How I produce my videos with Windows Vista

How I produce my videos with Windows Vista

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As you probably already noticed, I've been doing quite a bit of posts that include video demos of devices and software in my posts. A few folks have asked me how I produce these videos and I'd like to outline the exact process I use in producing these videos for a blog post.

For software demos (like my recent Windows Live SkyDrive demo) I use Camtasia Studio 4 to capture my screen and I publish out to a WMV file I then upload to MSN Soapbox.

However when shooting actual footage of me demoing a device (like the Fingerprint Reader) or events coverage (like WinHEC 2007) - I have a pretty standard step-by-step process I use every time I shoot video. First off: I always shoot video in HD (1080i specifically). Secondly: in grabbing and editing video I shoot of my digital camcorder, everything I use is a feature that ships in Windows Vista.  Let's take a look at my step-by-step process to see what I mean:

Step 1: I shoot the video using my Sony HDR-HC3 HDV Handycam which shoots in 1080i and 16:9 widescreen. For events, such as when I was at WinHEC, I shoot usually without a tripod. For footage such as close-up demos of hardware and devices - I have a tripod that I use with the camcorder to get steady footage. I don't want to make anyone seasick with wobbly video. The HDR-HD3 comes with a remote which allows me set up the camcorder and tripod for the best shot and quickly hit record without having to physically be behind the camera. I can focus on doing the video.

Step 2: After I shoot the video, I hook up my HDR-HDC to my Windows Vista PC via Firewire. Windows Vista automatically detects the camcorder without the need of searching for any required drivers which is absolutely wonderful.

Step 3: I open up Windows Movie Maker to import the footage off my HD-HDC. Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate come with the built-in ability to bring in raw HD footage off of a HD camcorder. I use Windows Vista Ultimate on the PC I use for producing my videos.

Step 4: Using the Import Video Wizard in Windows Movie Maker - I import my HD video shot from my camcorder into Windows Vista.

Step 5: Using Windows Movie Maker - I edit the clip I want to publish. I split the video, move video around, add transitions (I usually use "Fade") and also add custom graphics such as my Windows Vista Team Blog graphic you can see at the end of several of my videos.

Step 6: After I have the video edited to how I like it - I publish the video from Windows Movie Maker.

Step 7: Windows Movie Maker gives you several options in publishing videos. I choose to publish videos under the "Windows Media Portable Device" template which publishes videos out at 1.0Mbps, 640x480, and 30 frames per second. I've found this sitting gives me decent quality and small file sizes for publishing videos on MSN Soapbox.

Step 8: I take the video I published out from Windows Movie Maker and import it into MSN Soapbox. MSN Soapbox then lets me embed the video into a blog post.

That's how I produce videos for blog posts from shooting the footage to embedding the Soapbox player in a post.

Take note that Windows Vista natively supports bringing in HD content from a HD camcorder and lets you edit those HD videos. After importing my HD footage into Windows Vista, I can take that HD content and stream it to a HDTV using my Xbox 360. It looks wonderful. I can also burn it onto a DVD and give it to friends or family to watch too (just not in HD though). I sometimes take my HD video and put it onto my laptop to edit video while traveling too.

Because of the ease of producing videos with Windows Vista, you can continue to expect to see more videos here moving forward.

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  • Duane Duane
    52463 Posts

    I used to download video from my Canon DV ZR60 using a Firewire IEEE 1394 to Dell PC running Windows XP. I upgraded to Compac Presario SR 5410F running Vista Home Premium and cannot install Firewire PCI card. I have 3PCI Express slot available(2 X1 & 1X16). Is there an Express card that has a Firewire connection?

  • I am new to Vista and the Window Movie Maker. I also have XP on another laptop. I started a movie using Vista and saved it on a thumb drive to use on the laptop with XP. XP was unable to open the file started on Vista. Is there a compatibility problem and shouldn't the two systems be backwards compatible. What can I do to make them work on both systems?

  • Rach
    1 Posts

    I have a jvc gr-dx67 camcorder that came with image mixer 1.7 software that i used with xp but now have vista. the software is not compatible. if i get a firewire cable can i connect the camcorder to the pc and work direct with windows vista movie maker because so far via usb 2.0 movie maker is not finding camcorder.

    vista is finding camera when connected and downloading an updated driver but it appears that the lack of a compatible image mixer software is the problem.

    many thanks if anyone has advice. rach  

  • daffy
    1 Posts


    Does anyone know about how to import or convert a video to retain it's original format?

    I found that Windows Movie Maker automatically expand the video from 320x200 to a larger format like 800x600 which makes the video look very blocky.  I want the video to remain small but surrounded by black space.  At least the quality of the video will still look good.

    What's your recommendation?

    The same problem applies to importing photos.  I found that if my image size is 200x100 Windows Movie Maker will expand to some size like 800x600 and then the image quality is blocky and horrible.  I had to use Photoshop or similar graphics tool to open a 800x600 frame and then paste in the 200x100 image and then save the file. This way Windows Movie Maker thinks that the small image is a large image.


  • adrian
    63 Posts

    I don't have any problems with recording screen with Windows Media Encoder. One obvious tip is to just have enough extra RAM to pull it off.

  • plaudati, can you hook your Sony DVD camcorder to the PC using USB and import video that way into Windows Movie Maker?

    adir1, when you say you're not getting any picture - is there a colored screen? Let me know. You may need to update your graphics card driver to enable the picture in Windows Movie Maker. Try seeing if an update is available on Windows Update and if not, go to your graphics card manufacturer and see if there are updated drivers.

    - Brandon

  • adir1
    9 Posts

    I recently purchased Canon HV10 high definition camcorder. Using Windows Vista Premium, I am able to import the video from Camcorder to Vista's Movie Maker, but there is no picture (only sound). Any ideas? Is the codec that Canon uses not supported?

  • I recently attempted to make some videos mixing Camtasia with video from my Sony DVD camcorder.  I was dissapointed to learn that WMM does not allow you to import DVD video.  So, out of the box, I can't edit video from my camcorder.  I ended up downloading some 3rd party shareware to convert my DVD video to one of the WMM supported formats, but this shrunk my 16:9 video into a 4:3 format.  Ugh.  Not a great experience.  

    Any tips on how to edit DVD video in Vista?


  • carusen
    23 Posts

    Another similar tutorial + PingBack:

  • Spencer
    20 Posts

    I am also a big user of Camtasia Studio, it's how I record videos for DeskScapes.

    I was never a big user of Windows Movie Maker until Vista.  I found other solutions simply overkill for what I was trying to do.

  • When I try to save my edited movie in Movie Maker, it stop responding. it will never save (not saving project, but the movie file).

  • Albert
    94 Posts

    Brandon, I'll see. Windows Update and HP have two different graphics drivers that "compete" against each other. If I download one, the other source will say they have the latest. In the end, I don't know which one I left. Which should I go with?

  • Tomghan
    1 Posts

    Download videos direct to your PC, iPod, PSP, iPhone, Mobile, Mac..etc for free.. Its fast


    Convert to more popular format like .WMV .MOV, .MP4, .3GP, .MP3 etc

  • Alber1690, you might to make sure you have the latest graphics drivers from either the hardware manufacturer or Windows Update. This might help clear up some of the issues you're having with Windows Movie Maker.

    - Brandon

  • Albert
    94 Posts

    Well, personally I've had various problems with Vista's Windows Movie Maker. So many that I had to download XP's version for Windows Vista. The same with Windows DVD Maker, as soon as I enter the menu selection, the application crashes and I'm never able to go past that. I hope SP1 fixes these issues because I was really excited about both programs and so far I've only been dissapointed.