Video Editing Tools: An Introduction to Microsoft Movie Maker

In terms of video editing tools, Microsoft Movie Maker was one of the first on the scene. Still used by some who prefer a very basic approach, it is software for creating and editing video. Originally, Microsoft Movie Maker was included in Microsoft's Windows Me, Vista and XP packages. It has features like effects, titles and credits, and an audio track. Other features include transitions, timeline narration and one called automatic movie.

Through using XML code, Microsoft Movie Maker allows you to modify existing or new effects and transitions. Another feature of Microsoft Movie Maker is that it is a track editing program for audio with limited capabilities. Basic effects that can be applied to audio tracks include fading out and in. Modified audio tracks may be exported as sound files rather than video. It can most usefully be thought of as a dated, entry level video editing tool for hobbyists.


Microsoft Movie Maker was part of Windows Live Essentials. That package included free software for film, photography, messaging, blogging, emailing, security and other things.

Initially and in its first form, Microsoft Movie Maker (or Windows Movie Maker) was made available for Windows Me in 2000. In 2001, it was made available for XP, and there followed releases for other editions of XP.

Recent Developments

Development of the Microsoft Movie Maker was canceled following the release of Microsoft Windows Vista. That release heralded its replacement, Windows Live Movie Maker, which was then included in the Windows Live Essentials package as a free download from the Windows Live Website. The two should not be confused, as the newer Windows Live Movie Maker does not have the same features as the Microsoft Movie Maker.


The Layout of Microsoft Movie is user friendly. There is a storyboard aspect and a view of the timeline for organizing video that's been imported. There is also a preview window. When you view the storyboard, your video project comes up on the screen in the form of a strip of film, displaying each scene by way of clips. The timeline and storyboard consist of one video with an audio toolbar alongside it, one bar just for music and audio, and one for titles and credits. Each bar allows you to add clips for editing. As an example, a wave file would belong to the bar for music and audio. Still pictures can be imported into the timeline as well, manipulated and placed in frames. You can edit short segments together in a limited way, but the results will be fairly seamless.

Microsoft Movie Maker has been subject to a good deal of criticism over the years. It has been described as a "bar bones" approach to video editing in that it provides very limited ways of accomplishing anything special. It allows only for the very basic parts of the editing process to be performed. It also received criticism for only saving files in the format exclusive to Microsoft, ASF.

These days, there are many more sophisticated video editing tools on the market; many of them free and very advanced.