Thursday, September 18, 2008
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 07:43 PM
I try not to be too critical of software with the word "beta" in the title, but Windows Live Movie Maker Beta should really be considered alpha software - it's got a long way to go, and is missing so many features that it can't possibly be considered beta software. And this is coming from someone who's a fan of Movie Maker. Usually by the time software reaches the beta stage, all the major features are there, and it's just a matter of polishing the code and tweaking things. This software? You can't even edit a video clip! In fact, there's no timeline. Without a timeline, how can this be "movie making" software? The more I use it the more I think this product is mis-named: it's really closer to Photostory, sans everything that made Photostory cool (the Ken Burns pans and zooms). It's really just slideshow software.
Basically all you can do with it right now is import videos and pictures, add a music track, make your photos sepia or B&W, and upload your final production to MSN Soapbox. Oh, and save locally as a 430 x 320 WMV file at 583 kbps. That's it. I really hope by the time the product goes final they'll have added a bunch of export options, including a custom option with multi-pass encoding so I can select the exact bit rate and resolution that I want.
The good news is that it can import a variety of video file formats, including WMV, AVI, DVR-MS, MPG, MP4, and even VOB files! The latter two impress me, though they need to add MTS (AVCHD) to that list if they want to provide a solution for people working with modern video cameras. AVCHD support might entail paying Sony a royalty, which is hard for a free product to do, but since Windows Live desktop software is being positioned as an alternative to Apple's iLife, Microsoft needs to make it as useful to Windows Vista owners as possible. They've also added support for third-party publishing plugins, allowing publishing to Smugmug and Flickr for instance - that's great to see, because that's Microsoft acknowleding that not everyone is going to use their services.
Want to check it our for yourself now that I've made it seem so appealing? ;-) Download it.