How to Use Windows Movie Maker

By Techwalla Computers Editor

Using Windows Movie Maker can turn you into an amateur filmmaker, giving you a way to create slide shows of your favorite photos, or load and edit movies taken on your digital camcorder. Movie Maker also lets you add creative transitions, text and music that can tie the whole show together. This brief tutorial will get you started.

Step 1

Make sure you have the equipment required to create movies and slide shows using Movie Maker. You will need a Mini-DV digital video camera and tapes, a computer that supports a digital video connection and an i.LINK port (also known as FireWire or IEEE standard 1394) on your computer. Also recommended are a memory card for your camera and a DVD burner.

Step 2

Know the system requirements for using Windows Movie Maker. You need a computer with Microsoft Windows XP Home Professional or a later version, a 600 MHz processor and at least 2 GB of free hard disk space. You will need an Internet connection and software that can play video files, such as Microsoft Windows Media Player 7.0 or later.

Step 3

Familiarize yourself with terms used often by Windows Movie Maker. A "collection" contains audio and video clips and pictures you have imported or captured using the software. Your collection will organize your content. A "project" is the arrangement and timing information of your clips, transitions and any effects or titles you add to the storyboard. Saved projects can be opened later and edited. A "movie" is the final project you save. You can save a movie to your computer or a recordable CD, send it as an email attachment or save and send it to the Web.

Step 4

Shoot movies using your video camera and then load them into your computer using your i.LINK or FireWire cable. If you use an i.LINK cable, Movie Maker will do the work of rewinding your video tape and transferring it to your computer. If you don't have a FireWire port on your computer, consider adding one.

Step 5

Add transitions, special effects, titles, credits, music, photos and narration to your video by clicking on the section of the movie you want to change, using the storyboard mode or the timeline mode. In the Movie Tasks pane, which appears on the left while you're working, click on the task you'd like and simply enter the information (for titles and credits), choose a special effect or import music/audio/photo files that are stored in your computer.

Step 6

Work with separate video clips to create a larger movie. During the download from your video camera, Movie Maker will split longer videos into shorter clips that are easier to work with, and then add your clips to a collection. You can drag clips from the collection to your storyboard to create a movie. You can also trim video clips by dragging a clip from your collection into the storyboard and clicking "play" on the preview monitor. When the clip gets to where you want to trim it, click Split Clip. This will trim your clip into two separate clips. Delete the portion you don't want by right-clicking it and clicking on Delete.

Step 7

Work with two visuals, when necessary or desired, of your movie on Movie Maker-the storyboard and the timeline. Use the right-click option when you get stuck, because your solution during the editing process will often be there.

Step 8

Convert your finished Windows Movie Maker project into a movie that can be played using Windows Media Player and other means. Choose File and Save Movie on the menu bar Windows Movie Maker). In the Save Movie dialog box, choose the playback quality.

Step 9

Enter your movie title in the Title box, your name in the Author box, the movie rating in the Rating text box and a description in the Description box. Choose OK to open the Save As box. Select the folder where the movie will be saved and give the movie a filename.

Tips & Warnings

  • A saved movie can be watched in a media player or a Web browser. If you have a digital video camera connected to your computer, you can also record your movie to a tape. You and others can then watch the movie on the DV camera or on a TV.
  • Movie Maker does not accept ITunes music files.
  • The higher the playback quality you use, the larger your movie file size will be.