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Desktop Video News #040 - How To Create A Movie With Microsoft MovieMaker
April 08, 2006
Issue 40, 7 April 2006

What's Hot

Learn how to share your digital video creations with friends and family.

How to choose the best video editing software to suit your needs.

How to buy your first digital camcorder.

How to shoot a spectacular wedding video.

A powerful tool for editing video and adding special effects.



Ulead VideoStudio

allows you to turn home videos into slick looking productions with ease.

Learn how to use Microsoft Movie Maker using this excellent video tutorial.

Ulead MediaStudio Pro is a quality video editor designed for professional videographers.

Store your video files online with StreamLoad - a premier video storage service.

Pinnacle Studio Plus allows you to easily capture video from camcorders and produce the best home movies.

How To Create A Movie
With Microsoft MovieMaker

© 2006

In this tutorial we will learn how to create movie clips with Windows Moviemaker. This is Microsoftís foray into the video editing market, and itís an impressive tool at that, we must admit.

The current version of Moviemaker (version 2.1) shows vast improvements over the first edition. It comes with a whole list of extras, such as video and title effects, music, transitions, and an easy to organize explorer to view and manage your clips.

With Microsoft Moviemaker, you can use drag and drop functionality to create video clips with effects in minutes. Plus, the program has one additional advantage: itís free!

Step 1: Capture Your Clips

The first step in using Moviemaker is to capture your clips. Start the program and after it starts, capture your video from your camcorder. You can do this by clicking the tasks icon and choosing Capture Video, or clicking File => Capture Video.

As you are capturing video with Windows Moviemaker, you can pause your clips to make sure you only capture what you need. You can then cue to the next point where you want to capture video and then continue. Additionally you can include video from other sources such as clips or pictures on your hard drive. To do that, click the Tasks icon and click Import Video.

Step 2: Arrange Your Clips

The next step is to use the storyboard in Windows Moviemaker to arrange your clips. In the film industry a storyboard is known as a series of panel sketches showing how the different scenes in the movie will play out, and in what order.

Microsoft Moviemaker uses the same concept: its storyboard is where youíll set your clips in the order that you want. First make sure youíre in storyboard mode by clicking View => Storyboard. Then, begin by looking for your clips in the Collections panel. If you donít find them, click on the Collections box and select your clip.

Once itís in the panel area just click and drag your clip to the storyboard below. You can preview a clip in the Moviemaker monitor window at any time. Just use the VCR-like controls at the bottom of the window. Save your work, and move the clips around until theyíre in the order you want. Save your work again. If you want to rename your clips to something meaningful, just right click and choose Rename.

Step 3: Edit Your Clips

Now we get to the real bread and butter of using Windows Moviemaker, editing your clips. No doubt youíve captured plenty of footage, much of it that you would prefer to trim down to a clean final cut. Editing is part art, part science. Weíll get to the science of how Moviemaker lets you edit.

First, switch to Timeline view by clicking the Show Timeline button above the Storyboard, or by clicking View => Timeline. In place of the Storyboard boxes you see something that looks like a filmstrip.

To edit, double-click on a clip to let it play in Preview mode, and then choose Clip => Set Start Trim Point, where you want the clip to begin. This is the start of the clip. Now, to set the end of the clip double-click it again, and then choose Clip => Set End Trim Point. The clip will be trimmed, with extra footage removed. Do the same for the other clips, then save your work in Microsoft Moviemaker.

Step 4: Add Some Transitions

Weíve edited our movie in Moviemaker, but the clips just jump from one to the next. To smooth things out a bit, we need transitions, and Windows Moviemaker provides plenty of them.

To begin, letís toggle back to Storyboard view by clicking the Show Storyboard button just above the timeline. Alternately, you could click View => Storyboard from the menus. To access transitions, from the menus click Tools => Video Transitions. Youíll see a whole list of transitions in the Collections Panel of Microsoft Moviemaker. You can preview a transition by double-clicking it, and watching it play in the Monitor window.

