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Windows Movie Maker: Timeline Command Buttons

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/27/2011

Here is a guide to the special Timeline task bar that provides you a quick link to relevant video editing functions in Windows Movie Maker.

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    Video Editing

    When working in your Windows Movie Maker project you are going to find that the primary location you will spend your time is the Timeline, which is true of all non-linear video editing software. This is where you chop up and arrange your clips, turning them from a shambled set of pieces into a final product that is larger than the sum of its parts. When you are working in the Windows Movie Maker Timeline you will usually find that it is easier to just remain here instead of using awkward keyboard shortcuts or running around through the rest of the Windows Movie Maker interface looking for what you need. In this way Windows Movie Maker has transferred many of the common commands needed to be performed to a location on the Timeline so that you can have easy access. Here are is an overview of the command buttons that rest on the Windows Movie Maker Timeline.

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    Audio Levels

    On the far left above the Windows Movie Maker Timeline you are going find a button that looks like a volume meter. When you hit this you are going to bring up the Audio Levels window where you balance out the primary audio track and the secondary one. This is going to be important when you are trying to create a back and forth change between the audio associated with your video and secondary music or narration that was added later.

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    Narrate Timeline

    To the right of the Audio Levels button is the Narrate Timeline button, which looks like a right side leaning microphone. When you select Narrate Timeline you are going to bring up the narration record window where you choose your settings and then record an audio track from your computer in Windows Movie Maker. The file is then treated as a regular audio file and saved to collections to be used in the secondary audio track.

    To the right of Narrate Timeline are two separate buttons, each one a magnifying glass holding either a + or -. These are to zoom in and zoom out in the Timeline depending on what you want to do. In cases where you want to do fine clip trims you may have to zoom in, and when you are working on a larger project and want to see the entire Timeline in one view you will have to zoom out. This only affects the view of the Timeline and will not make any dramatic changes to your Windows Movie Maker project.

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    Next to the zoom buttons is going to be two Timeline play control buttons. The one to the left allows you to skip backward from clip to clip, resetting the play marker at the beginning of the previous clip in the Timeline. Just to the right of that will be the normal play button.

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    The last button in this string of Windows Movie Maker Timeline commands is the Storyboard button. This will switch the Timeline to the Storyboard view where each clip inhabits its own slot and you have limited control over your sequences. Once in the Storyboard view the Storyboard button is replaced by a Timeline button that allows you to return.

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