Windows Movie Maker Tutorial- Create a Photo Movie

I have created movies using Windows Movie Maker for numerous occasions: sporting events, 8th grade and preschool graduations as well as bridal showers and awards ceremonies. I have taught my 8th grade computer education students how to use this program as well.

Note: Windows Movie Maker is free and should be on your PC already. If it is not you can download it at Microsoft.com for FREE! 
This tutorial is from Windows Movie Maker XP. However, you can easily follow along using any version as there is not much of  a difference between them.

In this tutorial you will:
  • Learn how to import and insert photos and music clips from your desktop into Windows Movie Maker.
  • Create titles and credits.
  • Use effects and transitions within your movie appropriately.
Please Note: You will need to be familiar with uploading digital images and music onto your computer before you begin this tutorial.

    1. Open Windows Movie Maker by clicking Start -> All Programs -> Windows Movie Maker.

    2. Get familiar with the different components of Windows Movie Maker by looking at the diagram below.
     3. Import photos by clicking File ->Import Media Items and select the folder in which you have your photos stored.
     You can also click the Import Media button provided in the top left corner or select it from the tasks pane.

    4. You can select multiple photos by holding down the CTRL key and clicking on the images that you wish to use - or - hold down the CTRL and press A to select all and then click IMPORT.
    Your photos are now displayed and are ready to be used.
    5. Now for the easy part. Simply click and drag your photos into the Storyboard the way in which you want them to display in order. You can easily move these photos around as well- no worries!

    6. Now is a good time to save your project. Go to File -> Save Project As -> select a name and location. Note: this is only saved as a "project" and NOT a completed movie!

    7. Effects and transitions. This is when I would like to take a moment and explain that too much of a good thing is just that- too much!  Having transitions between each photo is okay, but carelessly inserting them is another. Same goes for effects. Creating a mood when using transitions and effects should be your ultimate goal when you create your movie.

    8. Inserting effects: Click on "Effects" in the task pane on the left, a visual menu then appears.

    9. Select the Effect you would like to use, using the drop and drag technique, drop the Effect right onto the chosen image.

    10. Press PLAY in the Movie Control Panel and test it out.

    11. Now is a good time to save. File -> Save Project. It will automatically save what you have completed. Side Note: get use to the "SAVE!" messages. As your project gets bigger, there is more room for freezing computers!

    12. Add effects as you see fit. Remember not to overdo it. You can add more than 1 effect to an image. To remove the effect (if you change your mind), right click onto the Effect and click Remove Effects.

    13. How to insert Transitions. Inserting Transitions is basically the same as inserting Effects, except you will drop and drag the Transitions into the box between images and not onto them.

    14. Click Transitions under the menu task pane, a visual menu appears.

    15. Add Transitions as you see fit. Remember not to overdo it.

    16. Now is a good time to save. File -> Save Project. It will automatically save what you have completed. Oh, and you can test the movie whenever you want by clicking play on the movie control panel.

    17. Adding Titles and Credits. In the tasks pane, click Titles and Credits. A new screen opens.

    18. Type in the title of your choice. You can edit how the title looks by selecting either 'Edit the title animation' or 'Change the text font and color'.
    Feel free to make adjustments to your title as you see fit. Click Add Title when satisfied.

    19. The credits are done basically the same way. The difference? You now have separate columns in which you will enter your information. Go ahead! Click Titles and Credit from the tasks pane then select 'Credits at the end.' Input your information and click Add Title.

    20. Save!

    21. Adding Title Overlays. Want to add more of a personalized touch to your photo movie? Adding a title overlay can do just that. You can add dates, captions, or quotes to further personalize your movie. You can only add a Title Overlay's in Timeline view. So, first things first, switch from the "Storyboard" view to the "Timeline" view:

    Timeline View

    22.Click Titles and Credit from the tasks pane then select Title on selected clip.

    23. Select the photo in which you would like to add the overlay of text. Please Note: you will see the image just before it in the movie viewer! Don't panic- it will be correct.

    24. Just as you did with Titles and Credits, you can change the animation, color and font. Click Add Title once satisfied. You will then see your title on the Timeline.

    25. Want to add the same title to multiple images? Click the right side of the "Title on selected clip" box that you inserted and drag it out as long as you wish.
    26. Save!
    27. Adding Audio or Music. For this tutorial we will learn how to insert music. In the tasks pane, under Import, select Audio or Music. Select the music file you would like to use for your photo movie. Please read U.S. Copyright Office to make certain that you are not violating any copyright laws. For this tutorial I used a snippet of the "Sample Music" that you receive on your PC. 

    28. Your music file is now stored near your photos. To add it to the Timeline, simply drop and drag to the Audio?Music portion of the Timeline.

    29. Save!

    30. Just as you did with the 'Title on the selected clip', you can shorten or move your music file to where you want it in your photo move. You can also add multiple music clips!

    31. Take this time now to make adjustments. Remember you are trying to convey a story and create a mood.

    32. Now it's time for you to try some tricks on your own! 

    • You can make the selected music fade in and out by right clicking and selecting the option from the popup menu.
    • You can shorten or elongate the duration of your photos in your movie by clicking and dragging them in (shortening) or stretching it out (elongate).
    33. Publishing your movie. You can publish your movie to your computer, DVD, Recordable CD, E-mail or Digital Video Camera. Click on the item you wish to publish to and follow the step-by-step directions. Note: each version provides you with simple step by step instructions on how to easily complete your movie!

    Congratulations- you have completed a Photo Movie using Windows Movie Maker!

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