Posts Tagged ‘Video’

HowTo: Download and install Windows Live Movie Maker

Unfortunately, Microsoft seems to have gone to extra lenghts to make the Windows Live suite of software go away, without anyone thinking that there were people who were using them and without offering file/project-level compatible replacements for user-friendly tools like Windows Live Movie Maker.

Only Windows Live Writer was at some point reincarnated as the Open Live Writer opensource software at Hope Microsoft will do the same at some point (some community pressure and offer for opensource work on it would help of course) with Windows Live Movie Maker at least. I’ve seen that one used by educators since it’s very user friendly. It is a pitty to force them to throw away their older student projects when they get a new machine (I’m not aware of any video editing tool that can import Windows Live Movie Maker’s XML-based project file [.wlmp]).

Luckily, people have managed to locate the latest archived versions of the offline software installers (obviously the web installers won’t work anymore) for various languages (need to pick the same language as the one your OS UI is displaying in) at the Internet Wayback Machine ( website.

Copy-pasting the links (they point to archived versions at for the latest version released (build 16.4.3528.0331, April 17, 2014) below (in case Microsoft decides to make that discussion thread disappear too in the future) from:

as posted by the user “considerate_guy

updated links to the copies of the *latest* versions (build 16.4.3528.0331)


Fix: Transform Manager ignoring media files added to watch folders

I’ve been puzzled for some days now with the IIS Transform Manager installation we have at ClipFlair for automating the conversion of media files (for example using Microsoft Expression Encoder) into IIS Smooth Streams.

The watch folder I’ve set up for this task was ignoring some of the media files I was dropping in for no apparent reason (e.g. it was picking up some .MP4 files but not other .MP4 ones).

Eventually I realized that the files it wasn’t picking up didn’t have at their Properties/Security tab access rights for the user account that has been assigned to the Transform Manager service, while the processed files (it keeps them at the “WorkQueue/Finished” subfolder” under the watch folder for the respective job [e.g. “Smooth (VC1)”]) had full access rights for that account.

Obviously by dropping them in the watch folder that had those rights assigned they also got the same rights, but not all the filed did. Maybe it is some Windows Server 2008 R2 bug when dropping multiple files together into a folder, not sure though. Adding the needed rights to each of those files, Transform Manager watch folder task immediately pulled them for processing (and soon put them into the “WorkQueue/Running”)

Another thing I noted was that at the Watch Folder task’s (say the “Video files to VC-1 Smooth Streams” ) “Scheduler” tab, at “Concurrent Jobs”, the default setting was set to 1. If you control how many files are placed in the watch folder (e.g. users aren’t uploading files there themselves) you can even check the value “Unlimited” there to process all the dropped files in parallel.

Opensource movies from Blender project

Opensource movies made with Blender (


At the download page for some of them you can also find subtitle files.

Also at list of featured Blender movies ( I see the movie Project London which says there it’s an opensource project, but can’t find the movie download (maybe not available yet, just the trailer for now):

HowTo: Multi-row captions and wrapping at Silverlight Media Framework

One of the main goals of the ClipFlair project is to explore the use of Video Captioning (together with Revoicing) for Foreign Language Learning (FLL). There both are important enhancements compared to the simpler two-line subtitling that was put in use in its ancestor project LeViS.

Captioning means that multi-row text is needed while text wrapping is also useful, especially if cartoon-like balloons over the video area are to also be examined as an option. Implementing multi-row captions and caption wrapping was a bit tricky in the SMF based player, due to the lack of relevant documentation, so adding some relevant notes below.

As I discuss in more detail near the end of the discussiion at, the way I finally managed to make SMF player show multi-row captions is by setting the caption region bounds (via Origin and Extend properties of the CaptionRegion object) to take up nearly all the video area and combined it with DisplayAlign = DisplayAlign.After (to bottom align the caption rows group) and Overflow = Overflow.Dynamic (to extend the visible caption area dynamically inside the defined bounds).

Regarding caption wrapping there seems to be a bug in SMF, it wraps caption text at the video boundary instead of at the caption region max boundary (as defined by Origin/Extend properties of the CaptionRegion object). Have reported it at:

A workarround for caption wrapping to work perfectly is to set top to 0 for the origin and set extend width to 100% for the caption region, but this won’t be useful if you want to show cartoon-like bubbles on the video for some captions. If Microsoft don’t fix that in the near future I guess I’ll have to fix it myself at the source-code of SMF (luckicly it’s an open-source project).

