MM2: capture video and basic editing

Recently, we highlighted the improve­ments made to Microsoft’s latest free video editing application, Movie Maker 2, with heaps of effects and transitions to use and the ability to send your finished movie back to tape. Now we are taking a closer look at Movie Maker 2, showing you how to capture video from various sources and perform a basic edit.

Getting video into the PC

When acquiring video using Movie Maker 2, several choices are available. If you have a DV camcorder connected to your PC (through a FireWire connection), turning on the camcorder and setting it to VCR should prompt a Video Device window to appear. You are provided with the option to capture your video to a selected program or to take no action. If you have more than one video-editing program on your system, you can instruct Windows to always use Movie Maker 2 to capture video.

For analog capture, or if you require more control, you can launch Movie Maker 2 and select Capture Video from the File menu. To open the application select Start-All Programs-Accessories-Entertainment and click on the Movie Maker icon. You may want to create a shortcut for future access by dragging the Movie Maker icon onto the desktop whilst holding down the key on your keyboard.

Working in Movie Maker 2

Once you have started Movie Maker 2 you will notice four main areas:

1. A Collection area located in the middle of the screen that allows you to organise your content including video, audio and still images. The Collection area also provides information on special effects and transitions you may want to use when making your movie.

2. A Monitor window to preview indi­vidual clips or a completed movie.

3. A Movie Tasks section where you can capture, edit and output your movie by following a set of tasks.

4. The Storyboard area where you create and edit your project (See here for a screenshot) . The storyboard view is shown when you first start the program; however, you can switch between this view and a timeline view when you want to incorporate other aspects such as titles and audio into your project.

Movie Tasks

Trimming your video footage is a simple click-and-cut operation

The Movie Tasks section is where all the action happens in regard to how you create your movie. A useful Movie Making Tips area at the bottom of the section provides a walk-through on some of the basic tasks undertaken when working with video.

The Capture Video section allows you to import video, pictures and audio from sources such as a hard drive, CD or folder as well as capture video straight from a camcorder, webcam or digital still camera. Click on the appropriate link, depending on if you want to import video, pictures or music, and locate the files using a familiar Explorer format.

Movie Maker 2 automatically creates separate clips from your video determined by changes in a scene. However, clips often need to be shortened further to keep a movie interesting and well paced, or you may need to add a transition to help emphasise an aspect of a scene. Select the video clip to shorten by clicking on it once on the storyboard or timeline. Once selected, the clip will show up on the Monitor window with the ability to play, pause or move to the point where you want to split the clip. Once the frame of the movie — where you plan to split a clip — is showing in the monitor window, click on the Split Clip icon located at the far right of the control panel. Once you have split your clip, two frames will appear on the storyboard section where there was previously one.

You may want to split a clip for a couple of reasons. If you wanted to remove some footage, simply click on the clip you don’t need and press the key. If you want to add an effect, such as a page turn or transition, simply drag the effect into the square to the left of the clip.

Where to get it

Movie Maker 2 (around 11MB) is available as a download for the Windows XP operating system only, although it will be included in future Windows releases. It is available for download from www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/moviemaker.

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