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RealTime IT News

Microsoft Movie Maker 2: The Sequel

Software giant Microsoft on Friday released its Windows Movie Maker 2 beta for Windows XP, a video editing tool that promises to simplify home movie-making for consumers.

The Movie Maker, which comes with built-in support for Windows Media Video 9 compression, is seen as Microsoft's latest response to the well-chronicled moved by rival RealNetworks to embrace the open-source community in the battle for control of the digital media sector.

With its heralded Windows Media 9 (formerly 'Corona') platform winning contracts with the likes of Movielink, Microsoft has turned it attention to the consumer market, moving to convince XP users that home video-editing can be down with just a few mouse clicks.

Movie Maker, a free product as part of the XP license, can automatically grab video from a camcorder, edit and analyze clips and create a short home movie, complete with music and credit, the company said. The software lets users store in native resolution the equivalent of 15 one-hour DV tapes in just 10 GB of hard drive space - 1/20th the size of DV-AVI.

Movie Maker 2, which supports high-speed FireWire connections, also comes with a new feature called AutoMovie which promises to make the movie-making process a five-minute job. "In just a few clicks of a mouse, home video from an analog or digital video (DV) camera and digital photos can be transformed into fully edited home movies ready to be easily shared via the Web or e-mail, recorded back to a DV camera burned on CD or burned on DVD using third-party software," Microsoft said.

Windows Movie Maker 2 also includes nearly 30 video effects to jazz up home movies, video transitions to set scene changes with creative fades, wipes and other effects commonly used on television shows. It is built with more than 40 titles and credits, Microsoft said.

Separately, Microsoft also release the WMP9 Release Candidate Friday, adding upgrades to earlier beta releases. For Windows XP, the new Release Candidate upgrade includes a Media Link tool to let users e-mail shortcuts to highlights from streamed news, presentations and home movies.

It also comes with HighM.A.T. CD-burning and synchronized lyrics support for viewing or adding lyrics to music files that can be displayed in Now Playing and Full Screen modes.