The relevant code snippet  from for the MediaPlayer component is:

private const double CAPTION_REGION_LEFT = 0; //0.05;
private const double CAPTION_REGION_TOP = 0.05;
private const double CAPTION_REGION_WIDTH = 1; //0.9; //SMF 2.7 has a bug here,
//it wraps caption text at the video boundary instead of at the
//caption region max boundary (as defined by Origin and Extend)
private const double CAPTION_REGION_HEIGHT = 0.9; public static void StyleCaptions(CaptionRegion theCaptions) { if (theCaptions == null) return; theCaptions.Style.ShowBackground = ShowBackground.WhenActive;
//doesn't seem to work if other than transparent color is used theCaptions.Style.BackgroundColor = Colors.Transparent; //set caption region (max) bounds theCaptions.Style.Origin = new Origin() {
Left = new Length() {
Unit = LengthUnit.Percent, Value = CAPTION_REGION_LEFT },
Top = new Length() {
Unit = LengthUnit.Percent, Value = CAPTION_REGION_TOP } }; theCaptions.Style.Extent = new Extent() {
Width = new Length() {
Unit = LengthUnit.Percent, Value = CAPTION_REGION_WIDTH },
Height = new Length() {
Unit = LengthUnit.Percent, Value = CAPTION_REGION_HEIGHT } }; //theCaptions.Style.Direction = Direction.LeftToRight; theCaptions.Style.DisplayAlign = DisplayAlign.After;
//align multirow catpions to bottom of region theCaptions.Style.TextAlign = TextAlignment.Justify;
//horizontally center captions theCaptions.Style.WrapOption = TextWrapping.Wrap;
//wrap too long captions to next row theCaptions.Style.Overflow = Overflow.Dynamic;
//extends the area for the captions as needed, up to the given Extent foreach (CaptionElement caption in theCaptions.Children) StyleCaption(caption); }

public static void StyleCaption(TimedTextElement theCaption) { if (theCaption == null) return; theCaption.CaptionElementType = TimedTextElementType.Text; theCaption.Style.ShowBackground = ShowBackground.WhenActive; theCaption.Style.BackgroundColor = Color.FromArgb(100, 0, 0, 0);
//use a semi-transparent background theCaption.Style.Color = Colors.White; Length length = new Length { Unit = LengthUnit.Pixel, //must use this, since the default LengthUnit.Cell
//used at TimedTextStyle constructor is not supported
Value = 20 }; theCaption.Style.FontSize = length; }

I also tried setting Padding property at the code above in case it would help with the correct wrapping, but it somehow results in crashing Silverlight (may be related to the fact that I have hardware acceleration enabled for our Silverlight app).

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HowTo: Hide Video area of Silverlight Media Framework Player

Since our onoing project ClipFlair is a follow-up of the succesful project LeViS, during its development I’m also looking at covering possible use-cases I infer from feedback entries at LvS application issue tracker on Codeplex (note that ClipFlair is also opensourced on Codeplex at

One such issue ( was titled “Allow video hiding while controller is visible for audio only”, so since Silverlight Media Framework (SMF) is used for the media player in ClipFlair, I looked into how to tell it to hide the video area.

Well, it seems that to hide the video and hear just the audio in SMFPlayer one needs to set MediaPresenterElement‘s (a property of SMFPlayer class) MaxWidth and MaxHeight to 0. One can do that at an overriden OnApplyTemplate method in a class descding from SMFPlayer, or could also do it at a custom SMF player template.

Note that setting MediaPresenterElement’s Visibility property to Visibility.Collapsed makes the player not load the video at all, so that one was not an option.