Now, how do we apply transitions to the clips? Youíll notice that there are smaller boxes separating the clip boxes from each other. This is where you drag your transitions from the Collections Panel onto the clip. You can use the VCR-like controls on the Monitor to view how your movie will play with the transitions. Remember, however, that with transitions, more is less. Be subtle, and youíll make an effective presentation.

Step 5: Add Some Special Effects

When we go to the movies, we like to see special effects. Microsoft Moviemaker puts that same power in your hands, with its own palette of optional effects. To access these effects, click Tools => Video Effects in Moviemaker. Youíll see a big list of effects, everything from black and white to film grain to brightness and fade controls.

Thereís plenty of room for you to be creative here. How do we apply effects in Windows Moviemaker? Itís similar to transitions. Notice that each of the video clips has a box with a star in the lower left corner. Thatís where you drag your effects. Additionally, you can layer effects one on top of the other.

So, for example, you can double the film speed and add film grain at the same time, to make it look like something out of the silent film era. You can change the stacking order of multiple effects by right-clicking a clip and choosing Video Effects. A dialog box lists your effects with options to rearrange or remove them.

Step 6: Add Some Background Music

Your production would not be complete without background music and narration. To add music in Microsoft Moviemaker, in the Tasks pane choose Import Audio or Music and select your files.

If you want to add narration, just toggle to Timeline view and find an empty space in the audio track for your narration. Then click Tools => Narrate Timeline. You now have audio both in the original video clips, and in additional tracks that you created.

To adjust the audio levels in your clips, right-click on any clip in Moviemaker and adjust volume, fades or mute if you desire. If you want to balance how the music works with your clip audio, click Tools => Audio levels and adjust with the slider.

Step 7: Add Titles and Credits

Titles and credits in Moviemaker are incredibly easy to make, and really make your video look professional. Click Tools => Titles and Credits in Microsoft Moviemaker. Youíll see prompts asking where you want the title/credit to appear.

Select one, then get to work typing in your text. At the bottom are options to change the title animation and text font and color. Play with these, and youíll see your preview in the Monitor window.

Step 8: Create The Final Output

Now is the moment youíve been waiting for! Youíll create your final output. In the Tasks Pane of Moviemaker youíll see a list of output options under Finish Movie.

You can send to web, write back to digital video, save to CD, save to your hard, and so forth. Select the one you want to use. A wizard will come up, guiding you through the rest of the output creation process.

Depending on your selected output, you will be prompted for certain specs to supply. If you send to web, for example, Windows Moviemaker will want to know what your audienceís likely Internet speed and method of access will be like.


Whew! That seems like a lot of steps in Moviemaker, but once you use it, youíll find it very easy. In typical fashion, Microsoft has made this product easy to use and tossed in a few bells and whistles to boot. And at 'free', you just canít beat the price.

The transitions and effects in Microsoft Moviemaker rival those found in other video editing programs - programs that you have to pay for! For someone starting out in video editing wanting to avoid a steep learning curve, we canít think of a better product than Windows Moviemaker.


Articles Of Interest

Ulead VideoStudio 9 software review
A review of Ulead VideoStudio 9, one of my favorite video editing tools from Ulead Systems.

Top 5 free video editing software programs
Information on 5 free video editing software programs that you can download and use.

Some common misconceptions about digital camcorders
This article features some of the most populat myths about digital camcorders.

Burn VCD discs using Nero Burning ROM
Various concepts about camera shutter speeds which you need to know in order to take good photos.

How to choose Firewire cards for video capture
Takes you through the main considerations to think about before buying a Firewire card.

For more articles, be sure to visit

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Ulead DVD MovieFactory is the quick, easy way to make great DVD movies, music discs and write data on DVDs or CDs. The software allows you to burn video straight to disc using no hard drive space. You can also easily trim video clips or add DVD chapters and titles.

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