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  1. Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    When Microsoft originally developed Photo Story in 2004 it developed also a special compression algorithm (codec) to achieve a high compression rate. Memory and disk space was scarse in those days. As the PhotoStory WMV codec did not need to support moving images Microsoft could achieve a very high compression for the PhotoStory WMV output.
    The use of a special codec makes the Windows PhotoStory WMV output incompatible to programs that normally support WMV files.
    The codec used in PhotoStory is the Windows Media Video 9 Image (WVP2).
    (The 'standard' WMV codec is Windows Media Video 7/8/9 or 9 Advanced )
    For the users it is very confusing that WMV files can have used different codecs and therefor some WMV files work with video player programs and others don't!
    One way to find out what is inside the WMV container is a free program Mediainfo. It can be downloaded from There is a Mac and a Windows version.

    The output of Mediainfo for a PhotoStory WMV file looks as below:

    Format : Windows Media
    File size : 1.04 MiB
    Duration : 20s 80ms
    Overall bit rate mode : Variable
    Overall bit rate : 433 Kbps
    Maximum Overall bit rate : 324 Kbps
    Publisher : Photo Story 3 for Windows
    Genre : Photo Story
    Encoded date : UTC 2011-07-23 19:31:58.838
    Writing application : Photo Story 3 for Windows 3.0.1115.0
    Cover : Y

    ID : 2
    Format : WVP2
    Codec ID : WVP2
    Description of the codec : Windows Media Video 9.1 Image
    Duration : 20s 80ms
    Bit rate mode : Variable
    Bit rate : 20.9 Kbps
    Width : 768 pixels
    Height : 576 pixels
    Display aspect ratio : 4:3
    Frame rate : 25.000 fps
    Bit depth : 8 bits
    Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.002
    Stream size : 51.1 KiB (5%)
    Language : English (US)

    ID : 1
    Format : WMA
    Format version : Version 2
    Codec ID : 161
    Codec ID/Info : Windows Media Audio
    Description of the codec : Windows Media Audio 9.2 - VBR Quality 98, 48 kHz, stereo 1-pass VBR
    Duration : 20s 80ms
    Bit rate mode : Variable
    Bit rate : 140 Kbps
    Channel(s) : 2 channels
    Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
    Bit depth : 16 bits
    Stream size : 343 KiB (32%)
    Language : English (US)

    In order to play WMV files on MacOS one could use the FLV Player or the Quicktime extension Flip4Mac (
    Unfortunately both of these programs do NOT support the PhotoStory WMV codec !!
    So if Mediainfo shows that your WMV file is a PhotoStory file there is no way to play it on MacOS!
    As far as I know there are also no Mac media converter programs that support the WVP2 PhotoStory codec.

    How to run that nice PhotoStory that your friend or colleague made on your MacOS?

    The only way to convert is on Windows with programs from Microsoft.
    There are two possibilities:

    1. Use the Windows PhotoStory program to write the output on a DVD

    PhotoStory3 does not support output to CD anymore. However there is a commercial program from Roxio ( which adds DVD output to PhotoStory 3.1 (latest version).
    One could run or rip the DVD on MacOS.

    2. Use Windows Life Movie Maker to convert

    Windows Life Movie Maker is one of the programs in the Windows Life Essentials package. A free download can be found at
    Life Essentials consists of 10 different programs. One of them is Movie Maker. At installation time you can opt for installing all 10 programs or just the ones you want to have.

    After installing Movie Maker, open the PhotoStory WMV file in MovieMaker and save it UNDER A DIFFERENT NAME on your computer.
    The output is again a WMV file!
    However this time the file is produced with a different codec that is supported by VLC Player and Flip4Mac!

    You will see that the new WMV file is about 10 times (!) larger as the PhotoStory WMV file!
    It just proofs that the compression algorithm used in PhotoStory was a real high compression algorithm.

    3. Use Youtube

    Youtube eats the PhotoStory output file very well. After uploading to Youtube you could download the movie again and it will be in a different but standard format. (mostly .FLV).
    On the internet you will find many free Youtube download programs!

    All Mac users should ask their friends who send them these nice PhotoStories to convert the file with MovieMaker before sending.
    Nowadays, with terrabytes of disk space, we are not worried about large file sizes and WeTransfer or YouSendit will help us sending large files around.

    Happy viewing on your Mac
    Last edited by peerv; 26th Jul 2011 at 15:48.
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