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MovieMaker: General Directions

How-To Make Marvelous Movies with Movie Maker 

Movie Maker is a great way to present your “story” to an audience.  The most important part is the CONTENT.  

The visual component is secondary.  The types of movies can be:

  • Visual essays
    • Much like a PowerPoint (with or without narration)
  • Documentary
    • Research based
  • Digital storytelling or poetry
    • Tells a personal story or poem

99.9% of your research and writing should be complete before you even open up MovieMaker.

Movie Maker tends to freeze, so save often!

Be sure that the first time that you save your project that you go to File/Save Project As. 

Put your files into the correct My Videos/My Project folder.


Three words to remember are:  CONTENT, FOLDERS, IMPORT.

Setting up your folders

You will create a folder inside your “My Videos” folder, which is located in your “My Documents” folder.

o   From your desktop, open up “My Documents.”

o   Open up “My Videos” folder. (If you do not have a “My Videos” folder, you will need to make one.)

o   Click on “Make a new folder.”

§  Call it ____________ Project

·    Inside this project folder, create a folder called Pictures (you will need to click on “Make a new folder).

·    Inside this project folder, create a folder called Videos (you will need to click on “Make a new folder).

·    Inside this project folder, create a folder called Music (you will need to click on “Make a new folder).

o   Every component of your movie must be saved in the Project folder and in the correct folder, or your movie will have red Xs instead of what you thought would be on your movie.

If you are working with a group, designate one person as the "Saver," or pass around a USB drive so everyone can save in a common place.

Finding your pictures can be done several ways:

o   You may scan pictures to use in your movie (use the computer to the right of the library scanner)

o   You may download pictures from your digital camera to use in your movie – make sure your video camera will work first with our software and firewire! BRING ALL YOUR CORDS WITH YOUR CAMERA. Do a test run first before you spend a lot of time shooting stills. You may borrow the library’s digital camera, but only to use in school.

o   You may email yourself photos from your Smartphone, and then save them into your Pictures folder (or save them to a USB drive.

o   You may use digital images from the internet, such as Bing or Google Images, to find pictures

·   The frame in Moviemaker is 640 pixels wide by 480 pixels tall

·   Try to find pictures that are at least 2/3 that size so they don’t become pixilated and blurry

·   Try to find pictures that are wider than they are tall—tall pictures will have black on the sides in you Moviemaker project

·   Click on the picture, and then click on “See full size Image”

§  Right click on the picture to save it. You will get the message “save target (or image) as.” Save the image into the Pictures folder inside your Project folder. Save as a JPEG if possible. GIF images will also work.

·   Cite your image in a Word document so that you can add it later to your movie credits. The model to follow is:

o   "Michael Moore." Image. Google Images. 2009. Web. 27 Apr. 2009.

o   You may find images on webpages, online encyclopedias, etc., that can be saved to your Images folder. Right-click the image. Choose “Save picture as” and choose your Pictures folder. These images can then be imported into your project

Pictures that you find must be imported into your project. If you don’t import, you will get the dreaded red X.

·       Once imported, pictures can be dragged onto the MovieMaker timeline.

Finding your videos can be done several ways:

  • You may find video clips on  To download them, do the following:
    • Find your clip on and copy the URL
    • Go to
      and select United States of America
    • Choose the top row, middle icon (to avi, mp4, flv, etc.)
    • Paste the YouTube URL and click the arrow (A new tab may open, which you can close and go back to the original tab)
    • Select MPEG by clicking in the small circle below it and click the arrow
    • Wait for it to load and then click on Download
    • Click the circle with the arrow going into the box, and "Save As into the Videos folder
  • You may borrow one of the Media Center's FLIP cameras.  The video clips will need to be converted (see above).
  • You may ask Mrs. B to videotape you using the movie camera in the SmartBoard room (the camera that is used for announcements).
  •  Capturing video from a digital movie camera:

o   You may download videos from your digital movie camera to use in your movie – make sure your video camera will work first with our software and firewire! BRING ALL YOUR CORDS WITH YOUR CAMERA. Do a test run first before you spend a lot of time shooting video.

o   You can only use designated computer that has firewire in the library to capture video from a camera.

o   Choose “Capture video from a video device”

o   Name your video

o   When choosing a place to save, click Browse and choose the desktop at the top of the list.

o   Follow the directions on the screen to capture your video.

o   When you are finished capturing, open up your project folder and move your video from the desktop to your Video folder.

OR, if your camera has a card, ask Mrs. B to download for you.

§  Capturing video from your digital movie camera

o   If you’ve taken videos with your digital camera, they will probably download as a .mov or a .mod.  A .mod may not be converted, and is not useable.  A .mov may be converted to .wmv in

o   Go to

o   Step 1: Browse for your file and download it. (It looks like nothing happened, and the box remains blank.)

o   Step 2: Choose .wmv

o   Step 3: Put in your gMail email address.

o   Step 4: Click Convert (It may take a few hours for it to show up in your email.)

Setting up your title slides, adding text to your movie, and adding credits

o   Set up the beginning of the movie before you start the movie, title at the beginning. You will always be able to go back and edit it. You will add credits at the end. Choose “Edit Movie/Make titles or credits.”

§  The title can consist of several frames

§  If you choose to put text on an image: in Storyboard view, click on the image on which you want the text to appear. Choose “Edit Movie/Make Titles or credits.” Choose “Add title to selected clip.” When you click “Done, add title to movie” your movie will be automatically changed to the timeline view and the text will be placed on the “Title Overlay” bar. It will be on your image when the movie is played. Double-click or right-click the text to change color, size, etc.

§  In the credits, cite every picture or video that is not your original work. The credits page will only allow one frame, so you may need to give your teacher a complete Works Cited” document if it is requested. Check the Media Center webpage for citing information.

