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How to Edit Movies in Windows Vista Using Windows Movie Maker

written by: Jennifer Claerr•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/23/2011

If you want to edit your movies in Windows Vista, the free Windows Movie Maker video editor is your best bet. Learn how to import video and audio into Windows Movie Maker, edit your movie, add other elements to make your movie complete.

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    Windows Movie Maker Basics

    The simplest and least expensive way to edit movies in Windows Vista is by using Windows Movie Maker. Windows Movie Maker has easy-to-use tools that you can use to import and edit your pictures, movie footage and music files, then make them into a Windows Movie Video (WMV) movie file. You can get your movie footage directly from your digital video camera or import it from a folder on your computer. Windows Movie Maker also comes with many effects, transitions, and tools to create titles and credits for your movies. Windows Movie Maker supports a wide range of video, image, and audio formats, making it easier to edit your movie in Windows Vista. You can easily add or remove movie clips, pictures, audio tracks and other elements as you edit your movie. You can also preview your movie in Windows Media Player as many times as you like as you work. If you have Windows Vista Home Premium, Business, or Ultimate, you can also edit your movies in high definition.

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    Importing Pictures, Video and Audio into Windows Movie Maker

    In the "Import" menu, select how you want to import your media. Select "From digital video camera" if you would like to capture video directly from your camera. Select "Videos" to import videos from a folder on your computer. Select "Pictures" to import images from your computer to create a slide show in Vista's Windows Movie Maker. Then select "Audio or Music" to import files for your sound track. In the drop-down menu at the top of the screen, make sure that "Imported Media" is selected. Browse through your video clips, images, and audio files to see which ones you would like to use in your movie. You can preview your movie clips by selecting the click and pressing the "Play" button in the preview window on the right.

    Before continuing, ensure that Vista's Windows Movie Maker is in "Storyboard" editing mode. If it isn't, click the arrow on the bottom left of the screen to access the drop-down menu. "Storyboard" editing mode helps to simplify the process of adding video clips and pictures to your movie from the "Imported Media" window.

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    Editing Your Movie

    Click and drag your images or movie clips to the Storyboard frames. Then click the arrow beside "Storyboard" and select "Timeline" from the drop-down menu. Select each picture or movie segment and drag the edges to the left or right until they're the right length. Under "Edit," click "Transitions." Return to "Storyboard" mode and drag the desired transition to the space between your movie clips. Click "Effects" and drag the effect you want to each section within the storyboard. The star will appear in the lower left hand corner of the segment to show that an effect has been applied.

    Return to "Timeline" mode and then click and drag your audio track to the timeline. Make any adjustments you feel are necessary to edit the video to match the music. Select "Tools" and "Narrate timeline" if you would like to add a narrative track to your movie. Plug in a directional microphone that works with your computer and click "Start Narration." Watch the "Input level" to ensure that your computer is getting adequate sound levels. Keep in mind that you will have to merge your music track with the narrative track by dragging one over the other if you want to use both at the same time in your movie.

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    Adding the Movie's Finishing Touches

    Click "Titles and Credits" to add titles to the beginning of your movie or place them before or on selected clips, or to add credits to the end of your movie. Preview your movie by scrolling back to the beginning of the moview and pressing the play button in the preview window. Select "Publish Movie" when you are happy with the preview. Select the place where you want to publish your movie, then click "Next." Select a name for the movie, select a location and click "Next." "Best quality for my computer" is your best bet if you are publishing the movie on your hard drive.

    These instructions will help you to get started making movies in Vista's Windows Movie Maker. To find help and downloads, check Microsoft's Windows Movie Maker help files. For more information about Vista, read Creating a Custom Wallpaper for Windows Vista and How to Tweak Windows Vista for Faster Internet Speeds.

    Sources:

    "Windows Movie Maker and Movie Maker HD," Microsoft.com