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Windows Movie Maker Knowledge Base of Articles, How-To's and Creating Effects
Movie Maker information, tips, tricks, techniques, how-to, articles, creating your own effects.

Home > Free Multimedia Files > Windows Movie Maker > Movie Maker Knowledge Base

Windows Movie Maker Knowledge Base
This section of our website contains a Movie Maker Knowledge Base. Here we will do our best to provide you with as many articles, how-to's and other useful Movie Maker information as possible. Creating your own titles, credits, transitions and effects, editing XML files (required to create Movie Maker titles, credits, effects and transitions), tips for getting the most out of Windows Movie Maker and step-by-step instructions for performing cool tricks are just a few of the things you will find in this area.

Using the Movie Maker Knowledge Base
The Movie Maker Knowledge Base is housed in a collection of web pages that can all be accessed from this main page. When looking for particular information, visit this page first and check the index below.

 Title Screen Add-Ons for Windows Movie Maker and Other Video Editors Windows Movie Maker Knowledge Base Index

Creating Multiple Audio Tracks - Problems / Solutions
Techniques, tips and solutions for solving the single audio track issue in Windows Movie Maker. Learn how to overcome this problem and add mutliple audio tracks.

About Picture File Types Supported by Movie Maker
List of image file types supported by Movie Maker with information about each type. Some information on the best aspect ratios for Movie Maker and a tip to avoid the problem altogether is also provided.

Adding Transitions and Effects to Movie Maker
Movie Maker Basices: How to add transitions and effects to Movie Maker, creating multple effects, rotating video clips and images, previewing transitions and effects and more.

Other Helpful Movie Maker Related Links / Information
 Opens in a New Window Microsoft Download Center - Latest Downloads and Drivers
 Opens in a New Window Images and Windows Movie Maker (Aspect Ratios)

More Movie Maker Add-ons, Plug-ins, Effects, Transitions, Titles / Credits and Information
 Plug-ins, Add-Ons, Titles and Credits Background for Movie Maker Title Packs - Animated & Static Title Screen Backgrounds (Add-ons, Plug-ins)
 FAQ - Plug-ins, Add-Ons, Titles and Credits Background for Movie Maker Frequently Asked Questions About Our Title Packs (FAQ)
 Movie Maker Special Effects - Index of Effects Packs for Movie Maker Move Maker Effects Packs Home - Effects / Transitions / Titles & Credits & More
 Movie Maker Special Effects - BrightRight Effects Pack 'BrightRight' Effects Pack - Total, Precise Brightness Control (Movie Maker Vista)
 Movie Maker Special Effects - Transitions Package: 'Breakup' 'Breakup' Transitions Pack - Very cool transition effects for Movie Maker Vista

 Windows Movie Maker Resources - Information, Add-Ons, Plug-Ins, Special Effects

What is Windows Movie Maker?
Windows Movie Maker is video creation and editing software. It was created by Microsoft and first introduced in the year 2000 as part of Windows ME. Since that time it has undergone some notable improvements and has become a very popular tool for creating and editing movies and videos.

Movie Maker incorporates enough standard features (effects, transitions, titles and credits) to allow users to create nice looking videos and/or home movies, but for those that want to take it a step further, add-ons, plug-ins and self-editing of Movie Maker's included effects and creation of new special effects can make this software shine like much more expensive professional video editing software.

Whether you are a beginner with Windows Movie Maker or an advanced user creating your own special effects, Windows Movie Maker, as free software, is a great choice for anyone wishing to create and/or edit videos.

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iFact #48 - The History and Other Information About Windows Movie Maker
(Movie Maker layout, usage, critisism, importing, exporting, output formats, capturing video etc)
Windows Movie Maker History, Facts and Information

History of Windows Movie Maker
Windows Movie Maker was introduced in 2000 with Windows Me, but suffered from poor reviews due to its modest feature set in comparison with the year-old iMovie product on the Apple Macintosh. Version 1.1 was included in Windows XP a year later, and included support for creating DV AVI and WMV 8 files. Version 2.0 was released as a free update in November 2002, and added a number of new features. Version 2.1, a minor update, is included in Windows XP Service Pack 2. Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 introduced a new version of Windows Movie Maker, 2.5, with more transitions and support for DVD burning. A WPF version was included in some builds of Windows "Longhorn" (now Windows Vista), but was removed in the development reset.

Windows Movie Maker in Windows Vista includes new effects and transitions, and support for the DVR-MS file format that Windows Media Center records television in. The HD version in Premium and Ultimate editions of Windows Vista adds support for capturing from HDV camcorders. The capture wizard will create DVR-MS type files from HDV tapes. However, the Windows Vista version of Windows Movie Maker no longer supports importing video from an analog video source such as a VCR or from a webcam.

Some systems might not be able to run the new version of Windows Movie Maker. Therefore, Microsoft has also released an updated older version 2.6 for Windows Vista on the Microsoft Download Center. This version includes the old effects and transitions, and is basically the same as Windows Movie Maker 2.1, but without the ability to capture video. It requires Windows Vista and is only intended for use on computers where the hardware accelerated version cannot be run.

The layout consists of a storyboard view and a timeline view, collections for organizing imported video, and a preview screen. When in Storyboard view, the video project appears as a film strip showing each scene in clips. The storyboard/timeline consists of one 'Video' (with accompanying 'Audio' bar), one 'Music/Audio' bar, and one 'Titles/Credits' bar. In each bar, clips can be added for editing (e.g., a .WAV music file will belong on the 'Music/Audio' bar). Still images can also be imported into the timeline and "stretched" to any desired number of frames. The Video and Music/Audio bars can be "cut" to any number of short segments, which will play together seamlessly, but the individual segments are isolated editing-wise, so that for example, the music volume can be lowered for just a few seconds while someone is speaking.

