Perhaps the most exciting thing revealed at Build 2017 was Story Remix, a new app that used AI to help you make movies from photos, videos, and 3D objects sourced from the Remix 3D community. The app was supposed to debut alongside the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which was officially released yesterday, but instead Microsoft bundled most of Story Remix's features into Windows 10's existing Photos tool.
The most notable omission from the new Photos app is the ability to work with 3D objects. At Build, we said that Microsoft had created a pipeline for mixed reality content that ran from Paint 3D, through the Remix 3D community, into Story Remix, and then to video players. Yet it seems that pipeline is still being constructed, because a spokesperson told us the support for 3D objects would head to Photos "in the coming months."
Microsoft also said at Build that it wanted people to capture footage on their phones, send it to their PCs, and view it on their device of choice. Yet no mobile apps were introduced alongside the Fall Creators Update, and it's not clear when they'll arrive. "We expect the reimagined Photos mobile experience to become available for iOS and Android in the future," the spokesperson told us, "but have nothing else to share at this time."
To sum up: With Story Remix, Microsoft announced a new app that seemed like a mixed-reality-supporting, AI-powered successor to Windows Movie Maker that would embody the company's new commitment to making Windows 10 play nice with all devices. When it came time to release the Fall Creators Update, however, it instead bundled most of Story Remix's features in a Photos app without the accompanying mobile tools.
Microsoft still plans to deliver on Story Remix's promise of making it easy for laypeople to make movies worth watching. But it's not hard to spot the difference between releasing a new video app with mixed reality support and just updating Photos with some new video editing features. How many people will even bother checking Photos to see if features announced as a new app called Story Remix were added with the latest OS update?
To be fair, some people might think to look there, because Microsoft published a blog post that hinted at Story Remix's demise in September. Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group, said:
We have reimagined our Photos Application to deliver remixed experiences for telling your stories with photos, videos, music, 3D, and even inking.
That line is a whisper in the wind compared to Microsoft's announcement of Story Remix at Build. The company offered a long demo that showed off all its features, with a special emphasis on the support for 3D objects. Build attendees watched as an ordinary children's soccer game became an epic movie featuring an exploding soccer ball and dramatic music. Few other announcements got the audience as hyped as Story Remix's did.
Now it seems like we'll just have to wait for that hype train to arrive at the station.