Review: Windows Live Essentials 2011 - Movie Maker

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Microsoft has released the final version of Windows Live Essentials 2011 to everyone on a supported Windows based PC, which comes loaded with very useful and helpful everyday programs that make our lives a little easier and more entertaining. Over the next couple of days, Neowin will be taking an in-depth look at Windows Live Essentials 2011, covering a new program each day.

Windows Live Movie Maker

On our third day of Windows Live Essentials 2011 overview coverage, we take a close look at Windows Live Movie Maker. This user friendly application is an easy way to put together a quick video with a few special effects. Windows Live Movie Maker was first introduced on Windows ME and later again on Windows XP as Windows Movie Maker. In 2006, Movie Maker was rebranded as part of the Windows Live family, dubbed Windows Live Movie Maker. This is the second major release of Windows Live Movie Maker, the first launching in August of last year. Windows Live Movie Maker isn't at all a high-end professional video editing software, it's a simple tool to get quick jobs done fast. The software is intended for amateur use, with its user friendly interface and easy to use options.

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Ribbon

Microsoft is continuing full ribbon support for Windows 7, Office 2010 and of course, Windows Live Essentials 2011. Although ribbon isn't new to Windows Live Movie Maker, it definitely has improved with more options and easier to find categories. The ribbon is split into five categories, from adding pictures, video and audio, to animations and transitions.

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Supported Formats

Windows Live Movie Maker supports 14 available video formats, including Windows Media Video (WMV), DA-AVI, Microsoft recorded TV shows, 3GP, 3GPP, MPEG-2, Motion JPEG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG, QuickTime .MOV  & .QT(Windows 7), AVCHD (Windows 7) and MPEG-4 (Windows 7).

Movie Maker supports drag-n-drop, so you can quickly grab a folder of videos and pictures, drag them into Movie Maker and quickly and easily make a video. Output settings support 1080p, 720p, 480p, Windows Phone 7, Zune HD and customized settings. With output support already pre-set for Windows based devices, it makes it easier to save your videos to watch later on your mobile device.

Webcam recording is supported in Movie Maker, if you ever wanted to edit your video message or blog before you upload it.

Visual Effects

Movie Maker comes with over 100 animations and visual effects that can be applied anywhere, to any section of your video or pictures. Effects can be applied individually or with multiple effects mixed together to make a unique look to your videos. Depending on the type of animation, different pre-set effects can be applied to text, backgrounds, video and pictures.

Applied effects have advanced settings for users, so you can edit the start and finish timings for transitions, background colour, font size and colour, music adjustments and more. These advanced tools allow you to tweak your video to give it a more professional touch.

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One Click Movie

Windows Live Movie Maker comes with a one-click auto movie button, for those who don't want to spend time trying to edit a video. You select the files you want, including videos, images and music, and with one click, you'll have an automatic movie that doesn't require any software knowledge. The one-click auto movie pre-set themes add a title, transition effect, credits and with your added video, images and music, you'll have a movie completed in under a minute.

Sharing

Once you have added your finishing touches, you can use one-click sharing to social networks including Facebook, YouTube, SkyDrive, Live Groups, Flickr and additional plug-ins for more supported social networks. YouTube and Facebook support high-definition video, but uploading disables using Movie Maker. Before submitting your video, you are promoted to login and select the video size and quality you want. This feature would be very useful if you could at least minimize the window while your video is uploading or support background uploading.

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Windows Live Movie Maker works with other Essentials programs, including Photo Gallery. As we covered Photo Gallery yesterday, you can select photos and video and with one click, make them into a video. This feature, combined with the auto movie button works wonders if you aren't exactly a video editing genius.

Video

Of course, a review of Windows Live Movie Maker is not complete without an actual video! So to stick with my San Francisco theme, here is a quick edit and video of Alcatraz Island. I took this video with my iPhone and edited it completely in Windows Live Movie Maker 2011.

Make sure to check back tomorrow when we review Windows Live Mail 2011!

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