Windows Live Movie Maker Tour – What’s new, What’s Different

So, there is a new version of Movie Maker that’s out on the prowl looking for videos to edit and share. Back in February of this year, we saw the release of Windows Live Movie Maker 1.0 beta, which focused on simplifying video editing with a snazzy new interface and quick approach to sharing videos. Some persons were a bit skeptical with good reasons. Although the focus of the new Movie Maker beta was ease use, there were some missing features along with some getting use to the new look. The Windows Live Movie Maker team continued working on improving the user experience and ended up delivering an exceptional final product I am sure many of you will be pleased with. In this tutorial, I want to take a look at the new features and introduce you to the new interface based on the popular Scenic Ribbon.

The first thing I would like to get out of the way for users of Windows Movie Maker that comes bundled with Windows XP or Vista is, they are distinctively different products. Do not expect to see everything in Movie Maker 2.6 in Windows Live Movie Maker 1.0. As you probably know from the name, Windows Live Movie Maker is now a member of the Windows Live family of free products and services. You can download it from included with Windows Live Essentials, a powerful suite of solutions for Email, Photo Management, Instant Messaging, Data Synchronization and blogging.

System Requirements:

Operating system: Windows Vista (32-bit or 64-bit editions), Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit editions), or Windows Server 2008. Note: Windows Live Movie Maker is not supported on Windows XP

  • Processor: 1 GHz or higher for Windows Vista; 800 MHz or higher for Windows XP
  • 512 MB for Windows Vista
  • Resolution: Minimum 1024 x 768
  • Internet connection: Internet functionality requires dial-up or broadband Internet access (provided separately). Local or long-distance charges may apply.
  • Graphics or video card: Windows Live Movie Maker requires ATI Radeon 9500 (or higher) or nVidia GeForce FX 5900 (or higher). I have Live Movie Maker working with a nVidia Geforce FX 5200 128 MB AGP.

Additional requirements

The following components are needed for specific Windows Live programs, and may be installed for you if they’re not already on your computer.

  • For Writer: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or higher*.
  • For Photo Gallery: SQL 2005 Compact Edition and Windows Imaging Codecs*.
  • For Photo Gallery and Movie Maker: Some components of DirectX9.
  • * Not required when installing on Windows Vista.


One of the key improvements Windows Live Movie Maker users will appreciate is the ability to import Windows Movie Maker projects. Although you might be warned that there are features in your existing project that might not work or are not available in this version of Movie Maker. Overall, users can appreciate that most features and functionality from the previous release works just fine.


In addition to a lighter color scheme, Windows Live Movie Maker works differently through and through. You won’t find previous functionality such as a Storyboard, drop down menus, and a time lines. Windows Movie Maker used a Task based approached to creating a movie, WL Movie Maker introduces a clean design with most tools and functionality revealed through the innovative Scenic Ribbon which displays common functionality once buried under drop down menus and wizards in a gallery of easy to identify icons.


The Ribbon is very intelligent and only reveals additional functionality when needed through contextual tabs that can be easily identified by their activated colors.

Adding media

Just like the previous version, Live Movie Maker makes it quick and easy to import your media such as Videos or Photos. In Windows Movie Maker this can be done from the Import Task Pane toolbar button or Import Media toolbar button, in Live Movie Maker, you can import media through the Add videos and photos button located under the Home (tab) within the Add gallery. Once you have added your media, you will see it populated within the Bin area.

Editing content

Previously, in Windows Movie Maker, your videos would require that you drag and drop into the Story board and edit in the Time line. Windows Live Movie Maker does the opposite. Task like re-arranging or cropping a video clip are more visual and interactive. In fact, one of the lovely highlights is the actual display of multiple frames in a clip. You can use the video cursor bar to scan through a video clip and see additional sequences within the video itself. The cursor bar itself is a important element of the software and allows you to accomplish many of the common task you would do in the previous Movie Maker time line.


To organize your clips, all you need to do is use a drag and drop action in the order you find most desirable. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

Cropping a clip

In Windows Movie Maker, this was done through the Time Line, its just as easy in Windows Live Movie Maker. Select your video clip, go to the Edit tab which you will notice is activated in the yellow Video Tools’ Contextual tab. Within the ‘Editing‘ gallery, click the Trim tool button, now use the Trim Maker knobs on both sides of the clip duration in the video preview pane, drag either knob until you reach the desired point in the video you would like to see played. If you know the point in time you would like the video to  start and end, you can alternatively use the Start and EndPoint markers located in the Trim markers gallery. Once completed, click the ‘Save trim’ button to keep your edit.

Adding media – music

What is a movie without music? In Movie Maker, you add music to your video from the Tasks > Import (Audio or Music) link. This would extend across the time line, you then had the option of cropping and adding effects such as fade in or out. You can do that too in Windows Live Movie Maker, a bit differently of course. I even like this method, simply go to the Home tab, within the Add gallery, click Add music button. From the pop out list, you have two options, which will add a music track to the entire project or you can add music to just a specific point within a video.


