Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

Official blog for the Windows Live Digital Memories Experience team

September, 2007

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Soapbox is now part of MSN Video


    On Friday, the Soapbox team launched a new version of their site, which now integrates fully with the MSN Video site. You can read all about it on the Soapbox team blog, and on Brandon LeBlanc's Windows Experience Blog.

    Here are some of the new features that you'll find there: 

  • Single integrated site to view premium MSN Video content and your Soapbox User-Created Videos.
  • Video Showcase - Highlights videos of interest, as well as most watched videos. 
  • Quicker Processing Speeds - New Encoding servers to increase your video processing times.
  • New Navigation - Find and search for videos using one navigation bar.
  • Expandable Screensize - Expand the site on a 16x9 monitor and the video gallery will increase in size gracefully.
  • Integrated Search - Integrated Search results for MSN Video, Soapbox User Videos and even Web Video results, all on one page.
  • What hasn't changed? Soapbox is still easy to publish your videos to from the Windows Live Photo Gallery! 

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Slideshow in the Windows Live Photo Gallery


    We didn’t do much to the Slideshow feature in the Windows Live Photo Gallery, but there have been several questions coming in about this feature, so we thought that it was worth a brief rundown of what’s changed.

    In a nutshell, here’s how the slideshow feature works in this release:

    • XP users: Basic slideshow only (equivalent to the ‘Classic’ theme on Vista). No transitions, and no support for videos. The rich themes are very dependent on the Vista graphics model, so it will take a fair amount of work to get the rich themes working on XP (more than we could bite off for this release).
    • Vista users (basic graphics hardware): The experience should be unchanged from Vista. You may see a limited set of themes available, and may or may not see transport controls depending on the capabilities of your graphics card.
    • Vista users (premium graphics hardware): The experience should be unchanged from Vista.

    We blogged about the Vista Slideshow experience previously. Most of this still applies (with the exception of the above notes). One exception is that although the rich themes were only available on certain Vista SKUs, all themes are available in all Vista SKUs (again, depending on your graphics hardware).

    - Bret Ahlstrom (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Beta FAQs


    We've already gotten a ton of great feedback from people using the beta. We've also gotten a bunch of great questions. Here are answers to some of the more frequently asked questions.  

    Q: Will Windows Live Photo Gallery add support for x64 before RTM?

    (from the release notes) 

    64-bit is not supported for Beta 2
    Beta 2 does not support a 64-bit installation; however the final version of Windows Live will support 64-bit (with the exception of Family Safety). You have the choice of either continuing to run the Beta 1 versions of Windows Live or you can uninstall all Windows Live applications and reinstall the released versions. For more information see KB Article 938275.

    Q: Are there localized version planned in the near future? If yes, what languages and is there a schedule?

    Windows Live Photo Gallery is localized to the same set of languages as Windows Vista.

    Q: Can you help me fix this? Every time I pull a photo up in windows photo gallery, the whites show as yellows and the colors are all yellow.

    (from the release notes) 

    Images may not display correctly
    Images may display incorrectly when a defective color profile is installed as a Display Profile. The Windows Live Photo Gallery Viewer respects color profiles—defective profiles will cause the system to display images incorrectly. The solution is to remove the association of the display with defective display profile and return to the default display profile of sRGB.

    In Microsoft Windows Vista:
    1. Click Start and then Control Panel.
    2. In the Control Panel click Hardware and Sound and then click Color Management.
    3. In the Color Management settings dialog click the Devices tab:
    4. Select your display in the Device list. If your system has multiple video cards and/or multiple displays, be sure to select the display which is exhibiting the issue.
    5. Ensure “Use my settings for this device” is selected.
    6. Under Profiles Associated with this Device, remove the profile (or profiles) listed in this box by selecting a profile and click Remove.
    Once complete, the box will be empty, ensuring any and all defective profiles have been removed.
    7. Click Close.

    In Microsoft Windows XP:
    1. Click Start and then Control Panel
    2. Click Appearance and Themes and then click Display.
    3. In the Display dialog, click the Settings Tab and then click the Advanced button.
    4. Click the Color Management tab.
    5. Under Color profiles currently associated with this device, remove the profile (or profiles) listed in the box by selecting a profile and clicking Remove. Once complete, the box will be empty, ensuring any and all defective profiles have been removed.
    6. Click OK.
    7. Click OK. 

    Q: I live in France and when I want to get prints of my pictures, your only available stores are in the US. In France, you could contact or Photoways, great photo prints providers.

