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Tweaking Audio Settings in a Windows Movie Maker Project File


There are many posts about the volume level of a Windows Movie Maker project being low, and going down further without a setting to increase it. Let's use this topic to study the effects of changes made to the project file when you tweak it with a text editor such as Windows Notepad.

Which Lines of Code Effect Audio Levels?

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These lines of code in a project file point to audio volume levels...

1 - Video and audio clips have 'Bound Properties', one of which reads.... <BoundPropertyBool Name="Mute" Value="false" />.... which begs to be changed to "true" in order to see if that completely turns off the clip's audio.

2 - The clips also have a second 'Bound Property' that reads.... <BoundPropertyFloat Name="Volume" Value="1" />.... what happens when we change it to something other than 1? Will the volume go up or down? By how much?

3 - A few lines up from the end of the file, you'll see this code.... <BoundPropertyFloat Name="SoundTrackMix" Value="0.5" />... the mix is the relative volume of the two audio tracks, the one that comes with the video clips and the background music (or narration/sound effects) added over them.

What Happens When You Change the Settings?

Changing the mute value to true was an easy and right guess. The audio of the clip is silenced.

Lowering the volume value to numbers less than 1 reduce the volume... but making them higher than 1 doesn't raise the volume. It causes WMM to crash!!!! Few things cause apps or Windows 7 to crash.... this is one.

The mix number of 0.5 is the default setting where the audio levels of the two tracks are the same. Changing it to a number less than 0.5 reduces the music volume while a number greater than 0.5 reduces the video clips volume.

Test File

To check the actual effects of such changes I made a project with two clips, a video clip that had both video and audio, and a music clip.

After each change I saved the project to a WMV file. I imported the pack of test files into MM2.1 to hear the various volume levels and see the wave patterns on the timeline. As usual, the heights of the wave patterns correlated to how loud the sound was.

Tweaking Audio Settings in Project File

Ponder what you see for a while. Remember the height of the waves represent the loudness of the sound. Why is one noticeably louder than the other two? I don't have the answer yet; I'm pondering too.

Conclusion

There really isn't a conclusion. This exercise shows how changes in settings in the WMM project file correlates with audio volume levels, and points to having to learn more about why the volume mix settings significantly increase the volume. That's a good thing as WMM doesn't include any audio features that raise audio levels.

But it might be that the level only goes back up to the level it should have been at in the first place.