Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

Official blog for the Windows Live Digital Memories Experience team

March, 2007

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Canon RAW Codec for Vista release

    • 11 Comments

    Canon has released their RAW codec for Windows Vista.  To download it:

    • Visit http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=DownloadIndexAct
    • Category = “EOS (SLR) Camera Systems”, Product Type = “Digital EOS Cameras” and then choose your camera model from the third dropdown
    • Click Go
    • Click the “Drivers / Software” link at the top of the page
    • Choose the Canon RAW Codec  1.0
    • Download and run the executable

    The codec will support .CR2 RAW files, but not .CRW files.  It includes support for the following cameras:

    • EOS-1Ds Mark II
    • EOS-1D Mark III
    • EOS-1D Mark II N
    • EOS-1D Mark II
    • EOS 5D
    • EOS 30D
    • EOS 20D
    • EOS 400D DIGITAL
    • EOS DIGITAL REBEL XTi
    • EOS Kiss Digital X
    • EOS 350D DIGITAL
    • EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT
    • EOS Kiss Digital N

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Nikon RAW Codec Update

    • 6 Comments

    Nikon has posted an updated version of its RAW codec for Windows Vista. Nikon and Microsoft had received reports of compatibility issues that we initially addressed in a previous blog post.

    The Fix
    The updated codec corrects the incompatibility issues that were previously reported. NEF files that are tagged in Windows Vista using the new codec should be readable by third-party applications, such as Adobe® Photoshop® software. Files that had previously been tagged in the initial version of the codec should also now be readable by third-party applications once they have been tagged on a system with the updated codec installed.

    Other Changes
    In addition to the fix described above, there are a few other minor changes:

    • The download package is now correctly signed.
    • A memory leak has been fixed.
    • The installer checks OS version before installing, and does not install on the 64-bit version of Windows Vista.

    Background
    The .NEF file format is a proprietary file format defined by Nikon, and incompatibilities can occur when third-parties attempt to reverse-engineer this format. The Nikon codec wrote metadata to the file in a manner which, while technically correct, was unexpected by many third parties. So there was no loss or corruption of data in these files, they simply became unreadable because these applications did not know how to interpret the changes. Applications that relied on the Nikon codec, or otherwise understood how to interpret the contents of the NEF files were not affected. The updated codec writes the metadata to the files in a way which is less prone to confuse other applications.

    Get the Fix
    The updated codec can be downloaded here. The Photo Gallery update mechanism will also take you to the updated codec. 

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    HD Photo

    • 4 Comments

    Last week at PMA, Microsoft formally announced HD Photo. For more information on HD Photo, head over to Bill Crow’s blog. The official press release can be found here. Here’s a summary of the important details:

    • Microsoft is announcing HD Photo, a new format for end-to-end digital photography which offers higher image quality, greater preservation of data, and advanced features for today’s digital imaging applications
    • The HD Photo Device Porting Kit, used to implement HD Photo in devices and other platforms
    • Royalty free licensing
    • A free set of HD Photo plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop, developed in conjunction with Adobe
    • Microsoft is committed to standardizing the HD Photo technology

    HD Photo overview & details:

    • A new format for end-to-end digital photography which offers higher image quality, greater preservation of data, and advanced features for today’s digital imaging applications
    • Key benefits include:
      • Better Image Fidelity: Preserving all the original image content, enabling the highest quality exposure and color adjustments
      • State of the art compression: Up to twice the efficiency of JPEG with fewer damaging artifacts, and scalable to lossless
      • Powerful Features: Decode only the information needed for any resolution or region, or manipulate the image as compressed data
    • Technical Details
      • Support for the Widest Range of Pixel Formats
      • High Performance, Low Footprint Algorithm
      • Advanced Decoding and Transformation Operations
      • Better image quality in a file that is up to ½ the size of JPEG
      • Lossless and lossy compression with the same algorithm
      • Lossy compression is much less destructive than JPEG
      • An efficient, portable photo interchange format that preserves the entire dynamic range
    • HD Photo Support in Microsoft products:
      • Windows Vista in-box support
      • Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 support via Windows Imaging Component (WIC), a free download
      • Windows Imaging Component (WIC)
      • HD Photo Device Porting Kit
      • NET Framework 3.0
      • XML Paper Specification (XPS) – The XPS format utilizes the HD Photo format to store image data
      • Photo Info Power Toy
      • Microsoft Expression Family
      • HD Photo plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop

    - pixblog

     

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Movie Maker Vista File Format Support

    • 4 Comments

    We've had some questions about what file formats are supported by Movie Maker on Windows Vista. Hope this helps!

    Movie Maker can import a wide variety of video and audio formats.  The format refers to the container which contains the audio and video streams.  The audio and video streams are encoded using a codec which determines how the audio or video is compressed. 

    The following summaries the key format containers that Movie Maker supports:

    Video

    • DV-AVI (AVI)
    • Windows Media Video (WMV, ASF)
    • DVR-MS (Windows Media Center Vista Premium and Ultimate only, DVR-MS)
    • MPEG-2 (MPEG-2 Program Streams on Vista Premium and Ultimate only, MPG)
    • MPEG-1 (MPG)

    Audio

    • WAV (WAV)
    • MP3 (MP3)
    • Windows Media Audio (WMA)

    When a file is imported in Movie Maker, Movie Maker will open the container format and then use DirectShow to determine what codecs are required to decode the audio and video streams.  Just because the format is supported, for example AVI, doesn’t mean the required codecs are installed on the machine.  Given the wide range of codecs available this can cause confusion.  If the codec required to decode the video is not available, the file will not be properly imported.  For example, if only the audio codec is available for a video file, the video will be rendered as black.   

    One of the most popular container formats is AVI.  AVI files can contain a wide range video codecs, for example, the AVI video stream maybe encoded with MPEG-4 video.  Assuming you have installed the proper video codec, Movie Maker will import this content.  Movie Maker will always attempt to import the media file and if the proper DirectShow filter is registered, the content will be imported.   

    Most solid state video cameras include the required codecs that can be used by Movie Maker to import the file.  Devices use a wide range of file formats and codecs so it’s difficult to provide a detailed list of supported device and formats.  Typically, if the video file can be played in Windows Media Player, Windows Movie Maker can import the content.  If you cannot playback the file in Windows Media Player, check to make sure you have the proper codecs installed on your machine.  If the codec is not installed on your machine, download the codec directly from the manufactures web site.  It is recommended to only install the codecs that you require. Also keep in mind that DRM protected content cannot be imported into Movie Maker. 

    When publishing your movie from Movie Maker, Movie Maker can publish video files to DV-AVI, Windows Media and Windows Media HD.  Movie Maker provides a set of predefine Windows Media profiles targeting the most common scenarios, but you can also create your own custom profile.  On Vista Premium and Ultimate, you can also publish your videos directly to DVD. 

    Related articles:
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/player/faq/codec.mspx
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/308464 (Windows XP)
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/moviemaker/expert/customprofile.mspx

    - Michael Patten (Program Manager)

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