Adding Fades to Video Clips in Windows Movie Maker

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From One to Another

Transitions are one of the most central parts of editing. Though they should be used sparingly and not in most situations, the perfect use of a transition is a short hand to the audience to convey emotion as well as time and space. Fades, both in and out, are probably the most famous of all of these transitions as they came out of the manual editing machines of the linear past. These were some of the only easily placed transitions historically, and because of that their simplicity became part of the common film language that auteurs use to communicate with audiences. This transition is in place in almost every video editing software, and Microsoft’s free inclusion Windows Movie Maker is no exception.

Clip Management

To place a fade in or fade out onto a clip you have to have that clip already in the Timeline. Drag it from the Collections display and drop it into the proper location in the Timeline. In most nonlinear editing programs you will want to put a little space before and after a video clip so the transitions have space to fade from and to black. This is not the same in Windows Movie Maker because you are not able to freely move the clips around in the Timeline. Instead Movie Maker makes you stack the clips in the order that you want them to be in. Once you have placed the correct clip or clips into your Timeline where you want them to be, then you can put the transition on them.

Drag and Drop

The fade has a few different ways of being attached to a clip, but it is certainly more accessible than most transition types. The easiest way to do it is to right click the clip and go down the pop up menu until you find Fade In or Fade Out. Select the one, or both, that apply to the clip and they are then added. Once you have selected one a check mark appears next to it indicating that it has been attached. To remove this check mark you simply select it again. You can also go through the more conventional method of going to the Movie Tasks menu, looking under Edit Movie, selecting View Video Transitions, and then dragging and dropping the fade effect onto your clip. This method is better for transitions that are a little more unorthodox and that you might need to see a preview of. Adding the fade gives a standard time for the fade, but it is calibrated according to the average length that fades are conventionally allowed on screen.