The Beginner’s Guide to Windows Movie Maker

Featured Windows Movie Maker Graphic

Windows Movie Maker is a basic video editor that comes free with bundled Windows systems. Microsoft officially discontinued support in January 2017 in favor of Story Remix. However, if you have a slightly older PC running on Windows 10, you can use the classic video-editing software without any problems.

Follow the simple steps below to brush up your skills in Windows Movie Maker and create professional-looking videos.

Select Your Best Raw Footage

Select Best Video Footage in Windows Movie Maker

To save on post-production efforts, always select the best versions of your raw, unrefined video footage. The pure stock in original footage makes it more flexible for directorial edits unlike previously processed video films. Use 4k and HD clips whenever available. You might also require access to royalty-free music. For images, use Creative Commons or stills from your camera. The following clips are from a 2018 New Year party in Bangkok.

Import Video Clips into Timeline

Windows Movie Maker - Import Videos

Importing video clips and images into Movie Maker timeline is easily achieved from “Home.” It is always a good idea to work with the “extra large” thumbnail size while doing frame edits. However, while organizing your timeline, it is better to use “small” thumbnail sizes. You can easily move video frames using “Cut and Paste.” Or, select and drag them to any position within the timeline. Once your timeline is organized, you can focus on the storyboard.

Optimize the Introduction

Well begun is half done. You have the first few seconds to grab the attention of your video viewer. Windows Movie Maker has a default “Title” option, but it looks boring and dull with absurd color schemes.

The following is an easy technique that will help you achieve a more attractive beginning. Use the “Split” tool (see next section) to chop a brief intro section that you can do away with (0.06 seconds in below example), import a “still” from the event into the timeline, move it right next to the first frame, then delete the first frame.

Movie Maker- Delete Opening Frame - Add Captions and Picture

Rather than using default fonts, use two tools called “Transparency” and “Outline Size” to get better-looking captions for image text. You need to have more variety.

movie-maker-outline-text-effects

Four Features to Remember: Rotate. Split. Trim. Stabilize.

The good thing about Windows Movie Maker is that there aren’t too many features to worry about. These four features will help you perform basic edits on your timeline.

  1. Rotate: Use this feature to rotate your images and clips by 90 degrees left or right.
  2. Split: One of the most important features. It helps you divide any two sections of a frame. Use the “extra large” thumbnail size for professional splitting.
  3. Trim: Trim your video footage to an ideal size with this clipper.
  4. Stabilize: Do your hands shake a lot while holding a camera? With the ” Video Stabilization” feature, you can correct your mistakes.

Movie Maker Best Features

Remove Jump Cuts

Windows Movie Maker-Remove Jump Cuts

Jump cuts are the biggest annoyances of an amateurish video. If your camera shakes a lot, you must remove those instances from the video. While Windows Movie Maker does not have any edge-softening features, you can greatly minimize jump cuts using the “Waveform” tool. It is available in the “View” tab. As you can see in the below screen, if the crests and troughs look even and unbroken, it is fine. However, when there is no waveform, it is likely to be a jump cut. Select and remove it from the timeline.

Special Effects

Windows Movie Maker has quite a lot of special effects including “pan” and “zoom,” which you can use to give a classy edge to the videos. Just do not overuse them. There are also interesting transitions and visual effects which should be used sparingly.

Windows Movie Maker - Pan Up Effect

You can also “insert narrations” in your video clips during post-production. Use a digital voice recorder for clear audio and for eliminating echoes.

digital-voice-recorder

Save and Publish

Windows Movie Maker offers several options to save your video. You can fine-tune and adjust the settings for YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo or DailyMotion. If you don’t want to publish online, just use the settings for high-definition display.

Windows-Movie-Maker-Save-Publish

Conclusion

Windows Movie Maker is popular for its simplicity, lightweight interface and easy to place design elements. Though not as feature-rich as Adobe Premiere Pro, Lightworks or iMovie, it does the job satisfactorily.

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2 comments

  1. Where would one get this? Doesn’t look like it’s available anymore:

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4054502/windows-10-movie-maker-is-no-longer-available-for-download

    1. With latest Windows PCs you can’t. If your Windows 10 PC came out before Jan 2017, just enter “movie maker” on search.

      I can’t recommend online 3rd party download options here. This is because there are Movie Maker malware variants everywhere.

      In latest Windows 10 PCs as in the older ones, you can find Story Remix which does retain some of the features.

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