Windows Movie Maker

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Oct 17, 2006

Filed under: Rants 9 comments

A bit about that YouTube video I posted.

It was made with Windows Movie Maker, a rather inept piece of software that is just barely able to fullfill its intended function. Doing this was like digging a hole using a shovel with a bendy rubber handle. After some practice I was able to get a feel for what sorts of activities would cause crashes and lockups so I could avoid doing them.

The most infuriating problem was the way it would lose track of where it was supposed to be in the audio track. I spent a lot of time trying to get visual cues to line up with changes in the music. (I hope someone noticed.) With WMM, the two only stay in step if you start playing the movie from the very beginning. If you start playing the movie in the middle, the sound track will be out of step by several seconds. If you are trying to get some visual event at 1:45 to line up with some part of the music, you can’t just jump to 1:45 and work on it. No, you have to play the entire clip from the very beginning, watch the movie, and try to get a feel for how far off the movie is. Then trim or pad according to your best guess and try again.

Beating up on Microsoft is so cliche that there is no way to get into this without saying something that hasn’t been said a thousand times already. This sucks, and nobody seems to care.

I really enjoyed making this, but I dread using WMM again. Maybe I’ll poke around and see if there are any good tools for this that don’t have a price tag aimed at professionals.


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9 thoughts on “Windows Movie Maker

  1. BeckoningChasm says:

    Most of the stuff included with Windows, like Paint, WordPad and so forth, seems more designed to show you what’s possible while presenting you with rather obvious weaknesses so you say, “Boy, if only this would do [blank].” Then you see another program in the same genre that [blanks] and you pay real money for it.

    It’s kind of like how manuals for software are pretty bad. It kind of seems like it’s so people will buy aftermarket books.

  2. Actually, Microsoft pretty much can’t include full-featured works-well utilities like that in Windows. Every time they try to do that they get sued (e.d. Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player).

  3. Cineris says:

    Huh, kind of surprising since WMM was just recommended to me by someone with far more video editing and composition skill than me. I suppose whether you find it acceptable or not depends on how exacting your personality is…

    I’ll be interested to know if you find some good alternatives.

  4. Joel says:

    If you plan to do a lot of this sort of thing, Pinnacle Studio is very decent without being ridiculously high-priced. I use it to create family-video DVDs for the folks back home, complete with music tracks, menus, etc.

  5. Simon says:

    Have you tried Avid free? It is, as the name suggests, a no-cost taster (where they try to get you good at using Avid, then sell the company you work for the full version…)

  6. Baruch says:

    Vegas is a good set of software. At least it was, it’s been a few years since I’ve used anything other than WMM.

  7. yman says:

    I prefer ( Windows Movie Maker and i like that you can also save your movie back to the video tape in your camera to play back on a TV or on the camera itself.

  8. ArchMage says:

    I know this was posted a few years ago, but I like this program alot and had to share it. And it’s only $50.

  9. Blue_Pie_Ninja says:

    I use VideoPad by NCH software, it is pretty good and is free if you avoid the registration for it, otherwise it is about $25 to buy, and has great features and is really easy to use.

    I use it mostly for my youtube videos and putting overlays on my videos, as well as splicing some footage together. It also has separate video and audio tracks and you can go frame by frame and cut clips in half and can overlay audio and video really easily. With the free version I have, I can only export in .avi format but that isn’t a problem for me

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