    Live Photo Gallery has several options for printing your photos not only in your own country but in countries around the world.  For you, because you live in France and want to print your photos in France, you first need to ensure that your location settings are set to your local country.  To do this open your control panel, click on regional and language options, and in the location tab, select your country.   Once you have set your country to France, then you can choose from the 3 partners who show up:  Photo Station, Schlecker, and Extrafilm.  

    Another interesting way you can use this capability is to print photos in other countries.  If you are, say, from Japan, however live in the US, you can set your location to Japan and print directly to any 7-11 store in Japan.  Then you send your parents an email and tell them to go pick up their prints.  It’s a snap!

    Q: I want to use the new Windows Live Photo Gallery Beta, but I'm concerned about compatibility of tags down the road with Vista -- I'm glad Vista doesn't use sidecar files.  Is Windows Live the same in that regard?

    Both the Windows Vista Photo Gallery and the Windows Live Photo Gallery use the same underlying technology to read and write photo metadata (WIC). Files should be 100% compatible between the two applications (and any other application that uses WIC to read or write metadata).

    Keep the questions and comments coming! If you run into an issue with the beta, let us know at

     - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Not only is uploading easy, but so is downloading


    In previous posts we’ve talked about the new publish options available from the Live Photo Gallery.  In addition to being able to publish, there are many cases where it’s nice to be able to get images out of album and into your local gallery.  Live Spaces offers two ways to download photos from an album.  The first way is to download a single photo at a time.  This is useful if you just want one photo from an album.  In addition to the ability to download a single photo, we’ve also added a new feature which enables you to download an entire album from any space at once.  This feature makes it easy to grab the high-res images you want from any album you have permissions too.

    At the top of each Live Spaces album you will see a button for “Download photo” and “Download album”.  Clicking “Download photo” will save the current photo.  Clicking “Download album” will bring up a view which you can use to select what photos you want to download.

    From here you can decide what photos from this album you want to download to your local machine.  By default, the images are stored under your “My pictures” folder, in a folder named “Downloaded Albums” with subfolders for the space and album name.  But you can configure where and how you want the images saved under the “More options” link.  Clicking download starts copying each file from the space to your local machine.

    When the download is completed, the Live Photo Gallery is launched so you can enjoy the photos.

    Couple of things you’ll want to be aware of when playing with this feature:

    • Spaces downsamples images that are larger than 1600x1600, so their longest dimension is 1600.  We will always download the largest image stored on spaces, but the max size will be 1600x1600.
    • Spaces hasn’t always stored highres images – The highres support is new, so if you are downloading an old album spaces won’t have a highres image available.  You’ll still get the biggest one we have stored.
    • It’s a beta and we have a bug to fix…  In order to play with this feature in the beta you’ll want to publish from the Live Photo Gallery client.  If you use the Live Spaces album upload web page, the “Download album” link will only get the 400x400 version.  But we’ll have this fixed before we ship.

    Enjoy!  As always, we sincerely appreciate your feedback. Let us know how we are doing.

    -John Thornton (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    We make it easy to share on your Soapbox


    As I blogged about yesterday, we’ve built some pretty quick & simple sharing features into Windows Live Photo Gallery.  In this post I’d like to go through the steps to publish your video memories online at the recently updated MSN Soapbox service:  

    Step 1: Select a video from your library inside Windows Live Photo Gallery.
    Step 2: Click on the Publish button and then select Publish on MSN Soapbox…

    In order to enable users to publish on Soapbox, we needed a way to allow users to sign in with their Windows Live ID (a.k.a. Passport).  So, if you’re not already signed in with your Live ID in the Photo Gallery you’ll be asked to sign in when you try to publish.  Since Photo Gallery is integrated with Live ID, as soon as you sign in with your Live ID we’ll automatically know your Soapbox information so you won’t be asked to provide any information or configure anything.  If you’ve never used Soapbox before, the first time you publish a video we’ll take care of setting up your Soapbox account.

    Step 3: Fill in all of the fields on the Publish dialog:

    We’ll automatically fill in the Title using the video file name (minus the file extension, of course) and the Description using the caption (if you’ve previously set one).  Of course, you can edit these if you want to.  In addition to those fields, just like the Soapbox web upload tool, we allow you to add up to five Tags and set the Category from a list.  Finally, you can choose to make your video public or keep it private for just you and whomever you send a link to by setting it to private.  After you click the Publish button, we’ll take care of the rest…

    Since Soapbox currently has a 100MB file size upload limit, if you video is over 100MB we’ll re-encode it to the bit rate that Soapbox supports, compressing the overall file size.  Technically, there is a limit to the amount of compression we can do in order to make sure the end result is still under 100MB in file size.  To make it easy just remember as long as your video is 20 minutes or less, we’ll be able to upload it on Soapbox.  It’s that simple! Note: There are some video formats that we are unable to re-encode and if that’s the case we’ll tell you when you try to publish them.

