Windows Movie Maker Tutorial

Overview

Windows-movie-maker-2012-LogoWindows Movie Maker 12 is a free software from Microsoft as part of the Windows Essentials software suite and it gives users the ability to edit and make movies as well as to publish them onto the internet.  Movie Maker allows you to edit recorded video clips from digital cameras and camcorders as well as videos downloaded from the internet.  It can be used to combine clips from a variety of sources into a single video file and it can also be used to capture video from a digital camcorder.

See Lynda.com for an in-depth video tutorial on using Windows Movie Maker.  Read more about how to access Lynda.com.

Installing Movie Maker

If you do not have Movie Maker, you will need to install it on your computer.Windows Essentials 2012 suite has reached end of support on January 10, 2017. For more information, visit Microsoft’s introduction to Movie Maker. You can still download Windows Movie Maker from third party sites, such as WinMovieMaker.com.

NOTE:  The Windows Essentials package will download several other software in addition to Movie Maker.  If you do not want additional software to be downloaded, install Movie Maker separately.

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Startup

Open Movie Maker.

Once you have opened Movie Maker, you should be presented with the program window.
Movie Maker Opening Screen

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Importing Content from a File

See a list of video, photo, and audio file types that are compatible with Movie Maker.

Movie Maker Add Videos and PhotosIf you have digital content, such as video files on a digital camera or SD card/memory stick, or have downloaded videos from iTunes or any other internet service, you can browse for this digital content by clicking Add Videos and Photos in the Home tab.

In the Add Videos and Photos dialogue box, locate and select the file(s) you want and click Open.
Movie Maker Adding a Video

 

Once you have added your video files, you will see the video clips in your Track in the Storyboard Pane:
Movie Maker Window with Clips Labeled

  1. The Preview Pane allows you to preview effects and edits to your movie.  It also allows you to view the precise frame the black Scrub Bar is located on in the Track.
  2. The Storyboard Pane is your work window and it is where you will edit and add to your Track.
  3. The Track contains all of your video clips and edits and effects that you have added to your movie.
  4. The black Scrub Bar will slide along the Track and it will indicate precisely what frame you are viewing in the Preview Pane.
  5. The zoom bar allows you to zoom in and out of your Track.
  6. Use this button to change the size of your video clips’ thumbnails.
  7. Use the play button to play your video clip in the Preview Pane.  Use the previous-frame and next-frame buttons to move the Scrub Bar between frames.

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Capturing from Camera

image018To capture from any input device, click File > Import from device.  Any digital camcorders or webcams connected to your computer should appear in this list.

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Once you have selected the input device, click Import.  On the next screen, you will want to select Choose parts of the video to import.  You can also name your first clip, but you can leave this blank, and have Movie Maker name it with the date and time.  Click Next when you’re done.

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The next screen is where you’ll be recording your video.  When you are ready to begin recording, click Import.  When you are finished, click Stop.

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If you make a mistake and wish to re-record your clip, you can click Import again to try again.  If you are satisfied with your clip, click Finish.

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Your clip will be added to Windows Photo Gallery, which should open automatically.  Click and drag your clip into Movie Maker to begin editing your content.

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Editing Your Content

Movie Maker Split and Trim Tools Highlighted The most common editing tool you will need is the Trim tool or Split, both of which perform the function of truncating, or shortening, any video clip in your Track.  You can find these editing tools under Video Tools > Edit tab > Editing group.

 

 

Splitting a Clip

The simplest way to truncate, or shorten, a video is to Split a video clip into two.  You can edit either of these two clips independently from one another or choose to delete one clip and keep the other clip for later use.
Movie Maker Splitting a Clip
To split a video clip, drag the Scrub Bar along the Track to the part of the clip you want to split and click Split.

 

Using the Trim Tool

The Trim tool allows you to crop a smaller clip out of a larger clip.  For instance, when there is blank space in the front and tail end of your video clip or if you only want to take a brief scene out of a larger video, you can use the Trim tool to crop your clip.

There are three ways you can use the Trim tool:

  1. Drag the black Scrub Bar along the track and click Set start point and Set end point at the frames you want cropped.
  2. Click and drag the start point and end point bars in the Preview Pane.
    Movie Maker Set Start and End Points
  3. Manually type in the start and end point times in the Start point and End point boxes.
    Movie Maker Set Points Markers Manually

When you are satisfied with your trim, click Save trim.

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Customizing Your Content

Movie Maker offers a variety of options for you to customize your movie.  You can find many of these options in the Home tab.

Movie Maker Home Tab

You can add a theme to your movie from the AutoMovie themes group in the Home tab.  You can place a still image or a screenshot of a clip to create a still moment in your movie.  You can also rotate a video clip left or right or remove it entirely from the Track.

If you have a microphone, you can record narration for your movie and add it as an audio clip.

Titles

Movie Maker Title Your Title Preview PaneTitles are added to the beginning of a video clip.  To add a title, select the clip in your Track that you want to add a title to and then click Home tab > Add group > Title.  Type the text for your title in the text box, located in the Preview Pane.

You can add multiple titles to your movie and add multiple titles to the same video clip.  You can change the appearance of a title’s text, expand or shrink its text box, add a title effect, and select the title’s background color and duration.

Movie Maker View of Title in StoryBoard PaneTo move a title to another clip, click and drag that title’s thumbnail to that part of the Track (the title’s text will move with its thumbnail).  If you want a title’s text and its video to play asynchronously, drag its text, located just beneath its thumbnail, to where you want it to appear in your movie.

