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Windows Movie Maker: Tips for Using Outside Music

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/16/2009

Here are a few tips for selecting, importing, and altering music tracks for your Windows Movie Maker video editing project.

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    Song Bird

    Adding songs to your Windows Movie Maker video editing project can be a difficult project. Usually the song will not fit the time frame for your video clip and will have to be altered, shorten, or have volume affected. There are a lot of things to look for both when bringing music into your project and when editing all of your clips. Here are a few tips for exactly how to address bringing outside music into Windows Movie Maker.

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    The first thing you are going to have to look to is altering the length of the song itself. The likelihood is that you only want part of the song in your Windows Movie Maker project and only at a certain part of the video. Unlike dragging videos into the Timeline, when you drag an outside audio track into the Timeline it will go exactly where you put it and not readjust to the very beginning of the Timeline display. From here you can reposition the audio track according to the timeframe set up by the video clip arrangement you have established.

    Then you can begin to alter the audio track in the same way you would to video clips. You can drag in toward the center of the clip by clicking on the beginning or end and moving in that direction. This is how you shorten the clip either from the beginning or end. The best way to do this is to actually remove both the beginning and end, unless you want a dramatic moment in the music as when shifting energy in the clips.

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    Audio Levels

    Another important thing you are going to have to look for is the balance between the primary audio that is associated with your video and the secondary audio that is your music. The primary audio should remain on top unless you want the secondary audio to completely overpower it, as with montage sequences where video sound is unnecessary.

    Go to Tools and select Audio Levels. The Audio Levels window will come up and you can then begin setting the balance between the primary audio in your Windows Movie Make project and your secondary audio. For most situations you may want to leave the primary audio at seventy percent and the secondary audio at thirty.

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    Song Choice

    Choosing songs can be a very important part of this process as well. You usually want songs that will evoke the emotion that matches your content, either through common musical styles or themes. It is best if the style is easily recognizable to the audience, or the artist has iconic status in their minds. Find a way that the audience will recognize the song as matching or enhancing the themes you find important in your video. It is usually best to avoid too many lyrics in the song if you have a lot of talking in the video clips that are going to be on top of it. It is also important to look for copyrights on the songs you use, especially if you are going to make it available for public distribution.