written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/4/2011
Learn how to change settings for aspect ratio, formatting, photo and transition duration, and email size in Windows Movie Maker.
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Windows Movie Maker Defaults
Windows Movie Maker has a number of base default settings that are built into the software. These are set according to standards for the medium such as the time that pictures should be on the screen so that someone can see it, transition length so that they do not become too obvious, and formatting decisions that are more customized to standard American television expectations. In other non-linear video editing programs there are more obvious places that you can focus on these changes, but in Windows Movie Maker some of these are actually hidden together.
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If you want to change some of these formatting decisions start by going to Tools in the upper task bar and then selecting Options from the bottom of the drop down menu.When the Options window comes up, select the Advanced tab. Here you can begin changing settings for specific elements. Here you can change the duration that is automatically assigned to pictures from five seconds to whatever you would like. The transition duration can be changed from the standard 1.25 seconds to something longer or shorter. In the second section, titled Video Properties, you can change the formatting. As a default it is set at 4:3 aspect ratio NTSC. You can easily change this to 16:9 or the euro-international PAL formatting. Below the Video Properties section is the E-Mail section. This is where you can list the largest file size you want the movie to be if you are using the email export option that sends the video file as an attachment.
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Careful Video Editing
These advanced settings are part of the customization that you can do in Windows Movie Maker, though this should be considered carefully. The time settings for photos and transitions are set according to many films previous. Anything much shorter for pictures may be hard for someone to see and longer may be too extensive. The same is true of video transitions, so if you are going to alter these make sure that the alteration is inspired and that you can remember the original settings. If you are going to change the format or aspect ratio make sure that this is also for a purpose. Most viewing methods are switching toward 16:9 so you are often safe with this choice, but if you are going to be viewing this in the U.S. make sure it stays on NTSC.