Here is the skivvy on what you can do to get a better understanding of your software options and limitation.
XP to Vista Users:
If you have upgraded from Windows XP you should have an existing copy of Windows Movie Maker on your computer. The editing software is functional but see my prior post on the advantages and disadvantages of using this version of Movie Maker.
Native Vista and Windows 7 Users:
You will have to go to Windows Live web site to download the program.
Ding Ding Time
This is not the same application as Windows Movie Maker. It has been re-designed with features that a rookie/novice user would want to use to combine photos and videos.
It is more of a storyboard with some timeline features editing program. This is a video from Microsoft giving a get started tutorial on using the software.
One of the advantages is that there is the ability to upload the finish video directly to Facebook or YouTube. You have other saving/export options as well.
The program remains very easy to use once you get the use to the layout. It is extremely visual; so visual that you might not see the feature you want if you are doing something else. You will have to get use to layout.
Oh my. There are some disadvantage. To me it is not a deal killer unless you are a prior user of Movie Maker.
Microsoft totally revamped the editing software. It uses a ribbon interface that is now standard on programs like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. For those of us raised old school menus and toolbar it is an adjustment.
There has been passionate discussions about this change. It is what it is; deal with it or purchase another editing software program.
You still cannot import any video recorded in the Apple QuickTime .mp4 format. If your camcorder records video in a .mp4 format that uses QuickTime you will need to use a video converter to get the video into Windows Live Movie Maker.
Here is the thing, you have to look at the camcorder manufacture's web site or look at the camcorder packaging. If you see the Quicktime logo you can't import the video into Windows Live Movie Maker.
If you see H.264 .mp4 chances are that you can't import the video into the software. But you might.
I know. It is confusing. I've tried to explain before about the variations of .mp4 video and it is an acid generating problem. So at the risk of repeating myself, you will need one of the following safe and free or open source video converters:
Update 07/22/2013 There has been changes to WLMM - there are now more export options. Please view the current post on the new export menu.
- Adapter is currently in Beta but I like how it works. Good for novice users.
- HandBreak Open source video converter for those who have tech skills.
- MPEG Streamclip by Squared5 The bomb diggity of free video converters but has trouble with AVCHD .mp4 type videos. All the cool kids use this program when they can.
- Miro Video Converter Open source video converter, you might have to look or test out the right mode for export.
- There is a dedicated Windows Live Movie Maker channel on YouTube to get you up to speed on using the program.
- Microsoft does have a help at the Windows Live Movie Maker Help Center.
- The well known video subscription tutorial site Lynda.com has a series of tutorials on Windows Live Movie Maker. Some of those tutorials have been placed on the company YouTube channel. You should definitely check them out for quality information.
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