Creating "text slates" with Windows Movie Maker can help take your project to the next level.
Windows Movie Maker, which is the PC equivalent of Apple’s iMovie, is a great resource for the home digital video producer who does not have much experience with video editing. The layout is incredibly simple and allows the user to easily lay down little clips, tie them together, and do a small number of effects to alter them. Like most editing programs, it allows you to create text slates that people often use for opening title sequences or post-film credits.
When you are in Movie Maker it is easiest to go into the “Storyboard" mode as opposed to the “Timeline" mode for this technique. The interface for this is several boxes linked together by smaller boxes between them. The large boxes are where you can put your video clip and the smaller boxes are where you would put transition effects. For title sequences you want to put a text slate in the first box, as this is the opening of the film you are constructing. Go up to the top task bar and under Tools select Titles -> Credits. Once the menu comes up in the upper left hand panel of the interface you will usually have five options. These will be to add a title at the beginning of the project, credits at the end, and the ability to put text before, during, or directly after any selected clip.
Since you are going to want to create a title sequence you want to select “add title at the beginning of the movie." The menu will change and you will have two rectangular boxes to place text in. The top one will be much larger, your leading title, and the bottom one (sub-title) will go beneath it and be comparatively smaller to the first. At the bottom of this menu you have two options, to change the color and font of the text box or to change the title animation. In the color and font menu you will be able to alter things like the shade of the background in the text box, the level of transparency the text has, and how big the letter will be. In the “change title animation" menu you will be able to decide how you want the title to appear, whether it is going to fade in and out or appear as though a typewriter is producing it. Once you are done doing either of these things click on the option at the bottom of your respective menu that says “edit the title text." This will take you back to the screen where you entered the text, and that is where you will be able to click on the option that says “done, add title to movie." This will immediately put the text into any of the large boxes you had selected.
All the other text options are similar with their own quirks. The end credits option has its own layout and gives you slightly different options, but the principles are the same. When trying to add the text before, during, or after a clip it will lay the text over the clips and will switch you to the Timeline mode. This interface is just the same clips but on a track where video has its own segments and audio is separate and placed below. For this type of text addition the layout is exactly the same as the title text was.
Bumping It Up A Notch
It does not have to be a difficult endeavor to give flashy looking titles and credits to your home movies, and in reality only takes a couple of minutes. This is a simple but effective addition that can dramatically elevate any home digital video project.