Digital Video Techniques

Movie Maker Tutorial Exercises

Return to Home Page

Return to CSC 516 Page


1.  Preparing your hard disk for video capture

Because video files can be rather large, consider using your disk defragmenter before beginning a project to maximize file storage space.  Go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter.  Select the drive to defragment, and then click on the Defragment button.  It is recommended that you defrag before each video capture.  If you do this regularly, the process should not take as long.

2.  Capturing digital video, part 1

Before capturing video, you must first connect the source hardware (VCR, camcorder, etc.) to your computer.  In the movie tasks pane, select Capture from Video Device.  You will be prompted to enter a file name for your captured video, and to choose a storage location. 

After clicking on Next, you will be prompted for a video capture setting.  These choices are explained in the window, and are dependent upon the intended use of the video.  The setting you choose makes a significant impact on file size. 

After clicking the Next button again, you will be prompted for a capture method.  Again, these are self-explanatory. 

Experiment with the above.

3.  Capturing digital video, part 2

Cue the tape in the VCR or camcorder to the desired capture point.  Follow the various steps when prompted.  In the Video Capture window, you have three options:  (1) Create clips when wizard finishes, (2) Mute speakers, (3) Capture time limit.  The last option will stop the capture when your specified time has been completed.  Next, click Start Capture.  Clip Stop Capture when the desired capture has been completed.  Finally, click on Finish.

As desired, advance the tape and repeat the process to capture additional clips.  

4.  Importing existing pictures and audio files

To import existing files of any type (video, still photos, audio), the files must already exist on your hard drive.  You will save time in the long run if your folders are well organized.  Ideally, you should have a separate folder for videos, still photos, and audio.

To import, click on the Tasks icon, then select what you desire to import.  Click on the file you wish to import.  Click on the Import button.  The file will be imported to the Collection you specified.  If the file mistakenly goes to the wrong location, you can always drag it to the correct location.

5.  Importing existing video files

Once again, video shot from any device must first be on your hard drive before Movie Maker can access it.  Click on the Tasks icon and select Import video.  Click on the video file you wish to import and click on Import.  **One option exists at the bottom of the Import File window:  Create clips for video files.  Check this box if you desire to have Movie Maker split the video into clips.  

*Note:  Movie Maker will automatically make a new clip if it detects a significant scene change.  If there are no significant scene changes, the video will not be split into clips even if the box is checked.  We will later learn how to create clips manually.

6.  Viewing clip details

Deselect Tasks so that the Collections content fills the upper left pane.  Click to highlight the particular file about which you desire to see detailed information.  Then, click on the Views icon.    You have the option of seeing Collection Thumbnails, Details, or you may choose Arrange Icons By.  The last option lets you arrange icons according to the following:  Name, Duration, Start Time, End Time, Dimensions, Date Taken.

If you choose Details, you can click on column headings to reorder the files.  You can also resize the columns by positioning the cursor over the bar at the top.

7.  Previewing clips


  • The button with green ends is the play head.  You can drag it to any point in the video.  

  • The Play button is the triangle within a circle to the far left.

  • The Stop button is the square within a circle.

  • The third round button is the Back button.  It takes you all the way to the beginning.

  • The fourth round button takes you to the previous frame.

  • The fifth round button advances to the next frame.

  • The sixth round button is the Forward button, which takes you all the way to the end.

  • On the far right, the first round button splits the clip into two clips at the current location.

  • The last button is the Take Picture, or Camera, button.

Clips can be previewed in the Preview Monitor.  Click on a video.  Click the Play button.  Click Play again to pause, etc.  Experiment with the other buttons.

8.  Taking a still from a video clip

Using the preview monitor, drag the play head to the desired frame.  Click on the Camera icon.  The Save Picture As window will open.  Select a file name and location for saving the still.  Stills are saved as .jpegs.

Return to Home Page

Return to CSC 516 Page