How to Edit Video Using Windows Movie Maker

When you use a USB or Firewire cable to capture (import) video from a video capture device like a camcorder or still camera that can record video clips, Windows Movie Maker will open automatically and prompt you to import and save your video to your My Videos folder on your computer.

After the import process has completed, your video clips will automatically display in Windows Movie Maker.

At this point you have the option of continuing on and editing your video or closing Movie Maker and coming back later to open and edit the previously saved video file.

If you come back later to edit your file you will need to know where to find Windows Movie Maker.

I. Where to find Windows Movie maker (Windows XP and Vista only)

  1. On your Windows task bar click on the Start button. This will open the programs menu.
  2. Place your mouse arrow on All Programs. This action will open a secondary menu.

  3. In the secondary menu place your mouse arrow over the Accessories icon. This action will open another menu.
  4. In this new menu place your arrow over the Entertainment icon. This action will open the Entertainment folder and you will see the Windows Movie Maker icon.
  5. Click on the Windows Movie Maker icon to open Movie Maker.

  6. The default Windows Movie Maker (WMM) program window will open as shown in the next image (screen shot). To fit on this tutorial page the default WMM window has been made smaller than what you will actually see when the program window opens on your computer.
  7. To open a previously saved video file, on the left under 1. Capture Video click on the Import Video link as shown in the next image.

  8. Next navigate to the folder where the video file has been saved on your computer.
  9. Click once on the video to select it as shown in the next image where the file movie_maker_tutorial_2.wmv is highlighted.
  10. Click on the Import button in the lower right corner of the window

  11. Next you will see the Import box that will show you the progress of the import process.

II. Movie Maker Work Space Orientation

  1. After importing your video into Movie Maker you will see the small thumbnail images of the individual video clips that were captured by your video camera as shown in the center of the next image.

  2. By default the Movie Tasks area will open to the left of the movie clip display area.
  3. Locate the X or close icon to the right of the title Movie Tasks as shown in the next image.
  4. Click on the X icon to close this area of the window.

  5. Now you will see all your clips on the left. To the right of the clips you will see a black video preview area. This is where your video will play as you edit the video.
  6. To view a clip in the preview area click on a clip to select it. That clip will now display in the preview window. (This is NOT shown in the next image or any image in this guide because the screen capture technology cannot capture the video in the preview window.)

  7. At the bottom of the preview window you will find a collection of contrlo buttons. Please review the key to button functions in the next two images.

Play video button

Jump to end of clip button

Back to previous frame button

Advance to next frame button

At the bottom of the workspace window you will see the linear Storyboard area . It looks like the next image.

The empty areas like the one at the left with the cursor over it are the storyboard spaces where you will drag and drop individual video clips. You may drag and drop any clip to any empty storyboard space. This is where you work out the sequence of your video clips that will eventually be merged to create your finished video.

III. How to Set Up the Storyboard

  1. At the bottom of the next image in the Storyboard area you will see two empty storyboard spaces.
  2. Click on any clip to select it and drag the clip down over top of one of the empty spaces.
  3. When the clip is over an empty storyboard space, let go of the clicker to drop the clip into the empty space.

  4. Next drag the next clip to another empty frame on the storyboard and let go of the clicker.

  5. Continue dragging video clips to the storyboard until you are done. Your goal is to sequence your video clips here.

  6. To delete a clip from the storyboard click on it to select it.
  7. Next right click on the selected clip and select Delete from the menu.

IV. Video Editing Orientation

The first step in editing a video is to start with the first clip in the storyboard and play the video. The storyboard has it's own set of playback controls. The storyboard controls key below indicates the functions of the various storyboard control buttons.

Play Storyboard button: click on this button to begin playing your video. You can click on any clip on the storyboard to select it. Next click on the Play Storyboard button and the video will begin playing from the selected clip.
  1. To rewind the storyboard to the beginning of the video click on the Rewind Storyboard button

  2. To adjust audio levels for any clip or for the entire video click on the Set Audio Levels button

  3. Next start at the beginning of the timeline and play the video.
  4. As the clip is playing you can experiment with setting audio levels by moving the slider to the left or right.
  5. Adjust the Audio from Video slider to increase or decrease the audio level.
  6. This tool can be buggy and doesn't always work.

