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How to Use AutoMovie in Windows Movie Maker

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 8/26/2008

AutoMovie is a feature in Windows Movie Maker that can make digital video editing quicker than you ever imagined. It can be useful and time saving in certain types of movies, but should be used sparingly when you are telling a story. Learn how to use it, and where it is most useful.

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    Home Editing

    Windows Movie Maker, like its Apple based sister program iMovie, is designed to be a simple program for quickly edited home movies. The model for its design was to have a common consumer program that anyone could use to do uncomplicated projects. Movie Maker even provides us with the AutoMovie feature, which can speed the process up far beyond what it normally could have been.

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    Auto Option

    The AutoMovie feature does exactly what it sounds like, it helps you create a film automatically. What happens is you select an editing style, and a series of media, and the program automatically edits it for you. To do this you must have a full collection or series of video segments selected and both the video and audio segments you have selected must total at least thirty seconds,

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    Using the Feature

    To use AutoMovie you first go to Tools in the task bar and select AutoMovie. You will then be given a pane labeled Select an AutoMovie Editing Style at the top. Here you have a box in the middle of the pane with names and descriptions of film editing styles. These include styles such as a Highlights Movie, an Old Movie, and a Music Video. Once you have selected the style you want you click “Done, edit movie" directly below the style options and the program begins to automatically arrange the selected media clips into the Timeline according to the style you have selected.

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    Getting Full Sequences

    From here you can make further edits on the project, or go ahead and export the film as a final version. The program tries to logically arrange the clips with a certain format for effects and transitions, and even include title and credit sequences that fit with the proper names of the main media files. If you have a specific story running through your video then this will not maintain that story's continuity.

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    Appropriate Use

    If you are going to use this feature you have to make sure that you select the right number of clips and expect that the final product will be more of a montage than a cohesive film. Either way you will have to do certain edits on the auto-edited section, but much of the work will be done. It can effectively be used within a narrative based project to create a montage or musical sequence.

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    AutoMovie, like any “auto" function in film making, is best used only during casual editing. If you want to be truly creative with your video project it is best to stay away from this option completely. If, on the other hand, you want to shuffle together clips and photos in an amusing way this can be a quick method of completing your project.

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