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
, 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

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
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.

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