To make a good video, you need good editing software. Though sometimes that software may cost you a pretty penny, so there are times where you will want to opt for some free versions. Windows Live Movie Maker happens to be one of those free versions of video editing software. Is it worth downloading?
Keep in mind that Windows Live Movie Maker is an editing software ONLY. It cannot record footage off of your computer. First, use different software to record the footage, then either send it directly to Movie Maker or save the file and open it up in Movie Maker. You can also load in static images, and you can change the time in which the image stays up.
Once you’ve loaded in any necessary videos or images, editing them is pretty simple. And I mean simple. Tools-wise, you get the bare minimum needed to adjust the length of your video, add music, and add credits. You won’t be doing any fancy editing with this program.
Here is a screenshot of me editing an episode of my Youtube channel, Antio Plays.
As you can see from this screenshot, Windows Live Movie Maker supplies you with five tabs: Home, Animations, Visual Effects, Project, and View.
The Home tab is where the meat of the editing will be done. I lets you cut/copy/paste parts of the video, and you can add music and images from your documents folder from here, too. They work as expected, except my only gripe with adding pictures is where they’re added. Say I’ve got a long video, and I want to add an image to the beginning. When I open up an image to add it, the image gets dropped right smack at the end of the video, and it won’t let me cut/paste it to the top. I have to manually click and drag that sucker to the very top of my video as the screen scrolls up very, very slowly. It’s hard to explain, but to put it simply, it’s a pain putting images in the front of your video. I found that a way around this is to cut a sliver from your video, click on that section, and add the image there. Then you can easily click and drag the image over to the top, no hassle. Yes, it isn’t the end of the world that I have to do this, but it is pretty annoying.
The last thing on the Home tab is Theme, which to be honest I didn’t really mess around with that much. They let you put an opening title or credit to the beginning of your video in a fancy way. I didn’t feel a need to use them because of the next tab – Animations.
If you’re making a video with multiple segments, then you’ll want to put some transitions in them. This is what Animations is for. You can choose a wipe, fade, or open, among others. To place it, all you have to do is click on the segment you want, and choose the desired transition. Pretty simple. You can also change the duration of the animation if you wish.
The next tab is a bit similar, Visual Effects. Unlike Animations, this tab lets you choose a filter to last throughout the entire segment. You can make your video black and white, fuzzy, fade out, etc. It works the same as with Animations. Click on the segment and choose the filter. The filters provided are really simple, but it isn’t too bad for free software.
The next two tabs are Project and View. Project lets you line up the music with the video, of fit the screen to your liking. View is pretty self-explanatory. It lets you zoom in or out of your video.
The last part of the toolbar is the Edit tab. There are separate Edit tabs for music, video, and text (captions), depending on which one is selected at the moment. Fundamentally, they are all the same. It lets you choose the speed of which the media fades in or out, or lets you decide the volume of the video/music. You can change the duration of the selected media and at what part of the video it starts. For video and music, this is where the trim/split tool is located for simple edits. Caption edit allows you to also choose how the text enters the screen. You can also change the font, color, and duration of the text, as expected. All of these features are simple and easy to use, and they are very accessible to someone who is inexperienced with video editing software. My only complaint is that you can’t stack captions, such as putting on a caption, and keeping that one up while adding another one on the screen. Mover Maker only allows you to put up one caption at a time, which I found disappointing.
Once you have finished editing your video, you can head over to the File tab to save it, post it directly to social media, or render it for high-definition display. Rendering the video will vary in time, depending on the length of it. I’ve found that 20-30 minute videos will take between half an hour to a full hour to render.
In summary, Windows Live Movie Maker is a very simplistic, yet useful free video editing software. It is best used as an introductory to video editing. The tools given are the bare minimum needed to make a video, but as a result aren’t too hard to grasp. Using it over time, you will learn what certain edits do and can develop your own editing style to use in more advanced software. I don’t use Windows Live Movie Maker anymore, but I can say that when I did, it showed me what the fundamentals to making a video are so I could learn more complicated techniques down the line. If you’re itching to make flashy videos, Windows Live Movie Maker will disappoint you. If you just want a free way to edit videos on the fly, then you’ll find that Movie Maker does the job.
Windows Live Movie Maker is part of Windows Essentials 2012, which includes Windows Live Mail, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, Messenger, Writer, and OneDrive.