Moviemaker 2.1 problem



With MM 2.1, I imported an .mpg file into it (MPEG-2, 640x480 res). (I do
have capability to play MPEG-2 video on the computer, by the way, including
WinDVD, etc.) In the clip list, I saw it, the first frame one would see in
the movie. I dragged it into the storyboard. However, then when I clicked
the Play arrow, I heard the sound from the movie, but the preview window
remained black, no picture. (This is a home movie, no kind of copy
protection, BTW.)

I thought this might just be a problem with Preview, but I would go ahead
and create the movie. My intention was, out of this over 3GB MPEG-2 movie,
to make a much smaller 320x240 .WMV movie to play on my Pocket PC. I chose
the Profile for Pocket PC 218kbps "full-screen" (meaning 320x240,
full-screen on a PPC with screen of that resolution). Just that one clip,
about two hours worth. (I have used this profile before, with no problems.)

I went through all the steps. At the final step, when I clicked the button
to start encoding the movie, I got an error message like "cannot create
movie", with no explanation for why not. I had plenty of disc space free,
40GB or so, plenty of internal memory (1 1/4 GB on computer, nothing else
running), etc.

Now I'm guessing there is some kind of connection between that and the fact
that the video did not show in the preview mode, and the fact that the movie
would not render at the end. I don't know that, just a guess, that these two
problems might be related.

Anyone know what's going on? Anyone know how I can fix this, in order to
complete the project?


Wojo said:
WMM does not work with mpeg2 video.
You need to convert it to AVI first and then use that in your project.

Are you sure about that? I really thought I had done such a conversion
before, MPEG-2 to WMV, using WMM. How about MPEG-1?

Also, one would think that if WMM did not work with a particular type of
video, it would not open it at all. Yet, it did import this .mpg, you could
see the first frame there in the cliplist, etc.

I'm not saying you're wrong. Just checking if you are sure about that,
because I thought I have made such conversions before. (Not recently,
however, so perhaps my memory fails me.)

I know that WMP will not play MPEG-2 video, if one has not already
installed another program that plays MPEG-2 (like a software DVD player), as
a codec for MPEG-2 does not come with Windows. Could that be what you are
referring to? In my case, however, such software is installed, and WMP will
play MPEG-2s.

PapaJohn \(MVP\)

I use MM2 as a conversion tool for some MPEG-2 files.... if they go to the
collection, and then the timeline, you might be able to render it to a
DV-AVI or WMV file..... but it doesn't always make it without crashing....

If it works, the conversion is easy... if not, I go to other software. But I
always convert the MPEG-2 files to something else before relying on them in
a project.

Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 website -
MM2 Tips and Tricks:
Online Newsletters:


PapaJohn (MVP) said:
Wojo is right... the Importing Source Files > Video > MPEG-2 page of my
website has some pointers if you need them.

I've looked at that page, and according to it, he isn't quite right. He
writes that MPEG-2 does not work with MM2, a blanket statement. According to
your page, there have been a lot of problems with MPEG-2 and MM2, but not a
statement that it never works.

In fact, thinking about it more, I'm pretty sure that I have done it
successfully before. It might have been with MM 2.0 however, and now I have
2.1. (I think there is something on your page to the effect that there has
been more problems with MPEG-2 in MM 2.1 than there was in 2.0.) Is it
possible to revert to 2.0, using the Windows XP CD, without having to
reinstall Windows? What advantages are there in 2.1?

It sure would be nice to find another solution to this problem, other than
having to convert the MPEG-2 to AVI or another format first. Anyone have any

Is it caused by a codec conflict? Many of us have more than one MPEG-2 codec
on our systems, from installing more than one DVD-playing software app, etc.
Could there be a conflict between these? Would it help to uninstall some?

PapaJohn \(MVP\)

Yes... it's a matter of degree, not a black and white situation. When MM2
was released, we expected it, with the right codec, to handle MPEG-2 files.
But the collective user experiences didn't support it.

Some isolated but credible reports of success were mixed with an
overwhelming number of those reporting problems. My personal guidance
changed over time from 'you can handle them with the right codec' to 'you
should convert them to AVI files before using them in Movie Maker',
something I've been adhering to for a long time now.

The average user isn't a geek, and the understanding of codec settings and
priorities is beyond them.... unless expressed in an easy to follow and
understandable way. I haven't been able to understand it enough to write
about it, and I haven't seen any references that do it. And MPEG-2 files in
my projects result in MM2 crashing.

