Windows Live Movie Maker Overview

March 3, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Windows Live Movie Maker is a key component of the Windows Live Essentials 2011 package of tools available free from Microsoft. The latest version of Microsoft’s Movie Maker application that shipped with the first Service Pack in Windows XP, this software is great for creating your own home movies from clips captured from video cameras, camera phones and webcams.

Intro to Windows Live Movie Maker

The application offers various tools, allowing you to add and edit clips together, apply transitions and effects and even add preset movie themes, just as you might apply styles in Microsoft Word.

Getting Started with Windows Live Movie Maker

To take advantage of this application, you will need to download the Windows Live Essentials 2011 suite from Microsoft. The downloaded installer file will let you choose which component applications you want to add to your computer – choose Install all of Windows Live Essentials (recommended) to install the whole suite or use the Choose programs you want to install option to customize your installation and select Movie Maker on its own.

When installed, the software will be ready to run from Start > All Programs.

Key Features of Windows Live Movie Maker

In this introduction tutorial, we’re going to focus on the key elements of Windows Live Movie Maker, each of which can be accessed via the ribbon menu.

On the Home tab you will see the Clipboard, vital for cutting, copying and pasting clips, while the Add section provides functionality for adding and capturing clips and including onscreen text.

The AutoMovie themes section applies various pre-designed themes to your movie clip, many of which can be applied in singular form from other menus.

Next, the Editing section is best used to rotate your movie clips, particularly useful if you have recorded them on a mobile phone, while the Share tools will allow you to upload or prepare your clip for uploading to any of the suggested services such as YouTube or Facebook.

Animations and Effects in Windows Live Movie Maker

Meanwhile the Animations tab offers Transitions for adding to the beginning of each clip, and clips can be further enhanced by the addition of Pan and zoom tools which close in on a particular element of a clip.

On the Visual Effects tab some filter effects can be applied to clips, while the Projects tab allows some manipulation of the audio mix and the choice to switch between Aspect ratios (particularly useful if you are looking for a cinematic look or have rotated a clip imported from a mobile device).

In addition to all of these options, Windows Live Movie Maker also features some contextual menus on the ribbon such as the Edit menu which appears when new video clips are added.

Our next tutorial on Windows Live Movie Maker will take a look at how you can create a basic movie by importing and editing clips together.

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