If the song is distributed over the project, you can edit this by selecting the song represented by a green bar (you should see the title of the track specified), drag the video cursor, to the point in the video you would like the song to stop playing, right click the cursor and click ‘Set end point’ from the the contextual menu. Additional options include, you can have the song fade in and out from the Audio’ gallery options.

 Text Overlays, Transitions and Visual Effects!

The initial beta was limited in this respect, but the final release makes up for it with a respectable set of options. The Text Tools contextual tab allows you to format your text with a range of options. To add a Caption, go to the Home Tab, from within the Add gallery, click Caption, enter your text. To format the text using a desired font and size, click Format Text Tools button and choose from the gallery of options available, one of the nice improvements users will notice, the Font list box allows you to see a preview of a font before applying. If you want to add some effects, you can do so from within the Effects gallery which provides the ability to hover over effects and preview them before applying – very cool! You will also notice any text added your clips are represented by a cream colored bar, to edit your text, simply double click this bar and edit the text within the preview window.

As for Visual Effects, I am happy to tell you that this functionality has improved tremendously in the final product, by benefiting immediately from the Scenic Ribbon. Hovering over available effects gives you a quick on the fly preview, you won’t see this in Windows Movie Maker. You can also control the brightness of your videos and photos from within Live Movie Maker too. I hope in a future update, the Windows Live Movie Maker Team adds some robust text effects similar to what you can find in Office 2007/2010.


In Windows Movie Maker, transitions are located under the Edit > Transitions link. In Windows Live Movie Maker, the Animation tab stores a collection of transitions that you can use to control how your movie changes from one clip to the next. Again, one of the great things I like about WL Movie Maker, you can simply hover a transition to preview without even applying the effect. You will notice that Pan and Zoom Gallery is grayed out, these effects are activated when you add photos to your movie.

Previewing Transition before Applying

Publishing your work

Out of the box, Windows Live Movie Maker supports a number of distribution points, in today’s world of online video most users I am sure would like to get their content out to a wide audience quickly. Windows Live Movie Maker does that with built in support for YouTube, a request  I made during the beta and I am glad to see it happen. If you want to share your media through traditional mediums such as DVD, no problem, just click the DVD icon in the gallery to save your video in an appropriate format suitable for use in Windows DVD Maker. You can also prepare your movie for viewing on different aspect ratios and video formats such as hi and standard definition or save to a portable device, prepare for email or instant messaging.  If you don’t find a suitable tool, you can download additional plug ins that will provide you with additional functionality.

A look at the final project

So, you want to see what I did? Take a look


 At Home with Family

This is a movie of some random videos of family at home visiting that I decided to put together. You can see a my mom Yvonne, my sis-in-law Marjorie, brothers Troy, Dion, and my little nephew Nathan (the star).

With this update, the Windows Live Movie Maker Team listened to its users based on feedback from the beta and incorporated numerous improvements to make the software much easier to use while also bringing back some functionality from its predecessor Windows Movie Maker 2.6. The tutorial does not look at everything, but you should be able to become more familiar with the software as you discover Windows Live Movie Makers focus on making video editing a fun experience that’s quick and easy.

Windows Live Essentials the Recap

Instant and Social Communication with Windows Live Messenger 9
Managing and Sharing Digital Memories using Windows Live Photo Gallery 2009
A Look at Windows Live Mail 2009
Online Expression – Using Windows Live Writer 2009


Filed under 7 Journal

13 responses to “Windows Live Movie Maker Tour – What’s new, What’s Different

  1. Michael

    Good post, looks like it was a fun Christmas 🙂

  2. jclerc

    thanks for the article, is there a trick in doing the text overlays? i noticed your video seems to have titles that seem to overlay onto previous titles. I could do this in the old movie maker, but with the new version i use the start and stop for each title or caption, as in the 1st title starts at 0 sec for 10 sec and the 2nd title comes in at 3 seconds for a duration of 8 seconds. the 2nd overlays completely the 1st title, this also does the same when i do captions. so, what is the trick to this? thanks…

  3. Unknown

    There is a problem with DVD. It is practically unusable! E.g. Movie 41 minutes long took about 100 minutes to encode scenes into wmv file. After that Windows DVD Maker again decodes wmv file and encodes it into mpeg2 and it takes much longer than the first phase. I didn\’t wait for the end, but it seemed to take like 5 hours. What made me mad was that it writes some data before it started with decoding/encoding, so I have another damaged DVD. Vista Windows DVD maker understand vista WMM file format, so it was just one phase.

  4. Calvin

    Andre aren\’t you tired of gtting all this spam? I report the spammers nearly every single day to Live Support yet nothing seems to be done to stop them. I know it\’s a lot of work but how about at least go in and delete them from your blog comments.Good luck. – Cal

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  9. i cant find the beta version of movie maker which was released in 2010.

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