Sometimes the marketing material info up front just doesn't pan out for the
vast majority of users. Wojo is much more right than not. He'll save much
grief by steering users toward conversions.

Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 website -
MM2 Tips and Tricks:
Online Newsletters:


Correctamundo! There is no need to overthink the situation. Even if it
PARTIALLY works, that still means it DOESN'T work, so it is best to convert
the file. Contrary to what seems to be popular opinion this is NOT the big
deal or the big lengthy extra step people think it is. There seems to be
more time spent agonizing about this stuff than just plain doing the job.
Buy AVS Converter and not only can you convert the MPEG in question, you can
put it directly into Quicktime in the format you are choosing. Eliminate
all the steps and don't sweat the small stuff..... you can always convert it
to avi too, if you wish to edit it first in Movie Maker. Good luck.


dickmr said:
Correctamundo! There is no need to overthink the situation.

Well, I wouldn't call being clear and precise about things "overthinking".

If the situation is that many people have had problems using MPEG-2 files in
MM2, although it sometimes works, better to say that, IMO, than to say
"MPEG-2 files cannot be used in MM2", which is not quite the case. With the
latter statement, people like me, who have before converted an MPEG-2 to WMV
using MM2, will of course say, "wait a minute......"

Does anyone know if Microsoft is working on fixing this problem? MPEG-2 is
certainly one of the most common compression codecs for video, the one used
in DVDs, and it would certainly be much simpler to be able to do the
conversion directly, without converting into a different format first. Are
they aware of the problems with it, and working on a fix? Anyone know?

There are problems with converting into a different format in between. For
one, each conversion takes hours. Converting into DV-AVI, as some have
suggested, requires a very large amount of free disk space, perhaps 10 times
or more the disk space taken by the MPEG-2 file.

And-every time there is a conversion (recompression) from one
lossy-compressed format to another, there is some loss of quality. If the
original intent was to convert from one lossy format into another (MPEG-2
into WMV), converting first with a different compression codec involves more
quality loss.

Just stating that, it certainly would be better if this problem in the
software could be fixed. I hope Microsoft is working on a fix for it.

In the meantime, how would one revert to MM 2.0? As I said (and I think I
saw on your web site too), I don't think 2.0 had as much problems with
MPEG-2 files as MM2.1 has.


PapaJohn (MVP) said:
You would revert to MM2.0 by rolling back from SP 2 to SP1.

Of course. But what about just rolling back MM2.1 to 2.0, not rolling back
one's whole OS?

Are there any advantages to 2.1?


Ok your right it is not 100% the way I made it sound but considering that
there are people constantly writing to this forum because of issues from
trying to use MPEG2 files in WMM then why even bother trying since they so
very rarely work? We could go back and forth all month on the subject but in
the end the fact still seems to be that they very very rarely work.


What a bummer! I purchased PapaJohn's book and was so excited to use MM2 to
make quality home movies. But, as a busy mother of three young children, I
don't have the time to research this subject any further or deal with time
consuming conversions. I've yet to find the name of any conversion software
and Sony flat out told me that I cannot use MM2 for making movies from my
Does anyone know if Microsoft will be correcting this problem in the near


Thanks for your reply, Graham.
I have a sony handycam DCR-101 that uses mini dvds. It came with pixela
imagemaker software which actually works pretty well. But the exciting
transitions and user friendly appearance of MM2 really appealed to me....


Pls help..i have movie maker 2.1..i am able to import pictures and add
transitions,effects etc on the storyboard/timeline..but when i click the play
button on the preveiw pane the screen is blank!..i can hear audio and i can
see the scroller on the timeline moving frm pic to pic...but nothing gets
displayed..not even on full screen!..moreover when i save it as a movie on my
comp it works fine...and also when i took tht movie to a friend's computer it
shows preveiw there!


I am having the exact same problem, have all my drivers up todate, have done
everything I can think of, including hours of searching through data bases.
No luck on an answer. I have used JPEG images before without a problem, now
I can't even make a title screne and view it in preview. I'm not even
dealing with video, just stills and I don't know what the problem is, but I
am willing to find a new program if someone has a suggestion for one that
works simular to movie maker, since movie maker no longer works apparently.

I have a project handed to me last minute that I really need to get done and
can't even get it started. Would some one please give an answer that is
short, sweet and to the point.

With much appreciation for all the time it takes to help me, when I am not
good at tech terms.

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