Windows Live Movie Maker: An Often Overlooked Gem

I, along with many others, constantly rave about Windows Live Writer.  It is probably my favorite current application.  I could easily give another sermon about it.

But not tonight.  Rather, I’m going to talk about Live Writer’s often-overlooked Microsoft Live Essentials suitemate: Windows Live Movie Maker.  It’s free, it’s relatively powerful, and it makes great videos.

I use it mostly for creating slideshows- a series of photos set to music.  Here’s how I made a pretty cool little video of some old photos of my parents and some of their friends.  In less than 10 minutes.

Step 1: Drag and Drop Photos


Open the application, click on the “Add videos and photos” button and drag and drop photos into the space on the right.  I grabbed photos from a folder in my Pictures Library called Old Prints.


Step 2: Add Music

Next, click on the “Add music” button, navigate to an MP3 you want to use and click on it.  I chose one of my favorite songs, Valse de Grand Pere, by the Bluerunners, from their excellent LP Honey Slides (purchase @ Amazon; Lala link).  The green band above the photos tells you there is audio associated with the movie project.

You’ll want to pick a song with a length consistent with the duration you want for each photograph.  For example, if you have 50 photos and you want each photo to be on-screen for 5 seconds, you’ll want a song that lasts around 4:10 (50×5=250; 250 seconds=4:10).

Step 3: Fit to Music

Next, click on the “Fit to music” button, which will automatically configure your movie length to equal the length of the song you added.

Step 4: Make Your Movie, Automatically

Next, click on the “AutoMovie” button, which will immediately and automatically add a title, cross-fade transitions between photos, and pan and zoom effects.

Step 5: Customize Your Titles


Click on the first and last slides, and replace the default text with the text of your choice.  You can add nifty text effects via the “Text Tools” tab.

Step 6: Choose Your Format

From the “Home” window, select your format via the “Sharing” box at the top.  I wanted an HD movie, so I clicked on the TV icon (which is the HD option), named my video file and, presto, an HD Windows media file is quickly rendered.

There is also an option to upload directly to YouTube or to burn a DVD.

Step 7: Upload and Enjoy


That’s all there is to it.  Not a bad way to spend 10 minutes.

6 thoughts on “Windows Live Movie Maker: An Often Overlooked Gem

  1. I spent many many many hours trying to get my Windows Live Movie Maker onto a DVD. Well: I get it onto the DVD but the quality absolutely sucks! So in my opinion Windows Live Movie Maker is absolutely useless for making a DVD that can be watched on a TV.

  2. I don’t think I’ve tried to burn to a DVD with the newest version. My experience has been mainly with MP4’s. Sorry you’re having problems.

    I’ll try to burn a DVD this weekend and see what happens.

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