Using Movie Maker

Last time, we showed you how to set up Movie Maker to work with DV quality video; this time we step you through editing your video. To perform these tasks you will need either Windows Me or XP running on your machine with a FireWire card installed, a DV camcorder, and a FireWire cable to connect your camcorder to the PC.

If you have either Windows Me or Windows XP you should already have Movie Maker installed on your system. Open the program by going to Start-All Programs-Accessories- Movie Maker. Once you have opened the program, plug in your DV camcorder to the FireWire port on the PC using your FireWire cable. A capture screen will pop up presenting various options to operate your camcorder.

Click the Others tab in the Settings box and choose DV-AVI (25Mbps) in the drop-down box underneath. Use the controls below the preview screen to move the tape on your camcorder to the place where you want to start recording, and then click the Record button. Your video should now be appearing as separate clips on your Movie Maker collection area, ready to drag to the Storyboard or Timeline at the bottom of the screen. However, it must be remembered that full quality DV demands a lot of storage space, with one hour of video taking up over 10GB of hard drive space.

Different views


The storyboard view is set as the default for Movie Maker and allows you to organise your clips into a general order, whereas the timeline view provides a closer look at the clips with regard to length and audio. Toggle back and forth between the two views using the small button to the left of your workspace.

Once you have your clips in the work area, you can name them (right-click on the clip and select Properties) and drag each clip onto your timeline. Alternatively, you can Select All (-A) and drag all your clips onto the timeline ready for editing.

In the storyboard mode, you can organise your video by dragging clips from the collections area onto the storyboard in the order you would like them to appear in your movie.

Trimming your clip


To trim a clip, first select the clip you want to trim where it should show up in the preview screen.

Next, click Play (or the space key on your keyboard) until you are at a point where you want to trim the clip and click the Pause button (or space key again). On the Clip menu, click Set Start Trim Point. Play the clip until you have reached the point where you want to end the clip and then click Pause. On the Clip menu, click Set End Trim Point.

Once you become more comfortable with your workspace, you can quickly perform this task by dragging the playback indicator to the trim point in the Preview window and clicking the Split Clip button. You can then delete the clip you don’t need.

To preview the changes you have made to a clip, click on the clip in the timeline and click the Play button on the Preview screen. To preview your project in the monitor, click an empty area in the workspace, and then click the Play button.

Transitions


Movie Maker 1.25 does not provide video effects or transition effects, but you can create a cross-fade between two clips where one clip fades out as the next clip fades in.

To make a cross fade, select the second clip and drag it so that it overlaps the first clip. The amount of overlap controls the size of the cross fade, so experiment to determine an effect that works for your movie.

The cross fade is also a useful tool to ‘fade to black’. Import a black screen created in a program such as Paint and cross fade the colour to the last scene in your movie. Finally, add a title created in Paint or import a PowerPoint title slide for a more elaborate title design.

Finished product


Once you have completed your movie you can preview the finished project and save it as a media file ready to burn to a DVD or Video CD, or save the movie in one of several Web-based formats designed to suit a variety of connection speeds. If you want to share your video online, choose Send-Video to E-mail or Send-Video to Web Server in the File menu. The Send commands first save the production as a file, and then pass it to the selected e-mail program or upload it across the Internet to a Web server of your choosing.

Unfortunately, you can’t move the finished file back to tape using Microsoft Movie Maker 1.25. However, you can save the file as a DV quality file, ready to transfer to tape using another program such as VideoStudio 6 or even some of the video editing utilities like Movie Xone4.

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