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A Guide on Windows Movie Maker (Windows XP)

This guide will show you how to edit films with Windows Movie Maker. In this guide I will be using the version that comes with Windows XP.


First open the program up, it should look like this:


Importing Media

You can import media such as pictures, audio and videos from the movie tasks menu. To import a file you must click import then the type of file you want (video, pictures, audio).

Choose the file you want, it will appear in the imported media section:

Adding Imported Media to the Timeline or Storyboard

The timeline is where all your pictures, audio or movies are all together in the order and length that you select.

To show the timeline click the ‘Show Timeline’ button.


In the imported media section, right-click on a picture you want first and select 'add to timeline'. It should look like this:

Here it shows you where the video is and the audio will go underneath and can be moved about to go with the video.

Now you can resize the picture to the length of the animation by dragging the sides to the right size:

You can also use the magnifying glasses to zoom in and out.

Adding Transitions and Other Effects

A transition is a special effect that happens between to pictures in the timeline. The transition could be the first picture dissolves into the second or it spinning into the next picture etc.

Click the 'Show Storyboard' button and the timeline will change into the storyboard like this: 

Then in the menu on the left in the edit section click ‘View Video Transitions’:

Then this should appear:


These are a selection of transitions. When you have two pictures in the storyboard, drag one of them into the space between them, the transition will appear there. Try out different ones to see which suits best. You don't have to use them.

On the menu on the left, now click effects to see the list of effects. These add effects to a picture or video. Drag them to the star on the picture in the storyboard. Try them out to see what different effects are available. Some effects include making the clip look old fashioned, make the clip speed up or slow down.


Adding Titles or Credits to Your Movie


If you want to make credits either at the start or end of the film, or make a title half way through the film then you can add these in by again going to the movie tasks menu, this time click 'Titles and Credits'.

Here you can select what type of title or credits you want. To add text on top of your video, use the ‘Add title on the selected clip’ option.


After clicking on an option you will be able to change the type of animation, font and colour from ‘More options’.

A preview of what the credits will look like will appear beside it. Click 'Done, add title to movie' and the title will appear where you wanted it.

If the credits are moving too slow or too fast then switch to the timeline and either shorten or expand the clip size after you have added the title/credit to the movie. 

Saving a Movie

To save your film so that you can work on it later: Go to ‘File > Save Project’

To export your film so you can watch it in Media Player etc. you will need to publish the film.

Go to the movie tasks menu and click ‘Save to my computer' and a window will pop up; choose where to save the movie and click 'Next':


Select ‘Best quality for playback on my computer’

Now click publish movie and you're done. You must export your film for it to work as a video file. A Windows Movie Maker project file cannot be sent to other people or play in any media player.



Adding Audio or Narration to Your Movie


If you have sound effects or music you want to add to your movie, just import them the same way as before and add them to the timeline, you can also do the same for voice recordings. They will be in the audio section; here you can drag them along to the spot where the sound effect or song is needed. Zoom in so you can get the sound effect perfect at the spot you want.


If you want to add your own voice to the video then you can import an audio file or use an option which Movie Maker has called 'Narrate Timeline'. First you will need to have a microphone, some computers have them built in, if not microphones can be plugged into the USB or microphone input on your computer.

In the drop menu, select 'Narrate Timeline' and this should appear:


When you're ready click 'Start Narration' and it will start recording you. Once you've finished recording press 'Stop Narration' and your computer will ask you to save it, click ‘save’ and your audio clip will automatically go into the timeline. Remove the start and beginning of the clip if there is a big gap there. Drag it along to the correct place in the movie and you're done. Make sure you're not too close to the microphone and you can always re-record it again. Press close again to return to the imported section.

Note: When recording a clip, make sure there is a picture or video already in the timeline. If not, you cannot record anything. The recording only lasts for the length of your video in the timeline so to have a longer recording you will need more in the timeline.