WinFS Senario #1: adding music to movies

For my first not-bad WinFS scenario, I wanted to pick something simple.  No big behavior shifts to start adding new metadata, no huge rewriting of applications, etc.  I settled on adding background music to home movies.


I’ve been editing together some old footage using Windows Movie Maker, and in some cases I’d like to add in a background music track.  Movie Maker’s task pane has a link for “Import audio or music”, so that’s what I click.  For the video I’m editing now, I’d like to add in a slow jazz ballad.


Now as luck would have it, I use another Microsoft product, Windows Media Player, to organize my digital music collection.  WMP, of course, uses CDDB and other internet resources to add meta-data about album, artist, track, genre, etc, to almost all of my music.  If I wanted to find a slow jazz ballad in WMP, it would be pretty easy to do.


But alas, because the WMP meta-data is stored in some sort of custom database, with some sort of custom schema, Movie Maker can’t access it.  What do I get, then, when I click that import audio task?  The standard file open dialog, which lets me browse through folders and files, but doesn’t show a lick of meta-data.


That’s a poor user experience.  And keep in mind that both these applications are made by the same company.  If Microsoft’s own products don’t work together, you can bet that Premier, VideoWave and others won’t work with Real, MusicMatch, iTunes, etc.


How would WinFS make this better?  We’d need to see one change, which would be for WMP to use the WinFS store and built-in schema to store track meta-data.  That would make it possible for even the default File Open dialog in Longhorn to present me with a richer view on my music data, so that rather than digging through folders, I could stack the files by genre, rating, etc.  Movie Maker wouldn’t have to change a thing to get this simple scenario working (although I could think of ways that Movie Maker might want to take better advantage of this meta-data).


Even better, let’s say that iTunes also stored meta-data in WinFS.  Now that same common File Open dialog would be able to show me all of my Jazz music, whether it was from a CD I had ripped in WMP, or a track I bought from iTunes.


No new work from the user, no new work from Movie Maker – once WMP shifts to WinFS as a storage engine, this scenario will work.


What do you think – does this sound good/compelling to you?

Comments (9)

  1. Simon says:

    Yes, it does sound good but I can already do this by selecting details view and letting explorer show me all of the meta-data stored *inside* my mp3 files. I presume it works with WMA to but I don’t use that so can’t check. This may only work in XP – but it already works.

  2. It works as long all your audio files are located in one folder, otherwise you’d have to browse all different folders until you find what you want. The WinFS view aggregates all music independently of the location of the files (aslong they’re in any WinFS store on your disks). The WinXP file dialogs also don’t allow you to filter and stack your files by whatever metadata attribute that’s available (Author, Title, Gerne, Year, Rating, etc), you just get to put some wildcard masks on the filename.

    Considering that I’ve files locally and on a seperate fileserver, WinFS is a nice addition, since it supposedly also allows you to link stores from remote machines. I find it handy to be able to get a list/view of all files, independently of their location, whether they’re in stores on partitions C:, H:, R:, S: or Z:, or on a remote machine, all gets aggregated into one list/view that can be filtered in all possible ways.

  3. Iain says:

    There are two problems here, though. There’s the "how are we going to utilise metadata" problem, and theres the "what metadata are we going to create" problem. I would venture to suggest that the only reason we haven’t solved the former (which is what WinFS is trying to solve) is that the only way that can be valuable is if we both solve the latter problem *and* decide that we want to make our metadata available to everyone.

  4. Of all the pillars of Longhorn, I’d have to say that I’ve read about Avalon the most. The reason for this is because I’ve really been interested in GUI design as of late, and that is exactly what Avalon is…

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