Digital Video Techniques

Movie Maker Tutorial Exercises

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1.  Starting a new project

Go to File and select New Project.  To save, go to File and select Save Project.  Select the appropriate folder where the file is to be saved.  All Move Maker projects are saved as .MSWMM files.  

Consider creating the necessary folders/collections before you begin a project.  Perhaps create a new folder for the entire project, then, include subfolders such as video, still pix, audio, etc.

Get into the habit of saving frequently, particularly after major changes.  

2.  Adding clips in storyboard view

Have displayed the Storyboard at the bottom of the window.  To add clips, have clips displayed in Collections.  Simply click-drag the clips into the Storyboard.  You do not need to be terribly exact, as the dragged file always jumps to the left-most-available slot.

You can also drag an entire Collection into Storyboard.  Display Collections in the Collections pane.  Click-drag the desired folder into the Storyboard.  All the clips contained in the Collection will be copied in alphabetical order.

3.  Inserting clips in storyboard view

You may also drag clips between other clips that are already in Storyboard.  Drag the clip to the area you want to place it.  A blue vertical line appears where the clip will go.

4.  Locating missing media files

If parts of your collection have been moved to another location since the start of your project, a RED X will appear.  Double-click it to locate the misplaced file.  Click Yes to browse for it.  It will then be returned to its original location.  If it is no longer on your computer, you will need to recreate the file.

5.  Deleting clips in the storyboard

It is very easy to delete clips in Storyboard view.  Click the clip once to select it, then hit Delete on your computer keyboard.

If you want to remove all the clips from Storyboard, select Edit and choose Clear Storyboard.

6.  Resequencing clips in storyboard view

If you need to change the order of clips in Storyboard view, simply drag the desired clip to the new location.  Again, the blue vertical line will appear where the clip will be positioned.

If you need to copy a clip in Storyboard, right-click and select Copy.  Then, right-click and select Paste.  The clip will be placed in the slot to the right.

Copying a still photo is one way of having the photo run twice as long in the finished video.

7.  Adjusting the size of your storyboard

While it's not possible to resize the thumbnails themselves in Storyboard, you can resize the Storyboard window which does change their size.  Place the mouse on the blue line dividing the panes--click and drag to resize.  Reducing the size of the Storyboard places more thumbnails in view which can be helpful when rearranging them.

8.  Previewing movies in storyboard view

In Storyboard, if you move the mouse over a clip the frame turns black and information about the clip appears:  the name of the clip and its duration in Hours:Minutes:Seconds:Hundredths of a Second.  If you click on the clip, the border turns blue and the clip appears in the Preview Monitor.  To play the clip, click on the Play button beneath the preview screen, the Play button in Storyboard, or simply hit your computer space bar.  Pressing the space bar again pauses the clip--quite handy.

9.  Surveying storyboard view features

The far left icon is the Set Audio Levels icon.  Next is the Narrate Timeline icon (the microphone).  In the center, above, are the Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons.  These are only active in Timeline View.  To the right are the Rewind and Play buttons.

The above shot is from the Storyboard View and shows the area between two clips.  The gray rectangle between each clip indicates a transition, if present.  The small square with the star in the lower left of each clip indicates a video effect for that clip, if present.  You can simply hover the mouse over either and an info box will appear describing the transition or effect.  

10. Surveying the timeline view, part 1

Timeline View shows detail pertaining to ... time, and, also, audio information.  You can resize the Timeline pane to see more details, if necessary.  

Timeline View shows:

  • the video track,

  • the audio/music track, and, 

  • the title overlay track.

Also, note that to the left of the video track is a box with a + in it.  If you expand this view, you can also see:

  • the video transitions track, and,

  • the audio track that is connected with the video.

11. Surveying the timeline view, part 2

Above the video track in Timeline View is the timeline ruler.  It is calibrated in hours:minutes:seconds:and 100ths of a second.  Above, the cursor is at 23 seconds and 87 100ths of a second into the track.

Clicking at various points in the timeline ruler will give a preview of the clip at that particular point on the Preview Monitor.

12. Adding clips to the timeline

You can drag clips from the Collections Contents pane to the Timeline pane.  The vertical blue I-beam will indicate where the clip will go when you release the mouse.  You can insert it at the end, or between clips.  If audio is attached to the video, it will go into the "video audio" track.  You may need to expand the + icon to see it.

You can select multiple clips by Control-clicking.

In a similar manner, you can add audio clips to the audio music track by dragging and releasing.  You can have a gap between audio clips, but not video clips.

13. Overlapping clips on the timeline

By overlapping clips in Timeline View, you can create a fade out/fade in effect.

In Timeline View, have at least two clips inserted.  Click and drag the right-most clip to the left.  A blue wedge appears indicating the cross-fade point.  Also, the word fade appears in the Transition track, indicating that particular transition.  The clip becomes "transparent" at the point where the two clips overlap.  The more overlap, the longer the fade.  

Of course, because the two video clips will be playing simultaneously during the fade, the overall length of the video will be a tad shorter.  (This is different than a dissolve, where there is no overlap.)  

Click Play to see the preview.

14. Trimming clips on the timeline

In Timeline View, if you move the cursor to the end of a clip, a double-pointed red arrow shows up.  If not, click the end-point of the clip and the arrow will be displayed.  

If you desire to trim the end of the clip, click-drag to the left.  The attached video-audio will also be trimmed.

If you desire to trim the front of the clip, execute the same procedure, but click-drag to the right.

You can also trim music/audio clips in the same manner by dragging the red arrow.

Give all of the above a try.

15. Creating an AutoMovie

This is the fastest way to create a movie.  You can edit later.

Under Movie Tasks, select Edit Movie, then, Make an AutoMovie.  When you click on this option, you are given five movie style choices:

  • Flip and Slide

  • Highlights Movie

  • Music Video

  • Old Movie

  • Sports Highlights

Highlight your choice.  Then, drag the window bar down so you can see further options at the bottom of the window.  

First, enter a title for the movie.  Then, you can select background music, if desired.  When you click here, you will be given opportunity to balance the volume between the music track and the video track:


Finally, click Done, Edit Movie.

16. Editing project properties

Before getting to the point of saving the movie, first check project properties.  This is done by clicking on File, then, Properties.

A window will show what is/will be embedded with the file.  Here you can add:  Title, Author, Copyright notice, Movie Rating!, and a description.  Just be aware that any viewer may be able to see this information at some point.

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