    Again, just like the Publish on Windows Live Spaces feature, we also provide a summary dialog with a View video button here too. 

    There will be a brief period (time varies depending on length of video) when your video is being processed by Soapbox.  During this time you’ll see your video placeholder on your Soapbox account, but you won’t be able to play it back until the processing is complete. 

    Do you dig it?  What do you like/dislike about this?  What can we do to make your video sharing experience better? 

    - Michael Palermiti (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Seamlessly publish your precious photos on Spaces


    As you (hopefully) know by now, we released our first public beta of Windows Live Photo Gallery a few days ago.  Even though we’re not quite done tinkering with it I’d like to tell you about one of the best new features we’ve worked hard on these last few months. 

    First, a question: Why do most people take photos?  OK, I admit, there isn’t a 100% correct answer to that question but I’d be willing to bet something along the lines of “to share with my friends and family” would be darn near the top.  In fact, when I was at CES earlier this year and I was working at the Microsoft Digital Memories booth, hands down the most frequently asked question I got was “Can I publish my photos to the web from the Photo Gallery?”.  Sadly, at the time, we didn’t have any features that enabled this but we heard you loud and clear!

    The brand new Publish on Windows Live Spaces feature provides a seamless and streamlined way to share your digital photos on your space directly from the same application you use to import, organize and edit them.  Allow me to walk through the play by play:

    After you’ve selected one or more photos you’d like to publish on your space, click on the Publish button and then select Publish on Windows Live Spaces…

    In order to enable users to publish on Windows Live Spaces, we needed a way to allow users to sign in with their Windows Live ID (a.k.a. Passport).  So, if you’re not already signed in with your Live ID in the Photo Gallery you’ll be asked to sign in when you try to publish.  Since Photo Gallery is integrated with Live ID, as soon as you sign in with your Live ID we’ll automatically know your space information so you won’t be asked to provide any information or configure anything.  If you’ve never even used Spaces before, no worries… the first time you publish photos we’ll take care of setting up your new space and we’ll even configure it to use one of the photo themes available on Spaces.  Nice, eh?  ;)

    OK, so after you’ve signed in the Publish on Windows Live Spaces dialog will appear (below).  You have two main choices when it comes to publishing: you can either publish your photos in a new album or to an existing one already on your space.  The default option is a new album.  The thumbnail displayed as the new album cover will be automatically chosen based on the data taken metadata.  The album title will be pre-populated with the folder name where that first image is located on your hard drive.  The idea is when you import your photos many users give the folder containing the set of photos a useful name, so we’ll assume that might be a good starting point, but you can change it.  If you're looking to allow people to enjoy great prints and full screen slides shows of your shared photos, select the Optimize photos for printing check box (checked by default in a few markets). 

    If you don’t want to create a new photo album and just want to keep adding photos to an existing album on your space, click the Add to an existing album link (on the main Publish dialog, above) and we’ll show you the list of albums on your space.  We provide a rich look by showing you the album cover, album title, the last modified date, # of photos and eventually the permission (note: during the Beta the permission displayed will always be “Public” because we haven’t quite finished this dialog yet).

    Regardless if you choose to publish to a new album or an existing one, once you click on the Publish button on the dialogs above, the upload progress will appear.  *Power user tip* If you want to upload more than one group of photos at a time, you can!  As one group is being uploaded, you can select some more photos and repeat the publish steps.  As photos are being uploaded, the follow-up publishes will be queued up behind each other and will start automatically as the previous one completes.  Try it out!

    As each upload completes a summary dialog will appear (below).  We’re guessing most users will always want to check out the album online, maybe customize it, and then send a link to it to their friends.  The View album button gets you to the album directly.

    That’s the Publish on Windows Live Spaces feature in a nutshell.  Since we’re in Beta we’d love to get your feedback.  What do you like?  What do you hate?  What can we do to make your photo sharing experience better? 

