Review

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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23 Comments

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It's a shame its so basic and still isn't up to the capability of the version included in Vista.
I'm really, REALLY, hoping that wave 5 will allow for multiple audio & video tracks, then it could really compete with other consumer oriented editing software

Seems nicer than the vista movie maker/xp movie maker. Although, the timeline on the older versions was good. Movie maker bores me to hell though now, all the videos my friends make with it for their school projects are all.. well... boring and almost the same. I use vegas, and I win.... I even set up the 'AMMA' (Anti Movie-Maker Association), as a kinda joke. WLMM is good for quick and easy edits and slideshows though..

Tried it when it was released, and was glad to find out that it has no problem with editing Fraps captured videos. Got an option to output in 16:9 or 4:3 format, and actually does great encoding on 1080p videos. Good file size and great quality.
Better than some paid video editor out there that I won't mention (IT WAS VEGAS!!!), that gave me troubles with audio on videos captured using Fraps.

Pupik said,
Tried it when it was released, and was glad to find out that it has no problem with editing Fraps captured videos. Got an option to output in 16:9 or 4:3 format, and actually does great encoding on 1080p videos. Good file size and great quality.
Better than some paid video editor out there that I won't mention (IT WAS VEGAS!!!), that gave me troubles with audio on videos captured using Fraps.

That's odd, I haven't had any issues with Vegas and fraps audio. I usually use Windows Live Movie Maker when I need to create a video quickly though.

Pupik said,
... Better than some paid video editor out there that I won't mention (IT WAS VEGAS!!!), that gave me troubles with audio on videos captured using Fraps.

FWIW, audio prob w/Vegas are a bit surprising, considering it was developed by an audio software company that was later bought by Sony. That said, most audio/video apps don't operate in total isolation, Vegas included, & a great deal depends on what else you've got installed -- audio/video handling in Windows can easily become a PITA if you're not careful, or maybe I should say choosy about what you install.

Haven't tried the new Movie Maker -- not sure when the last time was that I played with it out of curiosity, but in the past it didn't always work flawlessly with ATI tuners & such installed, & relied on their wmv format, which is/was pretty inefficient encoding, so Movie Maker was always slow. With support for YouTube etc. maybe they've improved that aspect -- have to look later today if time.

Panacik said,
Am I going mad or is this posted 3 times on front page in the last 3 days?

From the article:

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.

On our third day of Windows Live Essentials 2011 overview coverage, we take a close look at Windows Live Movie Maker.

Perhaps what you saw the other days were parts 1 and 2 of the review, focusing on some of the other programs?

roadwarrior said,

From the article:

Perhaps what you saw the other days were parts 1 and 2 of the review, focusing on some of the other programs?


That is what he saw. He wasn't paying attention to the title.

Wow, really not bad. I remember back in the time when I had Movie Maker on XP, it wasn't bad but its limitations kinda sucked a lot. I'm glad MS is deploying its Ribbon in so many apps, as it's probably the best interface I've ever seen, even if users have to re-learn it.

Anyways, not that I'm going to use it on my Mac, but it's good to see that it exists. The timeline is strangely similar to iMovie's though.

Cool song from Arcade Fire. I wish there had been a few more demonstrations of effects and transitions available from WLMM, though. Plus, I don't know, I think with that video footage, the song "Phantom Limb" from The Shins would have gone better. But that's just me. Thanks for the thorough review anyhow!

I remember some years ago my school went on a tour of Alkatraz! Scary prision.

I've been the using the beta for a while now, but I only use it to edit songs to put up on youtube.