Summer Ventures 2010

Windows Movie Maker Lab


What is Windows Movie Maker? Windows Movie Maker is a program for editing and creating videos. Windows Movie Maker is compatible with Windows Me, XP, and Vista. 

Before we begin, go ahead and create a directory on your computer named lab 1. We are going to put all images, videos, and Windows Movie Maker files on this directory.

Let’s begin!  This software is available on all of the computers in this lab. To open the Move Maker, go to Start à All Programs, and double click on the shortcut icon labeled Windows Movie Maker.   If you plan to use Movie Maker on your own machine, you need to download and install it.



Video Clip






Location or File type


Imported file


Figure (1) - The Main Panel for Movie Maker

Before we move on with the lab, you need to save a video file that we plan to use during this lab. Right click HERE and use Save Link As to save the file on your PC or in your flash drive.  The file you are saving is called Tzar Bomba.  Just remember which directory you have saved the file in. We will need to get the video file from there very soon.

Importing a file in Movie Maker. Importing files is quite simple. Click on the File tab at the top left corner. Then click Import Media Items (Ctrl + I). This allows us to browse for the video or audio file you wish to edit. Browse to the directory where you had saved the video file and upload the file Tzar Bomba.

Now What?! Following the selection of your file of interest you will see a small still frame picture of the file which essentially is the file appear in the top left region of the window. A single click on the imported file displays it in the frame on the right-hand-side of the Player. A double click results in automatically playing the file. Go ahead and double click to view the video the whole way through.

Let’s play around a bit. As you may have already noticed in Figure (1), at the bottom left corner there’s a tab called Storyboard. This is referring to the current view which is set to storyboard by default. Storyboard allows us to view a simple sequence of files, clips, transitions, and effects that make up a project. Clips can be added to the end of any video that is currently open for view by simply dragging the file into a following large square. The small squares located in between large squares are slots for transitions between clips. To add a transition, click on the tab that says imported media and change it to transitions. Feel free to take a few minutes to try different transitions.

What else can we do with the Storyboard view? The smaller squares in the bottom left corner of the large square are designated for general effects applied within the video clips. Click on the tab that says Transitions and change it to Effects. I would like for you to take 10 minutes to try different video effects.  Feel free to share your findings and cool effects with the rest of the class in a few minutes.

Time to try out another view. Click on the View tab that is currently set to Storyboard and change it to Timeline. Your screen should now look similar to the one shown on Figure (2):

Figure (2) – The Timeline Snapshot

What can we do with the Timeline view? This view allows us to see the timeframes for the effects, transitions, and clips that we are using. The Timeline function also allows us to edit the video clips in different ways. We can shorten the video clips simply by clicking once on the clip, holding the cursor to the edge of the rectangle, and dragging inward. The green line marks the cureent timeframe you are in the clip. There is also a row and timeline for audio files. We can use this to edit audio and overlap it with desired video. We will not be dealing with any audio in this lab. Video segments can be copied and pasted to create repeating units or a larger segment composed of smaller differing clips. To make sure how this works, use this option to play the segment from the time that the bomb exploded to the end once more after the entire video is played for the first time.

There’s not always a need to start from scratch. To utilize one of many preset styles and automatically create a style of movie click on the auto movie button located at the top left quadrant of your window.  You can choose a different style for the video your plan to view.  Go ahead and apply one of the preset styles to the tzar bomba video.

What else can we do with Movie Maker? You can zoom in on the timeline and click on the magnifying glass with the plus sign located at the bottom-left-corner of the window.

To navigate through the movie one frame at a time simply pause the movie on the top left quadrant of the window and click on the arrows to the right and left of the big blue play button.

To take a still capture of a video frame go to the top of the window and click on Tools. Then select the Take Picture From Preview option. Take two still captures of your choice and save them on the PC in the Lab 1 directory.

Now that we’re done, time to save your file. To save your video file onto your PC or flash drive, click on the “Publish Movie” button right beside the “Auto Movie” button. When you are finished working on a project simply go to the file and click on “Save Project As” to proceed with the saving of the file.  Be sure to save the file in the Lab 1 directory.

Congrats! You now possess the tools to edit your own audio or video project.  To work on your own video click on the following link: Huge Lightning Bolt Strikes Airplane to save the file and to view and answer the following questions.


How many times does the plane appear to be hit?

Is the plane’s trajectory or function affected?

Save one frame where the plane is hit as a JPEG image.