One could define a VideoVisible DependencyProperty at a class descending from SMFPlayer:

    #region VideoVisible

    /// <summary>
    /// VideoVisible Dependency Property
    /// </summary>
    public static readonly DependencyProperty VideoVisibleProperty =
        DependencyProperty.Register("VideoVisible", typeof(bool), 
typeof(MediaPlayer), new FrameworkPropertyMetadata(false, FrameworkPropertyMetadataOptions.None, new PropertyChangedCallback(OnVideoVisibleChanged))); /// <summary> /// Gets or sets the VideoVisible property. /// </summary> public bool VideoVisible { get { return (bool)GetValue(VideoVisibleProperty); } set { SetValue(VideoVisibleProperty, value); } } /// <summary> /// Handles changes to the VideoVisible property. /// </summary> private static void OnVideoVisibleChanged(DependencyObject d,
DependencyPropertyChangedEventArgs e) { MediaPlayer target = (MediaPlayer)d; bool oldVideoVisible = (bool)e.OldValue; bool newVideoVisible = target.VideoVisible; target.OnVideoVisibleChanged(oldVideoVisible, newVideoVisible); } /// <summary> /// Provides derived classes an opportunity to handle changes to the
/// VideoVisible property.
/// </summary> protected virtual void OnVideoVisibleChanged(bool oldVideoVisible,
bool newVideoVisible) { MediaPresenterElement.MaxWidth = (newVideoVisible)?
double.PositiveInfinity : 0; MediaPresenterElement.MaxHeight = (newVideoVisible) ?
double.PositiveInfinity : 0; } #endregion


At first, to restore the MaxWidth/MaxHeight to show the video area again I tried to set them to double.NaN which didn’t work. Then I checked MaxWidth documentation which was saying:

The maximum width of the element, in device-independent units (1/96th inch per unit). The default value is PositiveInfinity. This value can be any value equal to or greater than 0.0. PositiveInfinity is also valid.


String representation of a Double value equal to or greater than 0.0. This is interpreted as a device-independent unit (1/96th inch) measurement. Strings need not explicitly include decimal points. For instance a value of 1 is acceptable.

The same Double range restrictions as mentioned in the Property Value section apply, except that you must use x:Static Markup Extension to set the value to be PositiveInfinity.

Per the 1st quote, one just needs to set MaxWidth or MaxHeight to double.PositiveInfinity (and not double.NaN that I originally expected) to reset it to its default value, that is behave as if a maximum width or height respectively has never been set.

As for the second quote, it basically says that XAML double fields need special treatment in order to specify a positive infinity value (if you ever need to, since you’d usually just skip the MaxWidth/MaxHeight field, unless you need to override some non-default inherited value). You would need to define a XAML namespace to point to the System namespace at mscorlib assembly (library), either at the root control in the XAML or directly where you need it:



      MaxWidth=”{x:Static sys:Double.PositiveInfinity}”

      MaxHeight=”{x:Static sys:Double.PositiveInfinity}”



BTW, to hide the controller bar (called ControlStrip in SMF) you just set IsControlStripVisible property to false.

Collection of Smooth Streaming Video URLs

Here are some Smooth Streaming URLs I found on the Internet that you could use during development to test your smooth streaming players (like those based on SMF).

If you haven’t yet started building your SMF-based player you can try the following URLs here:

Update: you can also try Smooth Stream URLs at ClipFlair Studio Silverlight-based application, turning over its Clip component (using the “Wrench” button on its titlebar) and pasting the Media URL there. Alternatively, you can launch it directly using a URL of the form (this one also features multiple audio streams, director’s comments in english and also english and spanish dialogs) SuperSpeedway_720.ism/Manifest

At the same test server one can also find two audio-only smooth streams: BigBuckBunny_720p.ism/Manifest Elephants_Dream_1024-h264-st-aac.ism/manifest

Also found some (probably) Bollywood movie:

You can use the following search query to search for “.ism/Manifest”:

A good source found is

which seems to be from

Some more URLs (use the unencrypted ones that write CLEAR) are found at:

MSN Video’s Soapbox service shutting down

Bad news regarding Soapbox service from the MSN Video Team:

MSN will no longer offer Soapbox, the user generated video service within MSN Video, as of August 31, 2009. Beginning on July 29, you will no longer be able to upload videos to Soapbox.

People who have uploaded videos to Soapbox will have until August 31, 2009 to download them. Please make sure you download your videos by this date if you would like to keep them. We will have a notice running in the Soapbox service to remind you to download your videos. It is our goal that you download and keep all of the videos you uploaded that are important to you.

Online video is a key part of the MSN experience and we will continue to offer a rich experience on MSN Video. We will also continue to invest in delivering great customer experiences, while keeping a keen eye on our business objectives during this tough economic climate. Thank you for your support of MSN Video.

More details and download instructions are available at:

As alternative services I’d suggest Vimeo, YouTube or else Metacafe

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