This just in from the "Whoda Thunk?" Department, Microsoft has added features to its iMovie rip-off MovieMaker that iMovie has had for two years. MovieMaker is the consumer digital video editing software that Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates audaciously called innovative when it was announced several months after Apple released iMovie. The company has released a beta version of MovieMaker 2 for Windows XP, and chief among the new features are support for FireWire, [Editoris Note: one irate Observer indignantly says in the comments below that FireWire support has been present for two years], and the zany new concept of transitional effects. From a Microsoft press release:
Microsoft Corp. today released the beta version of Windows® Movie Maker 2 for Windows XP, a new and completely redesigned video editing feature of the Microsoft® Windows XP operating system. Using state-of-the-art technology, Windows Movie Maker 2 offers dramatic improvements for Windows XP customers to remove the complexity and confusion from home video editing. Beyond breakthroughs in ease of use, Windows Movie Maker 2 offers deep and powerful new features with over 130 new kinds of video effects, titles and transitions to help even novice PC users create their own home movies with a professional touch.
FireWire support is included MovieMaker 2 movies are output as Windows Media Player files. MovieMaker 2 has one foot up on iMovie in that it can make VCDs without third party software.
[Update: The original press release said that MovieMaker 2 could make VCDs, while the current version of the press release as posted on Microsoftis Web site omits the term VCD. VCD is an open standard that can be played on many types of consumer DVD players. According to the press release and the MovieMaker 2 Web site as they currently read, MovieMaker 2 can only burn CDs in Window Media 9 or DV-AVI format, both of which are proprietary Microsoft and limit the burned CD to Windows machines, or software video players that support the format in question. Thanks to Observer Graeme Bennett for keeping us on our toes on this. - Editor]
DVDs, however, can only be burned using third-party DVD burning utilities for Windows. Appleis iDVD is included with Macs that have DVD burners. You can find more information on MovieMaker 2 at Microsoftis Web site. On that site it s comparison chart that pits MovieMaker 2 against iMovie 2. That chart, as posted by Microsoft:
Feature Description Windows Movie Maker 2 Apple iMovie Support for analog and digital cameras Builtin transitions
Industryleading compression technology Publish directly to the Web Automatic movie creation Easytouse wizards for common tasks Taskbased interface for better ease of use Windows Media® compatible Support for burning DVDs* Save video back to tape
This chart shows that MovieMaker has the edge in included transitions, titles, and effects, though it makes no mention of the free add-on pack offered by Apple that includes more such effects. All of the other "missingi iMovie features would be considered subjective by most people, and the reliance upon Windows Media is most likely a liability. It should also be pointed out that support for burning DVDs requires third party software, and is not actually included within MovieMaker 2 itself, despite Microsoftis attempts to suggest it does above.