    - Michael Palermiti (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Changes to Photo/Video Import in the Live Photo Gallery Beta


    For most users, the first step to enjoying their photos and videos is to get their files onto their computer.  In Vista, we focused on streamlining this process, by minimizing the steps during import.  After doing so, we heard feedback from some users that they wanted more control over their import experience.  We’ve listened to this feedback, and we’ve incorporated it into new import features for the Windows Live Photo Gallery: users can now view and select photos and/or videos to import, and they also have the option of organizing photos into folders before importing.  We automatically help you create an event group, based on the timestamps of your photos.  And for those users that loved the simplicity of the Vista import experience, we will continue to provide that streamlined option in the Windows Live.  To get to this experience, simply choose the ‘Import all new items now’ option.

    View,  Selecting, and Grouping Photos and Videos to Import
    If you’d like to select the photos and videos you want to import, choose ‘Review, organize, and group items to import’.  On first use, you’ll see that we’ve automatically grouped your photos/videos into event groups, based on the timestamps of your photos and videos.  The two thumbnails you see represent the first and last item in the event group.  By default, a new event group is created if there are 4 hours or more since the time the previous photo or video was taken.  If you want to adjust this time gap, you can move the ‘Adjust groups’ slider on the bottom right corner of the dialog.  Moving it left will decrease the time in between groups, resulting in more groups.  Moving it to the right will do the reverse, therefore creating less groups.  By moving the slider to the right-most point, you can put all items into a single group.

    To view the items in a group, simply click on the link that lists the number of items in the group (ex. View 10 items), or on the group thumbnails.  Clicking on the thumbnails again will collapse the group.

    Once expanded, you can select the items in the group to be imported.  Simply use the checkboxes select individual items within a group, or select the checkbox in the header of the group to select all items within a group.
    Only checked items will be imported.

    Each group created will be saved to a different folder that you’ll see in the gallery after import. We recommend that users enter a name for each folder, so you can easily find the group of photos/videos later.  You can also assign one or more tags (separated by semi-colons) to the group of items.  Doing so will also help make it easier to find the photos and videos.

    Note: To get the most out of our automatic event group feature, you must set the date and time on your camera.

    Previously Imported Items
    We know that a lot of users don’t delete their photos/videos on their camera after importing.  In the Vista photo gallery, we automatically detected items that were already imported into the gallery, and did not import them again to eliminate duplicates.  In Live, we will show these items in the ‘Review, organize, and group items to import’ option, but by default they will be unchecked.  You can go ahead and check these items if you’d like to re-import them into your gallery.

    - Karen Wong (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Windows Live Suite Public Beta!


    Back in June, we announced a private beta of the new Windows Live Photo Gallery. We got a lot of great feedback from the beta testers, but now it's time to get more people involved. This afternoon, we released a new build, and are opening it up for everyone to download and play with - come and get it!

    You'll find all of the features that we talked about in the private beta, but also a few new ones. But this isn't just a beta of the Photo Gallery, it's a beta of the whole Windows Live Suite. Chris Jones (my boss) posted a roundup of the Suite on the Windows Live Wire Blog. Chris Keating did a nice write-up of some of the new Photo Gallery features on the Spaces team blog as well. You can download the Suite here, and leave us your feedback here.

    Stay tuned to this blog, we'll be posting more detailed information over the coming days and weeks about all of the features in the new Live Photo Gallery Beta. I'm also adding a bunch of links to our sister teams in Live. If you want to know more about what they are up to, check out their respective team blogs as well...

    - Scott Dart (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    New photo features available on Spaces

    Before the long weekend, we turned on a few new photo features on spaces. The Spaces team blog has the scoop:

    High resolution photo upload
    Now you can share high resolution photos on Spaces. When you upload your photos, select 'Optimize photos for printing'. When you upload higher resolution photos, your photo albums look even better than before, especially when viewing them in full screen mode.


    Note: the uploading process may take longer than before because high resolution photos are significantly larger in file size. 

    Photo printing by HP Snapfish
    We’re also announcing a partnership with HP Snapfish to offer photo printing for Spaces. Photo printing is available right now in the US and we’ll be rolling out this feature to other markets in the future. 

    To create a print, visit a Spaces photos album and click 'Order prints'.


    Select the photos you want to print from that specific album, and then click 'Next'. 

    You will then be taken to the HP Snapfish website to order your prints. After you create a HP Snapfish username, you can order prints of your selected Spaces photos as well as additional photo items such as calendars, coffee mugs, posters, and greeting cards.  

    We hope you enjoy these new Spaces photos features.  As always, keep your feedback coming.  We are listening.

    - pixblog

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