Windows Movie Maker Overview

You can use Windows Movie Maker to import audio and video to your computer from a digital video (DV) camera, and then use the imported content in your movies. You can also import existing audio, video, or still pictures into Windows Movie Maker to use in the movies you create.

After editing the audio and video content in Windows Movie Maker, which can include adding titles, transitions, or effects, you can then publish your final movie and share it with your friends and family.

  • Understanding the Windows Movie Maker tools

Windows Movie Maker is divided into three main areas: the panes, the storyboard/timeline, and the preview monitor. The following picture shows the basic areas of Windows Movie Maker:

These sections provide a brief introduction to these areas.

  • About the panes

The main features of the Windows Movie Maker user interface appear in separate panes. Depending on which tasks you want to complete, you can alternate between using the Collections view and the Tasks views.

The Tasks pane lists the common tasks that you may need to perform when making a movie, including importing files, editing your movie, and publishing your movie.

The Collections pane displays your collection folders, which contain clips. The collection folders appear in the Collections pane on the left, and the clips in the

selected collection folder are displayed in the Contents pane on the right. The following picture shows the Collections pane:

The Contents pane shows clips, effects, or transitions you're working with while you create your movie, depending on the view you're working with. You can change the view to show thumbnails or details.

You can drag clips, transitions, or effects from the Contents pane or a collection from the Collections pane to the storyboard/timeline for your current project. You can also drag clips to the preview monitor to play them. If you make changes to a clip, those changes are only reflected in the current project; they do not affect the source file.

The preview monitor allows you to view individual clips or a

n entire project. By using the preview monitor, you can preview your project before publishing it as a movie. You can use the playback controls to navigate through an individual clip or an entire project. You can also use the buttons on the preview monitor to perform functions such as splitting a video or audio clip into two smaller clips or taking a picture of the current frame that is displayed in the preview monitor.

  • About the story board and timeline

The area where you create and edit your project is displayed in two views, the storyboard and the timeline. You can switch between these two views when making a movie.

Storyboard. The storyboard is the default view in Windows Movie Maker. You can use the storyboard to look at the sequence or ordering of the clips in your project and easily rearrange them, if necessary. This view also lets you see any video effects or video transitions that have been added. Audio clips that you have added to a project are not displayed on the storyboard, but you can see them in the timeline view. The following picture shows the storyboard view in Windows Movie Maker:

Timeline. The timeline view provides a more detailed view of your movie project and allows you to make finer edits. Using the timeline view you can trim video clips, adjust the duration of transitions between clips, and view the audio track. You can use the timeline to review or modify the timing of clips in your project. Use the timeline buttons to switch to storyboard view, zoom in or out on details of your project, narrate the timeline, or adjust the audio levels. The following picture shows the timeline view in Windows Movie Maker:

  • About the preview monitor

The preview monitor shows the clip or picture you're working on. You can use it to view clips or pictures in your collections folders or in the project you're working on. Use the buttons underneath the preview monitor to play or pause a clip, or to advance or rewind a clip frame by frame. The Split button allows you to split a clip into two parts at exactly the point displayed in the preview monitor.

You can make the preview monitor larger or smaller by clicking View, pointing to Preview Monitor Size, and choosing a size. You can also drag the window to make it larger or smaller.

  • Understanding Collections, Projects and Movies

Windows Movie Maker makes it easy for you to organize your video clips, pictures, and audio files using a set of folders known as collections. You can see your collections by clicking View, and then clicking Collections.

To learn more about collections, see Work with folders.

When you begin moving your video clips, audio clips, and pictures to the storyboard or timeline, Windows Movie Maker creates a project that contains all the information about the order of your files, along with any transitions or effects you might add. You can save the project so that the next time you open it in Windows Movie Maker you'll see all the information in the order you left it. To learn more about projects, see Work with projects.

When you have all of your videos clips, audio clips, and pictures in the order you like, you can create your movie by clicking Publish Movie. You can publish your movie to your computer, save it to a recordable CD, send it as an attachment in an e‑mail message, or record it on a digital video (DV) tape. If you have Windows DVD Maker, which is included in Windows Vista Ultimate and Windows Vista Home Premium, you can also save it directly to a DVD. To learn more about publishing your movie, see Publish a movie.