Recently a family member asked me to create a video to celebrate the childhood and early adulthood of two young people who were about to be married. Pictures of the bride and groom at various ages had been collected along with some while they were dating. Some musical themes had been chosen. I’ve had some prior experience with the old Windows Movie Maker and also Photo Story 3 for Windows, both free offerings from Microsoft, so it sounded like a fun project and a fitting gift for the young couple.
Since I had plenty of time to do the project, I chose to use the newer Windows Live Movie Maker (WLMM) that is free for the download with any installation of Windows 7 or Vista with Service Pack 2. Simply go to the Windows Live Essentials 2011 Website and click download, then pick the Movie Maker option. By the way, you can also make movies using the free Picasa 3 program that I have previously recommended in this column.
To get started on a movie project, choose the software you want to use and purchase or download it. You know my preference; if you can get it free, do it! Then assemble all the pics or video clips that you want to include. Edit the pics as necessary before your start; it’s much easier than editing within the movie software. Collect the music and put all this together in a working file with the project files name on it. Remember that if you buy copyrighted music you may only share it from your PC with your friends. If you want to share a video on Facebook or YouTube, do not use copyrighted music; or eschew music altogether. If you have all the pieces of a video in one place, it’s easy to import into the movie software and most make it easy for you to arrange and sort the pieces after they are in the project.
WLMM is fairly intuitive but if you need help, there is a decent tutorial video on the Win Live Site and there is a large community of users that you can access just by Googling a question, like “how do I add music to WLMM?”
Add your pictures to the project and rearrange them as you like; it’s easy to preview your creation at any time. Choose transitions, timing and animations if you like. Add titles where needed; credits if you want. Get all this stuff set, before you start adding music clips. The beginning and ending of music tracks is one of the most difficult tasks of the project. If your work is interrupted at any point, just save the project as a “project” and you can pick it back up later. Now add your music and adjust the audio and video tracks so that they are synced. If it doesn’t match exactly, just fade the music out at the ends of scenes so it won’t disrupt your audience.
Once you have everything synced, you then save it in the format you want to use. You can choose, Burn to DVD, Use on My Computer, Email or even Play on a Mobile Device.
Maybe it’s time for you to try being a” movie maker”. Have some fun with it and till next week, send your questions to: