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Old 06-26-2010, 08:22 AM
Jason Dunn
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29,160
Default Zune HD and Windows Phone Output Profile Now Included in Windows Live Movie Maker

In 2008, I was involved in an early beta of the new Windows Live Movie Maker, and I interacted with a friendly Microsoft Product Manager for that program. When the Zune HD came out, I started a little email campaign to get Windows Live Movie Maker to support the Zune HD with an optimized output profile - I really wanted to see Microsoft support their own product.

If you look to the left, I've taken a screenshot of the Mobile Device output profiles from the new Windows Live Movie Maker beta (a.k.a. Wave 4), and wouldn't you know it, there are output profiles for the Zune HD device, and the Zune HD 720p profile, for video output via the dock. Sweet!

I'm not claiming credit for this of course - it wouldn't have been added unless many people asked for the same thing - but hopefully my attempts to connect the right person on the Zune team to the right person on the Windows Live Movie Maker team helped move things along. You'll also notice they've added two Windows Phone profiles - another great sign that the Windows Live Movie Maker team is paying attention to what the rest of Microsoft is doing, and making attempts to be in sync.

This has been a historic flaw of Microsoft's; previous versions of Windows Movie Maker were still using 320 x 240 Pocket PC profiles from five years ago. It's like no one on that team was told newer and better devices had come out, and they weren't called Pocket PCs any more. 

Unfortunately, the Windows Live Photo Gallery team didn't get the memo - unless I'm mistaken, there's still no way to batch resize (or resize even one photo) to a Zune HD-sized screen or a Windows Phone screen. Since the Zune software will resize the photos upon sync for the Zune HD, this isn't much of a problem - but neither ActiveSync nor Windows Mobile Device Center will resize images today for Windows Phones, so this is a clear oversight. Guess I'll keep using Picasa for that!

Now, some details about the output profiles:

  • Windows Phone (Large): 854 x 480, widescreen, 5.13 mbps WMV
  • Windows Phone (Small): 426 x 240, widescreen, 1.6 mbps WMV
  • Zune HD (for 720p Display): 1280 x 720, widescreen, 12.26 mpbs WMV
  • Zune HD (for Device): 484 x 272, widescreen, 2.13 mbps WMV

If you're curious about the 854 x 480 resolution on the Windows Phone profile, knowing as we do that the screen resolution of the first Windows Phones will be either 800 x 480, or 480 x 320, it's because in order to maintain the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, the resolution needs to be 854 x 480...if they shrank it down to fit 800 pixels wide, they'd have to reduce the vertical pixels (when in landscape mode of course) to 426 pixels. So what we'll see instead is the video playback software doing a slight scaling of the video content. Hopefully the quality of the scaling will remain high, and the video will look good. There's a "Create Custom Setting" option for advanced users that want to tweak things their own way, which is a welcome addition.

While I wish Windows Live Movie Maker had MPEG4 (h.264) output instead of only WMV output, the additions to the program are quite impressive and it's great to see other teams at Microsoft acknowledging and supporting Microsoft platforms.

UPDATE: If you're not seeing those exact output options, it means your project isn't a widescreen project. Look under the Project tab, and toggle it to widescreen.

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