How To Create A Movie
With Microsoft MovieMaker
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
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
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
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
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.
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