What does a more complicated Movie Maker timeline look like?

In my previous articles Collection Preview vs. Timeline Preview, Transitions on the timeline, and Effects on the timeline I showed what a DirectShow graph looks like for very simple MovieMaker timelines. Well what do they look like if you have a timeline with a lot more images and videos and lots of effects? What about the following timeline? What would the graph of this look like?

This timeline has a whole bunch of images and (although you can't see it because I' m zoomed out in the timeline view) there also happens to be quite a few transitions between the images and a whole bunch of effects as well. The DirectShow graph for this timeline happens to be so large that it won't fit on my screen in GraphEdit even if I set the zoom level to 25%. Here's what a portion of the graph looks like (I set the zoom level to 50%, so at least it's semi-readable)

If you look at the scroll bar within the diagram you'll notice that this is only a small portion of the graph. You should notice a whole bunch of source filters on the left for each of the images and you can also see quite a few of the transition and effect filters. You'll can tell the effects by the fact they only have one input and the transitions will have two.

Comments (8)
  1. PapaJohn says:

    Another nice blog entry Dean,

    I assume the full project needs to go into memory when it opens, and the complexity of the project determines how much memory is needed.

    Is it feasible to develop a ‘complexity’ gauge that shows it filling up as a project gets more complex, one that would give the user visual feedback of how much complexity the project has versus the available memory? So that, maybe at the 80% full mark, it’s time to consider breaking the project down into sub-projects or taking other steps to make it less complex.

  2. Dean Rowe says:

    Actually when you start previewing the timeline only the filters for the sources near the beginning of the timeline are loaded into memory. As the timeline plays it loads more of the source filters as they are required.

    I guess you could do a complexity gauge but the problem is that you don’t really know what "full" means. It will vary between machines. I’m not sure it would be that much of a help.



  3. PapaJohn says:

    Yes, it would vary by the machine, just like a full gas tank varies by the car…. but it’s still a good indicator.

    As the timeline plays, do the source filers close when they are not required? or is it accumulating effect in one direction.

  4. Dean Rowe says:

    They don’t unload as the timeline plays, although this does have the advantage that if you seek backwards it should be faster.

  5. Seroth says:

    Well, that’s a nice advanced timeline. I’d try stuff like that, except windows movie maker would crash. It happens EVERY time. Ever since first version of WMM. It happend on my old 700mghz computer, so I figured it was because the machine was bad. But a couple of years ago I got a 2,8ghz machine with a good vid-card and nice RAM, and it still crashes. I have windows XP with SP2 and everything, and everytime my timeline gets a little large, or has slightly complicated transistions or effects, windows movie maker just stops working and I usually lose all the work I’ve done. And I have no idea what’s wrong…

  6. Dean Rowe says:

    Sorry you’re running into crashes. The first thing I would check out, is the compatibility tab to see if any third party DirectShow filters are causing a problem. See my previous blog entry at


    for further details.

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