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Video 101: Editing with Windows Live Movie Maker

Mark Cersosimo
February 15, 2013 by Mark Cersosimo Staff

If you've shot a video on your camera but have no idea where to go from there, then open up your eyes and ears and prepare to be enlightened! This lesson is for PC users. If you have a Mac, you're going to want to check out that lesson here.

So, let's say you've just gotten the last shot of your awesome film and you want the world to see it, where do you begin? First, call the entire world and tell them to get prepared because you're about to blow their minds… you know, right after you edit it and stuff.

Step 1:
The first step is to get the footage onto your computer. You can either use your pychic powers or you can do one of two things: connect the camera to your computer with a USB cable or if your computer has a card reader built into it, you can take the memory card out of your camera and plug it into the memory card reader in your computer. Either way is fine. Locate the memory card on your computer and drag the video files to your desktop so it can now live safely on your computer. We also recommend making a folder with the title of your project and placing the video files in that folder for safe keeping.

Step 2:
Now it's time to open up Windows Live Movie Maker and begin editing. Yay, the fun part! Once you're in the program, click on the 'browse for videos' button in the top menu bar and find the video files you want to edit. This will automatically add the files to the timeline where you will do most of your editing.

You can easily drag the files around in the timeline to set the order you'd like. This will help you create a coherent storyline. If you want to cut a clip, click anywhere on the video and a line will appear where you clicked. You can then click 'Edit' and use the 'Trim' or 'Split' tool to perform the action of your choice. Choose wisely, young grasshopper, but don't be afraid to experiment. If you choose 'Trim', you can then choose your start and end points in the preview window using the play bar. Choose 'Save Trim' to save your changes. Awesome, you're doing great.

Step 3:
Next up is sound and music. Let's spice it up a little bit! Click on 'Video Tools' in the menu bar and there you can choose to alter your video volume as a whole, or to fade in and out between clips. You can choose 'Add music' under the home tab to select music to add to your video. Once you add music, you can use the music tools menu to alter it just as you can with your video's audio. If you're making a silent film, then this section does not apply to you. (I'm looking at you, Charlie Chaplin).

Step 4:
Now you can add transitions and effects! Transitions can help the flow of your video by making cuts between clips more fluid. Effects can greatly alter the look and feel of your video. But don't go crazy! Too much of either of these things can make your video look cheesy. And we don't want that. So use these tools in moderation.

Add effects by selecting the clip, choosing 'Visual Effects' and then clicking on the one you want. Transitions are added by choosing 'Animations' in the menu bar and then clicking the white space between two clips and choosing which transition you'd like.

Step 5:
Now I'll bet you're wondering how to add text and titles? Choose the home button, and choose between 'Title', 'Caption' and 'Credits'. Once you add text, you can use the text tool to change the font, size, color, etc. Play with the different positions on the screen to get the desired effect.

Step 6:
Now it's time to export! This step takes your project and turns it into a video file that can be easily shared and uploaded to Vimeo. To create a custom profile for Vimeo (recommended), click on the home button, and then the 'Save Movie' option. Choose 'Create Custom Setting' and then input our recommended compression settings. Save your setting. Then go back to 'Save Movie' in the menu bar and choose the Vimeo preset you just created. Name your file, choose where on your computer you'd like to save it to, and BOOM! You're done! That's it! Once it's done saving, before it cools off, upload that hot video to Vimeo! Fresh.

So, let's go over what we've learned:

  • Get the footage off of your camera and onto your computer.

  • Open up Windows Live Movie Maker and import all of your footage so you can begin working.

  • You can drag, cut and trim your files exactly how you want them to create a great storyline.

  • Add some music to heighten the tone of your video.

  • Include some transitions to bridge your clips together. Add effects as necessary.

  • Throw in some text and titles if you feel like it.

  • Export that video and share it with the whole world on Vimeo!

    Here's a sample 5x5 video filmed at the Vimeo Festival + Awards 2010! [clip:15701988]

Ready for a challenge?

Take everything you've learned here and create an awesome 5x5 video

Accept this challenge
  1. 1.
    Text and titles can be added to your videos to create title cards, credits and anything else you'd like. Let's find out how to do that now!
  2. 2.
    Transitions and effects in moderation can really make your video pop! These can take an otherwise boring and flat video the next level. Let's learn how!
  3. 3.
    You can edit the sound in your videos and add music to create a more dynamic feel to your videos and add a little extra emotion. Let's learn how!
  4. It's time to learn the basics of editing. If you're on a PC, you can use Windows Live Movie Maker to take your videos from your camera, all the way to Vimeo. It's really simple!
  5. 5.
    Exporting your video is the final step before you upload your video to Vimeo. It's important to get these settings just right for an optimal viewing experience. It's really easy though, let's get star
  6. 6.
    One of the first steps to editing a video is getting that footage into your editing program. This lesson will show you how to import your videos into Windows Live Movie Maker so you can start editing
  7. 7.
    This lesson covers the basics of editing a video together in Windows Live Movie Maker. It's not that hard, I promise.


Amy Wallace

I did attempted to do this. However, every time I go to add an affect or music, Windows Movie Maker shuts down? Any suggestions?

AstroTech Lab

Nice, Can u guide me best microphone for live recording?
Please send a link to a product if you have?

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