conversation pieces, and has been very helpful to the customer.
.... back to the main topic...
Windows Live Photo Gallery
Installation and Setup... XP
As the name implies, the app in the XP environment has a strong connection with Windows Live. And it brings some of the latest software developments from Vista to XP. For example:
The default installation is to c:\Program Files\Windows Live\Photo Gallery, where six new executables and 31 DLLs are, ready for geeks and hackers to explore.
I had one issue... a routine and frequent enough to be irritating error message from Outlook Express. The Windows Search and Indexing features get installed with Photo Gallery. When they work in the background, which they do constantly, I get somewhat random but pretty frequent error messages from Outlook Express.
[Outlook Express Could not be started. It may not be installed correctly. Make sure that your disk is not full or that you are not out of memory. Contact Microsoft support for further assistance. (0x80004005, 183)]
I can usually open Outlook Express to get and read my email before the first one pops up. I can spend hours writing this newsletter without getting one, provided I open the draft and then close the main Outlook Express window.
As Vista doesn't support Outlook Express, I know it's just a matter of time until I'm forced to use something else as my email client. I try each option but don't like any of them near as much as Outlook Express. It's probably that I'm just used to it and see no reason to change.
The slideshow button at the bottom of the Photo Gallery main window starts a slideshow of the selected pictures.
Video clips are not included.
Let's go through the main menu options...
Files and menu options
You can include any folder on your hard drives. The supported files will show as thumbnails and others will be ignored. Some file types you won't see are:
Some show with generic or real thumbnails, but don't preview in the Photo Gallery player. The file types include:
In Vista you can drag/drop or copy/paste from the Photo Gallery to Movie Maker 6, but you can't do the same in XP with MM2.1.
An option under the File menu is to use the Photo Gallery as screen saver images... shuffle contents, select the folder used, even use all photos and videos from the Gallery.... it says that, but it won't let me use a folder with only video clips. On the other hand, the animated GIFs that won't show in the Gallery can be used as screen saver images. I'm not a big user of screen saver slide shows so I won't check these options further.
RAW Camera Files...
Here's the message Photo Gallery gave when I first tried to open an NEF file (RAW) taken by my Nikon D40x.
I opted for 'Download' and ended up getting the Nikon codec, one that the Vista Photo Gallery had issues with for a long time. This was a newer codec and worked fine on my XP laptop.
Hope this means the issue with Vista's Photo Gallery and the codec are also resolved with this release.
You can view the NEF files with the Gallery, but not 'Fix' them.
You can fix pictures but not video clips. This XP version has a much expanded set of fixing tools and settings than its original Vista counter-part.
When you 'fix' a picture, Windows saves a copy of the original in case you later want to undo the changes.
There's a setting to use if you don't mind deleting the originals to save space.
The printing interface when using your own printer looks a little different.
Vista's Photo Gallery ties into 10 online printing services but the beta on XP only supports 3 of them... Fujifilm, Shutterfly, and Kodak. Interesting...
Publish to Live Spaces or MSN Soapbox...
The menu includes a publishing feature... pictures can go to Live Spaces and videos to MSN Soapbox.
I didn't try the still pix as I don't use Live Spaces. But I selected a full one hour tape, a 13 GB DV-AVI file and told it to upload to Soapbox... here's the message about the limit.
It's maximum is twice the 10 minute limit of YouTube, and the uploaded file can be much better quality. I have videos on Soapbox so I didn't need to try it.
Photo Gallery offers options to resize images or send copies of the originals. Nice touch.
For videos, it attaches a copy of the original file... no interactive resizing option... these are the files that would need resizing the most. As you're into video, you don't need Photo Gallery to decide your compression option.
I have another operational issue... instead of opening an email with the file attached, I get the same Outlook Express error message I showed you before.... let me try closing this newsletter draft... that worked, but so did doing other things. Seems that I can't use the email option from Photo Gallery after I've gotten the pop-up error.
Make a Panoramic Image or Burn a Data CD...
I selected 18 images to try the panoramic feature. It wasn't effective at all... here's the composite I got.
Compare that to this image (reduced in size of course) from the same set of pictures, using Cool360, a feature of Ulead's PhotoImpact 12, one of the software apps I reviewed a couple weeks ago for BrightHub.
I burned a CD with 100 7 megapixel pictures... first I had to go to the properties of the drive and turn on the CD recording setting, as I had last used it to burn an iso file to a DVD.
After inserting the new CD in the drive, a new option in the list is to open it with Photo Gallery... I went with it and the viewing worked well.
