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Managing Digital Movies (part 2) - Watching and Managing Movies with Windows Live Photo Gallery

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1/23/2014 1:17:16 AM

2. Watching and Managing Movies with Windows Live Photo Gallery

While the new Videos library is the primary movie management tool in Windows 7, there are other ways in which you can manage videos. Believe it or not, one is Windows Live Photo Gallery. Why Microsoft didn't choose to name this Windows Photo and Movie Gallery is unclear, but the fact remains that you can organize and manage (and even play) virtually all of the digital video on your system with this tool.

By default, Windows Live Photo Gallery enables you to manage photos and videos together, and it's designed to search the My Pictures, My Videos, Public Pictures, and Public Videos folders for video (and photo) content by default.

NOTE

Notice anything odd there? That's right: Windows Live Photo Gallery doesn't (currently) use the same Libraries management system that's exposed by Windows 7. Instead, it manually monitors specific folder locations on its own. So, if you do manually include other folder locations in the Videos library, these locations will not be monitored by Windows Live Photo Gallery unless you manually add them to the Gallery. We assume that a future version of Windows Live Photo Gallery will be updated for a more seamless experience in Windows 7.

When it comes to video, all the metadata application information works equally well with movies as it does with photos. That is, you can add tags, ratings, and captions to movies, just as you can with photos. That said, we don't expect many people will actually take advantage of that functionality because it's time consuming and, ultimately, of little value.

If you want to work just with movies in Windows Live Photo Gallery, you must multi-select the video-oriented entries under All photos and videos in the application's View By pane. (Use Ctrl+click to make that happen.) Now, you will see just videos in the Thumbnails pane, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Even video files are displayed with nice thumbnail images in Windows Live Photo Gallery.

As you mouse over individual videos, a pop-up window displays, showing a larger thumb-nail, along with other information about the file, including its name, size, rating, and the date and time it was created. You can see this effect in Figure 6.

NOTE

If you want to discover where an individual video is located in the file system, right-click it in Windows Live Photo Gallery and choose Open file location.

To play a video, simply double-click it. Curiously, videos opened in Windows Live Photo Gallery play in Windows Live Photo Gallery—and not in Windows Media Player, as you might expect. This is undesirable for a few reasons, but the most obvious is that the video playback pane in Windows Live Photo Gallery is only as large as the application window, which is often larger than the original video, causing blurry resizing effects. As shown in Figure 7, Windows Live Photo Gallery isn't the optimal place to play video files.

Figure 6. Nice flyover effects give you more information about individual videos.

Figure 7. You can play videos in Windows Live Photo Gallery, but the application is better suited for just managing the files.

But you don't have to view videos this way. Instead, you can right-click a video file from within Windows Live Photo Gallery and then choose "Open with" from the pop-up menu. You'll see a list of applicable applications, including those that come with Windows 7 and any compatible third-party applications you may have installed yourself.

NOTE

There's no way to configure Windows Live Photo Gallery to always open video files in another application. Instead, you must choose a different application, manually, each time.

The Windows Live Photo Gallery video playback view does have some redeeming features. From this view, you can add descriptive tags and a caption, for example, and even edit the file's creation date and time data. What you can't do is edit the movie—clicking the Fix toolbar button just displays an unhelpful message. Our advice is to use Windows Live Photo Gallery to manage home movies only, use the shell for other video management, and use Windows Media Player, described in the next section, for playback.
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