After much frustration with the limitations inherent in Windows Movie Maker, I downloaded and subsequently bought MAGIX Movie Edit Pro 12. It wasn’t very expensive and allows one to do a lot more than WMM, but it is not itself without some limitations in the making of anime music videos. Specifically, I could not get it to export to the lossless Huffyuv codec at all.
Generally, one wants to export to an AVI using a lossless codec before recompressing the video in whatever formats one wants to distribute in. Why not just let MAGIX export to the distribution format directly? The general answer to this is control over quality using tools like VirtualDubMod and AVISynth scripts. But the specific problem I encountered was trying to make Divx compatible Xvid AVIs. I could output an Xvid AVI from the MAGIX AVI export that would play fine on my PC, but had totally crapped out sound playing on the Xbox 360. So I decided that the best option was to do what I’d been doing with WMM, creating an AVI with the lossless Huffyuv codec and then using VirtualDubMod to create the Xvid AVI for distribution.
I had hoped that I could create the Huffyuv AVI directly from MAGIX (in contrast to having to export to DV-AVI first in WMM) and then create the Xvid AVI in the usual fashion. But MAGIX and the Huffyuv codec don’t appear to like each other very much. I tried everything I could think of, but the output not only wouldn’t play, it would crash Windows Media Player and kill Windows Explorer too. I thought I was SOL until I heard about the Lagarith lossless codec on AnimeMusicVideos.org in one of the forums there.
It turns out that MAGIX and the Lagarith codec get along just fine, which allowed me to create an Xvid AVI that works on my PC and the Xbox 360. Now I can concentrate on creating the AMV that’s floating around in my head right now!^_^