That gets us through the main menu. Let's go back and explore one of the features, importing videos from a camcorder, a bit more...
Look in File > Options and you'll see a window with settings to use when importing (Vista's word) or capturing (XP's word) video from a camcorder.
Settings include an option to create multiple files, something not in MM2.1. I'll go with it. Note there's no option to end up with a compressed wmv file. This is a DV camcorder to DV-AVI file feature.
Let's take if for a spin. Plug in the mini-DV camcorder using a firewire cable, and turn on in the VTR/VCR mode... up pops the options that now include Windows Live Photo Gallery (my Movie Maker choice disappeared long ago in the list... don't know why).
On the next window name the video and opt for either the entire video or selected parts. I'll go with the entire one and then stop it manually at some point, knowing it'll let me keep what's been captured up to that point.
Here's a screen shot of the 'import' session... from the size and duration so far, it's a good bet it's capturing to a DV-AVI file. Note the tallying of any dropped frames. I'm taking screen shots and writing this newsletter as it captures, and there are no dropped frames.
I stopped the import after 8 minutes... still no dropped frames... then gave it the OK to process the footage captured so far, and got a crash of some sort, not a very elegant one.
That got me to looking for the temporary file that was captured up to that point. I found a 1.8 GB file named 2007-09-26 01.48.13 Newsletter 169.avi_temp_tmp (pretty impressive name, an avi double-temp!!!) and renamed the extension to .avi. I figured it was a temporary DV-AVI file but, in a pinch or to save recapturing, it would still work as a video file.
Here it is in Photo Gallery, where it played fine.
I imported it into MM2.1, previewed it in the collection, and did a right click to auto create clips. It made 31 of them.
My goal wasn't to get a good file, but to understand what was happening. My first retest without changing any settings used the first 4 minutes of the same tape... got the same crash but this time I paused things for some screen shots and head scratching.
One of the things offered during the crashing was the Data Execution Prevention list shown at the right. With the compatibility list of Movie Maker, we're used to such lists. In this list you need to check line items, not uncheck them. I checked 'Windows Live Import Video' to turn off DEP for the 3rd test.
The retest captured the same 4 minutes... this time without DEP protection. The process kept going and finished successfully, making multiple DV-AVI files from the single temporary one.
The temp and individual files were DV-AVI. The processed finished and the folder was automatically added to Photo Gallery.
If a full tape uses 13 GB in a temp DV-AVI file and the individual scene files use another 13 GB... be prepared with even more than usual free disc space.
This newsletter has gotten a bit longer than my usual one. I'll close it here...
Conclusion and Closing... and What's Next?
The Photo Gallery for XP is a keeper for my video making toolbox.
Have a great week!!
I look forward to comments and discussion about this and other newsletters on the forums at:
Have a great week...
Movie Maker, Photo Story 3, DVD Maker, Expression Media -
Photo Story 2 -
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
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.
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
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.
A large percentage of book sales are of electronic copies. The for the book provides a full table of contents and chapter summaries... and a link to a full free online copy of .
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 as a file download.
Microsoft Home (online magazine)
I and others you'll recognize were interviewed for an article about Movie Maker for a article... here's .
Movie Maker and Photo Story - - 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 - - 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 W
- for camcorder hardware and Apple, Windows, and any other video editing software. Include pictures in your posts to help explain them.
Newsgroups are wide open for all to view and post... moderation is collective by the participants.
Windows Vista newsgroup -
Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup -
Photo Story 2 newsgroup -
Photo Story 3 newsgroup -
Movie Maker/Photo Story newsletter. The subscription is for 52 issues, and a link to subscribe is on the main page of or the Products and Services page.
Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):
#170 - Oct 6 (open)
#171 - Oct 13 (open)
#172 - Oct 20 (open)
Newsletters issued more than 6 weeks ago are posted by Rob Morris to an 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...
Add-On Transitions and Effects
(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 , 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
- Volume 2
- Volume 3
I use lots of professional background music for movies and stories created by , and act as his agent selling tunes.
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.
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 . 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.
Mediashare is the preferred file download service for XP's Movie Maker users... there's a where I keep many of my samples and personal videos.
Check it at and the Distributing > Neptune page of the website, where there's a developing tutorial about how to use the service.
... and is the preferred video streaming service for XP. Many of the video samples for newsletter are on it.
Normal sized photo stories stream as well as or better than movies.
In conjunction with the , 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. .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 per hour - send an email - and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with you to plan and implement them.
Support Space - Catch me when I'm online and available at for a fully subsidized support session, at least during the 'closed beta' phase.
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, 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 and in the .
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.