How can you turn a home video into a movie that everyone will want to watch? The key to any good movie is the editing process. Windows Movie Maker can transform your collection of clips into a single masterpiece, complete with credits, a soundtrack and slick transitions. Follow this guide to make a home video the way it's meant to be.
Part 1 of 3: Getting started
Step 1. Download Windows Essentials
This is a free software package from Microsoft that includes Windows Movie Maker, among other Windows utilities. You can find the installer on Microsoft's website.
Windows Movie Maker is part of Windows Vista and XP, but must be downloaded for Windows 7 and 8
Step 2. Open Windows Movie Maker
You can find it in the Start menu under All programs, or you can search for “movie maker” and select it from the search results.
Step 3. Get familiar with the interface
Windows Movie Maker 2012 is organized in the same way as Microsoft Office. You can navigate through the different options by clicking on the tabs at the top of the window.
- Home – This is the main tab of Movie Maker. You can use it to add videos, images, and sound to your project. You can also select pre-made themes for the video, rotate the image, and upload the project to websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo.
- Animations – This tab allows you to add transitions between clips.
- Visual Effects – This tab allows you to change the color and tone of the image. You can make the image black and white or turn the color saturation all the way up.
- Project – Allows you to make global changes for the entire project by adjusting the audio mix and changing the aspect ratio of the video.
- View – This tab lets you zoom in and out on the timeline, change thumbnail sizes, and view the waveforms for your movie's audio.
- Edit – This menu is displayed after you add the first video clip. You can use this tab to trim the clip, set a new start point or end point, or fade in and out and stabilize the video.
- Options – This tab appears after you add a music file to your project. You can set start and end times for the music, fade it in and out, and split the file.
Part 2 of 3: Making a video
Step 1. Add video clips
Click the Home tab and then click the "Add Videos and Photos" button. This offers the possibility to search your computer for a video file. You can also drag and drop files to the main window to add them to the project.
- If you want to create a slideshow or add still images to the project, you can add images the same way you add videos.
- If you have a webcam connected to your computer, you can record a clip directly into the project via the 'Webcam video' button.
Step 2. Shuffle your clips
Once you've added some video clips, you can drag and drop them to rearrange them. This can certainly be useful if you want to add a video clip to the project later but want to place it in the middle of the movie.
Step #3. Edit the video clips you added
Select one of the clips and click Options. Move the cursor to the point of the video you want to edit. You can then specify a start and end point, or you can split the video at that point by pressing the appropriate button in the Options tab.
If you find it difficult to move the cursor to a specific part, you can enter the exact time in the field
Step 4. Add transitions to your clips
Select the first clip and then click the Animations tab. The Transitions group now shows you animations that will play at the beginning of the movie.
To make a transition between the first and second clip, select the second clip of the project. You can choose from the available transitions. Use the arrow buttons at the end of the transitions list to scroll through more options
Step 5. Add an audio track
Click the Home tab. If you want to add narration to the movie, click on the “Record narration” button. This allows you to record your own voice, provided a microphone is connected.
To add a music file to your video, click the “Add music” button. You can choose to download music from a free website or use music files from your computer
Step 6. Add titles to it
You can add a title to the beginning of each video clip if you want. This can certainly be useful for making presentations. Click the Add Title button in the Home tab. This creates a title screen and opens the Format tab, which allows you to change the properties of the text and background color.
Step 7. Add credits to it
Click the “Add credits” button in the Home tab to add Credits at the end of your project. You can add multiple cards for multiple credits screens, and you can use the Effects group in the Format tab to create running credits just like a real movie.
Part 3 of 3: Finishing the video
Step 1. Preview your creation
When you're done putting everything together, use the “Preview full screen” button in the View tab to watch the movie from start to finish. Make a note of any point that is incorrect or that needs adjustment.
Step 2. Share the video to a social network directly
You can use the Share group in the Home tab to upload the video directly to sites such as YouTube and Facebook. Movie Maker will ask what resolution the video should be saved in, and then ask you to sign in to your Microsoft Account. Once you've done that, you can start uploading the video, as long as the video conforms to the guidelines of the site you want to upload it to.
You need a verified YouTube account to upload videos longer than 15 minutes
Step 3. Save the video to your computer
Click the arrow below the “Save movie” button in the Home tab to open a list of some preset file formats you can use to save your video. Choose the device you want to start watching the video on, and Movie Maker will do the conversion for you automatically.
- The first option is recommended settings for your specific project.
- You can choose “Create custom settings” to specify exactly how you want the video to be encoded.