At the top of the credits frame, type “Works Cited.” For videos projects use an abbreviated form of “Works Cited.”

Doing your narration

o   Write down what you intend to say

§  Edit, rewrite, polish

o   Write and record  your clips in short segments of one or two sentences

o   Place your curser at the end of the movie to record. WMM will place your recording on the timeline and pallet, but delete then when finished and import them onto the movie where you want them placed.

o   To record, click on the icon that looks like a microphone above the timeline

§  Adjust the volume control so that you don’t go into the red (distortion)

§  Modulate your voice so that none of the words jump into the red

§  Use a microphone to direct the sound and cut out background noise. Please ask to use the microphones.

§  MovieMaker will automatically make a Narration folder, but it will not be placed into your project folder – you will have to move this Narration folder into your Project folder

·       When you save it, name it in logical sequence (a, b, c, or 1, 2, 3 or a key word)

o   Import the clips and drag them onto the timeline where you want them to be

o   You may right click on the narration line to adjust volume.

Adding music

o   Music is the last element to add because it may overwrite any narration or sound and takes the longest time to choose. To get music (over your narration or any other sounds) onto your project you may have to first finalize your project – get help with this. You will then import this newly created movie and drag it to the top line of a new project and then add your music to the storyboard.

o   If you do not have any other sounds or narration, you do not need to finalize first.

o   Go to

§  This music is copyright free so you are not restricted as to how much you can use.

§ Browse or search for the genre and/or mood of the music you want.  Then click on "Add to Cart." Go to your cart to check out.  Choose Education as the License Type.  Proceed to check out, Put in your name and email address.and click on Accept.  Click on Download (this will take a minute or two), and at the bottom of the screen, save as into your Music folder. This is a zipped file, so you will need to unzip it to use the music clip.

§  In MovieMaker, import the clip (at the very end of your project). You will have to first finalize your project to add music over your narration. (See below - #10).

o   Drag the clip onto your timeline where needed

o   Right click on the music clip to adjust volume, fade-in/fade-out, etc.

o   If you use copyrighted music, you may only use 30 seconds, which is considered “fair use” for education. You may “rip,” not “burn,” copyrighted music from a CD. Go to Start/Programs/Windows Media Player. Choose “Rip Music from CD by using Windows Media Player.” When you rip music, it automatically stores the file in a “My Music” folder in My Documents, not in your project folder. You will have to move the file to My Videos/My Project/Music. The program will give you clips of the music that you can drag onto your project timeline.

o   You may import MP3 files from a flash/USB drive. Start playing the file. In WMM go to Tools > Narrate Timeline > Show more options > Audio Import Source. Choose Stereo Mix. Click Start Narration to start recording the music. REMEMBER – you may only use 30 seconds. Remember to save this recording in your Music folder within your Project folder and import into you WWM project.

o   You may use to find music. If you find here, on iTunes or another online source, and they are not MP3files, you may have to convert them by using Zamzar.

o   If you find a recording of the music you want to use, start playing the file and follow the directions as for files from a flash/USB drive. Remember to save this recording in your Music folder within your Project folder and import into you WMM project.

o   DO NOT BREAK COPYRIGHT LAW! You may only use 30 seconds of copyrighted music.

o   If you do not get sound when finding your music clips, go to Start/Programs/Accessories/Multimedia/Volume and unclick where the sound may be muted.

o   Cite your source for music onto your credits page. Check the library webpage for citing information.

Timing the slides and prettying them up

o   You may stretch the picture to the amount of time you want in order to line up with your narration and/or music on the timeline view)

§  Hover until you see the double red arrow and pull it to the correct duration (the red arrow will trim or stretch pictures). Your stretched picture will then remain on the screen until your narration has ended.

o   You may overlap the slides to make them flow better

§  Hover until you see the hand and pull the blue line into the slide to the left (the hand will drag pictures)

o   You may go to Video Effects to pretty up the effect

Making transitions between pictures

o   You may go to Video Transitions to drag in transitions—best done in the StoryBoard mode. Adding transitions will alter your timing, so plan ahead and drag in your transitions before you add your narration or music.

Finalizing your movie – GET HELP

o   Once you finalize you will not be able to change your movie, so be sure you are completely done before finalizing (see above if you will be adding music)

o   Make a copy of your movie (Save Project As) – call it something else, just in case something happens to your original during finalizing

o   Under Finish Movie – click on “Save to my computer”

o  Click Browse to save to the desktop (top of list).

o   Click next, twice

o   It may take about 15 minutes

o   Go to My Computer; open up My Documents

o  Move your finished movie from the Desktop to My Documents/MyVideos/My Project

o  When you log off, your finalized movie (located on the desktop) will disappear, so be sure that you put it into your movie folder before logging off.

o   The icon of your finalized movie will look like movie film, not a movie reel – you’ll know then that it has been finalized

Important Notes:

·   If you open your project to work on it again, and it comes up with red X’s instead of pictures or videos, don’t panic…yet.  Right click on the red X and select “Browse for Missing File.”  Open folders stored in “My Documents” until you find the image/video that you are looking for. Click open. When you bring in the first missing file, the rest MAY follow.

·   Do not use red text – it does not show up when viewing your projects through the projector.

·   99.9% of your research or writing should be completed BEFORE you even open up MovieMaker and begin – content, content, content is what is important. 99.9% of your narration (written down) also needs to be complete before starting your project.

·   A rule of thumb is that every minute of video takes a hour to complete.  Allow yourself enough time to complete your project. Expect problems and mistakes that will need to be corrected, re-done, etc.

o   You can find many digital files for your project at the following websites. Be sure to cite your sources. Check the library webpage for citing information.

·       Your first project in MovieMaker will be learning experience! Be organized, be creative, have fun.