Importing Footage / Video Clips / Pictures / Audio Clips
When importing footage into the program, a user can either choose to Capture Video (from camera, scanner or other device) or Import into Collections to import existing video files into the user's collections. The accepted formats for import are .WMV/.ASF, .MPG (MPEG-1), .AVI (DV-AVI), .WMA, .WAV, and .MP3. Additionally, the Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions of Movie Maker support importing MPEG-2 Program streams and DVR-MS formats. Importing of other container formats such as MP4/3GP, FLV and MOV ,MIDI, AIFF, AAC and SWF is not supported unless you have the correct codec installed.

When importing from a DV tape, if the "Make Clips on Completion" option is selected, Windows Movie Maker automatically flags the commencement of each scene, so that the tape appears on the editing screen as a collection of short clips, rather than one long recording. That is, at each point where the "Record" button was pressed, a new "clip" is generated. However, the actual recording on the hard drive is still one continuous file. This feature is also offered after importing files already on the hard drive. In the Windows Vista version, the "Make clips on completion" option has been removed the clips are now automatically created during the capture process.

The efficiency of the importing and editing process is heavily dependent on the amount of file fragmentation of the hard disk. The most reliable results can be obtained by adding an extra hard disk dedicated for scratch space, and regularly re-formatting/defragmenting it, rather than simply deleting the files at the end of the project. Fragmented AVI files result in jerky playback on the editing screen, and make the final rendering process much longer.

Although it is possible to import digital video from cameras through the USB interface, most older cameras only support USB version 1 and the results tend to be poor "sub VHS" quality. Newer cameras using USB 2.0 give much better results. A FireWire interface camera will allow recording and playback of images identical in quality to the original recordings if the video is imported and subsequently saved as DV AVI files, although this consumes disk space at about 1 gigabyte every five minutes (12GB/Hr). Alternatively, most DV cameras allow the final AVI file to be recorded back onto the camera tape for high quality playback. Some standalone DVD recorders will also directly accept DV inputs from video cameras and computers.

Editing and Output
After capture, any clip can be dragged and dropped anywhere on the timeline. Once on the timeline, clips can be duplicated or split, and any of the split sections deleted or copied using the standard Windows keyboard shortcuts or clicked and dragged to another position. Right-clicking any clip brings up the range of editing options. An AutoMovie feature offers predefined editing styles (titles, effects and transitions) for quickly creating movies.

Like all non-linear editing systems, the original camera file on the hard drive is not modified in any way; the current project file is really just a list of instructions for re-recording a final output video file from the original file. Thus, several different versions of the same video can be simultaneously made from the original camera footage.

Windows Movie Maker can only export video in Windows Media formats or DV AVI. It includes some predefined profiles, however, users can create custom profiles which utilize newer codecs using Windows Media Profile Editor (part of Windows Media Encoder 9 Series) and copy those profiles to the %Program Files%\Movie Maker\Shared\Profiles folder for them to be used in Windows Movie Maker. In order for the custom profiles to show up, go to File > Publish Movie. Tasks > Publish Movie will not show any custom profiles.

Earlier versions of Windows Movie Maker did not support direct burning of DVDs. The project had to be first saved as an AVI file, and a separate authoring program used to produce and burn the DVD. (Limited but adequate authoring software was often bundled free with DVD drives). The Windows XP Media Center Edition version, bundled the Sonic DVD Burning engine, licensed from Sonic Solutions to author and burn the DVD. The Windows Vista version of Windows Movie Maker passes the video project to Windows DVD Maker to burn DVD-Video discs.

Video can be exported back to the video camera if supported by the camera. Movie Maker also allows users to publish a finished video on video hosting websites.

Windows Movie Maker can also be used to edit and publish audio tracks. If no video or image is present, then you can just export the sound clips you have as a .wma file.

Effects and Transitions
Versions 2.x included in Windows XP includes 60 transitions, 37 effects, 34 title and 9 credits animations. The Windows Vista version includes a different set of transitions, effects and title/credits animations while dropping a few older ones. There are in all 49 effects and 63 transitions. They are applied by using a drag and drop interface from the effects or transitions folders. Titles and credits can be added as stand alone titles or overlaying them on the clip by adding them onto the selected clip. Titles range from static (non-animated) titles to fly in, fading, news banner, or spinning newspaper animations. Due to the flexible interface, programming custom effects and other content is possible for version 2.0 and higher using XML. The Windows Vista version supports Direct3D-based effects. Microsoft also provides SDK documentation for custom effects and transitions. Since the effects are XML based, users can create and add custom effects and transitions of their own with XML knowledge.

Reception and Criticism of the Windows Movie Maker Product
Movie Maker 1.0, introduced with Windows Me, was widely criticised for being "bare bones" and suffering "a woeful lack of features" and saving movies only in Microsoft's ASF file format. However, critical reception of versions 2.0 and 6.0 has been more positive.

In June 2008, a memo purportedly by Bill Gates from January 2003 was circulated on the Internet in which he heavily criticized the downloading process for Movie Maker at the time.. The memo was originally made available online as part of the plaintiffs' evidence in Comes vs. Microsoft, an antitrust class-action suit, and was submitted as evidence in that case on January 16, 2007.

Another note of concern is Windows Movie Maker lacking the ability to export movies at a framerate higher than 30.

Source: Wikipedia

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