 

Captions

Movie Maker Typing a CaptionCaptions are used to describe or to explain to viewers what they are seeing in a video clip.  You can add a caption at any point in the Track.  To add a caption, select the part of the clip that you want to add a caption to and then click Home tab > Add group > Caption.  Type the text for your caption in the text box, located in the Preview Pane.

You can add multiple captions to your movie and add multiple captions to the same video clip.  You can change the appearance of a caption’s text, expand or shrink its text box, add a caption effect, and select the caption’s duration.

Movie Maker Caption Move AroundTo move a caption to another point in your movie, click and drag it along the Track to where you want it to appear.

 

 

Credits

To add credits to your movie, select the last clip in your Track and then click Home tab > Add group > Credits.  You can choose to add different types of credits to your movie and can change the position of the credits’ text and video in your Track.

 

Transitions

Transitions are located in the Animations tab.
Movie Maker Transitions Tab

To preview a transition, hover your mouse over the selection to preview it in the Preview Pane.

NOTE:  There are different transition options offered for the first clip compared with the transition options offered for later clips.

To add a transition, select the clip from your Track that you want to add a transition to and then click on a transition option from the Transitions group.  Clips with transitions are marked with a white diagonal line that divides their thumbnail.  Transitions in the first clip and later clips are marked differently:

Transition in first clip Transition in subsequent clips
Movie Maker Transition for First Clip Looks Like Movie Maker Transition for Later Clips Look Like

 

If you want to add more than one transition to the same video clip, Split the clip into two separate clips.  Then add a transition to the second clip.

 

Pan and Zoom

Pan and Zoom effects are located in the Animation tab.
Movie Maker Pan and Zoom Tab
Moivie Maker Pan and Zoom Icon ViewTo preview a pan and zoom effect, hover your mouse over the selection to preview it in the Preview Pane.  To add a pan and zoom effect, select the clip from your Track that you want to add a pan and zoom effect to then click on a pan and zoom option from the Pan and Zoom group.  Clips with a pan and zoom effect are marked by a small icon in the top left-hand corner of their thumbnail.

If you want to add more than one pan and zoom effect to the same video clip, Split the clip into two separate clips.  Then add a pan and zoom effect to the second clip.

 

Visual Effects

Visual Effects offer a variety of filters and editing effects you can use to change the appearance of your video clips.  Visual Effects are located in the Visual Effects tab.
Movie Maker Visual effects Tab

Movie Maker Visual effects Presence IconTo preview a visual effect, hover your mouse over the selection to preview it in the Preview Pan.  To add a visual effect, select the clip from your Track that you want to add a visual effect to and click on a visual effect option from the Effects group.  Clips with a visual effect are marked with a small icon in the top left-hand corner of their thumbnail.

If you want to add more than one visual effect to the same video clip, Split the clip into two separate clips.  Then add a visual effect to the second clip.

 

Adding Audio

See a list of video, photo, and audio file types that are compatible with Movie Maker.

Movie Maker enables you to add your own audio clips or to find and add audio clips from online sources.  You can add multiple audio clips to your movie.  To add an audio clip to your movie, click Home tab > Add group > Add music.

In the Add Music dialogue box, locate and select the audio file you want and click Open.
Movie Maker Adding Music

Once you have added your audio file, you will see the audio clip in your Track in the Storyboard Pane.
Movie Maker Editing your AudioTo edit your audio clip, click under Music Tools > Options tab > Editing group.  You can set the audio to Fade in or to Fade out of your video clip and determine how quickly you want the audio to fade.

In addition, Movie Maker allows you to set the audio’s duration as well as to control what part of the audio clip you want it to start playing at and where in the movie you want that to play.  To select what part of the audio clip you want it to start playing at, manually type in the time in the Start point box.

To control when the audio clip will play in the movie, manually type in the times into the Start time and End point boxes

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Click and drag the audio clip in your Track to the location you want it to be.

 

Example of a Customized Storyboard Pane

Here is an example of what your Track could look like if you have edited and customized your movie:
Movie Maker Finished StoryBoard Pane

Details of video effects in clip 2 Details of text effects in clip 1
Movie Maker Video Clip Description Movie Maker Caption Details

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Saving Your Movie

Movie Maker Save Your Movie Menu Tab

Once you have finished editing your video clips and are ready to combine them into a single movie file, click File tab > Save movie.

You can choose how you want to save your movie and in which format you want your movie to be optimized for.  Movie Maker offers a variety of formats: such as for mobile devices, tablets, or as a DVD.  If you want to upload your movie to a website, such as CourseWeb, select For email.  If you want to share your movie, you can choose to publish it to social media.

If you are unsure of how you want to save your movie, select Recommended for this project to let Movie Maker decide for you.

Whichever you choose, you will be prompted to name your video and save it to your computer.  Once you have named it, click Save.

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Publishing Your Movie

Movie Maker Publish Movie Menu Tab Options Movie Maker allows you to publish your movie to various social media outlets.  To publish your movie, click File tab > Publish movie.

If you choose to publish your movie online, you will be asked to select a resolution for your movie.  Click on the resolution that you want for your movie.

Movie Maker Sign into Microsoft AccountIf you are not already signed into your Microsoft account, you will be prompted to sign in.  If you do not have a Microsoft account, you can create a new account at any time.  If you do not wish to open a new account at this time, save your movie and email it to yourself instead.

That’s it!   You have just made your movie and are ready to publish it to the web or to a disk!

Watch the Example (0:24)

 

For additional help with Movie Maker, see Help with Movie Maker from Microsoft.