Windows Movie Maker 2

Windows Movie Maker 2 (which comes in an update to Windows XP) is really not a bad movie making program. I have heard surprisingly little about it, so for a long time, I didn’t even try clicking the icon to see what it did. Once I finally decided to give it a whirl, I was surprised at its usefulness.

The project I wanted to do was just to take a folder of still images and create a video slideshow with music in the background. It turns out there’s a Wizard built in to do just that. Basically I just had to open the wizard, select the folder, select the song, select a style and click “create movie.” That’s it… it was done. Windows Movie Maker automatically creates the slideshow to the length of the song and throws in some nice default transitions.

Once it’s done, you can either save it and have a decent movie done in about 15 minutes, or go in and add from the impressive selection of transitions and titling effects to customize the movie.

There are however, as with most Microsoft programs, some caveats. Windows Movie Maker won’t even run on my Dell laptop. I tried some troubleshooting (updating my video card drivers etc) but it just keeps crashing. It runs perfectly on my MUCH older P II 450 Gateway desktop–even with such an antiquated processor, it is able to render the transitions in realtime.

Creating a similar movie in Premier or another, more advanced video editing application such as Final Cut would have taken much longer to get the desired effect. Between tweaking the length of transitions and the time pictures are shown on the stage, creating a simple slideshow (even using the storyboarding features) can become a much more involved process. I haven’t compared it to iMovie yet, but I imagine it has similar features.

If you have Windows XP and want to make simple videos, I suggest checking out Windows Movie Maker. If it doesn’t crash on your machine, you might just find you really like it.

For an example of the type and quality of slideshow it produces, check out this movie I created today (11.6mb wmv format).