V. How To Crop Out an Unwanted Portion of a Video Clip

  1. To edit the video clips you must switch to the Timeline view.
  2. When in the Storyboard view click on the Show Timeline button to switch to the Timeline view.

  3. Click on the clip you want to edit to select it as the active clip. This action will move the timeline marker to the beginning of the selected clip. In the next image the first clip has been selected so a title can be inserted at the beginning of the video.

  4. Next click on the Play Timeline button.

  5. The location marker will begin to move to the right.
  6. When the timeline marker reaches the position where you want to crop out or delete everything to the left of the marker click on the Pause Timeline button to stop the playback.

  7. The timeline marker will now be located at a position in the field of the clip as shown in the next image where it is about 20% of the way into the clip.

  8. Next click on the Split the clip button located in the lower right part of the Preview Video window. This action will split or "cut" the clip at the marker location.

  9. After splitting the clip you will see two clips where there had been one clip. The timeline marker will separate the two clips.

  10. In this example we want to delete the clip to the LEFT of the timeline marker.
  11. To delete the clip click on it to select it.
  12. Next right click on the selected clip. A menu will open.
  13. Select Delete to delete the clip.

  14. After deleting the unwanted clip the clip that had been to the right of the timeline marker will be left as the edited clip.

VI. How to Add a Title Clip

  1. Rewind the video to the beginning of the Timeline.

  2. Click on the first clip to select it.

  3. Open the Tools menu and select Titles and Credits.

  4. Form the Where do you want to add a title? dialog area select Add title before the selected clip in the timeline as shown in the next image.

  5. The Enter Text for Title work area will open.
  6. Enter title text in the top box as shown in the image by Home Staging.
  7. Enter a subtitle text in the lower box as shown in the next image by From Anderson Realty. After adding a title and subtitle the text will display on the right in the Preview window.

  8. To change the background color and manipulate the text style, size, justification, transparency and color click on the Change the text font and color link.

  9. To change the font style open the Font: drop down menu and select an alternate font. Your selection will now display in the preview window.

  10. To change the Background Color click on the Change the Background Color swatch as shown in the next image.
  11. Next a color selection palette will open. Click on any color swatch in the palette to change the background color to that color.
  12. After selecting a color, click on the OK button at the bottom of the color palette.

  13. To change the text color click on the Change The Text Color icon.

  14. A color palette will open. Click on any color to select it.
  15. In the next image the the yellow swatch has been selected.
  16. When ready click on OK to change the text color.

  17. Experiment with increasing and decreasing the text size by clicking on either of the text Size: icons.

  18. Review your edits and make any additional desired changes..

  19. When done click on the Done, add title to movie link.

  20. Look at the Timeline to see where the new title clip has been added.
  21. Play the clip.
  22. If the title clip is too short you can expand the display time.
  23. Click on the title clip to select it.
  24. Place your cursor over the area where the title clip is separated from the next clip. You will see a red double headed arrow.
  25. Click on the red arrows and drag to the right. You will see the clip width expand.

  26. Click anywhere off the timeline to deselect the clip.
  27. Rewind the timeline to the beginning and play the video. If you want to add more time to the title or make it shorter, repeat the previous process and adjust as desired.

  28. If you decide you want to edit the title clip, click on the clip to select it.
  29. Right click on the selected title clip and select Edit Title.

  30. The Edit text box will open. Make your desired changes and click Done. In the example below was added to the subtitle.

VII. How to Save your Video

First open the File menu and select Save Project.

Next open the File menu again and select Save Movie File.

On the next screen select the top option My Computer - Save your movie for playback on your computer.

Click on the Next button.

On the next screen browse to the folder where you want to save your movie.

Click on the Next button.

On the next screen select Best quality for playback on my computer (recommended).

Click on the Next button.

The Saving Movie window will open. You will see a progress bar indicating that the movie is being saved.

That's it! Congratulations, you just edited and created a Windows Media Movie.