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Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-10-03 communities
Windows XP's secret movie-making tool
Kim Komando
Listen to Kim each Saturday from 12p.m.-1p.m. on WKYH 600 AM, Paintsville.

Creating, editing, and sharing home movies using a computer intimidates most people. But it doesn't have to. Much like Apple users have it easy with iMovie, Microsoft offers its own little known and free program called Movie Maker.

Now in its second version exclusively for Windows XP users, if you have not experimented with this gem, you're missing out. By dividing the work area into four distinct sections, the program turns even the novice into a movie making pro. A step-by-step guide is on the left when using Movie Maker. Here's where you transfer the video, usually from a camera, into your computer.

The fastest transfer, if you have a digital vide camera, is with a Firewire (IEEE 1394) card. You can also use USB, but be sure it is version 2.0. Version 1.1 is much too slow. If you don't have Firewire on your computer, you can use an add-on card. Same goes for USB 2.0. In fact, many cards have both types of ports on them. A card should run less than $50.

If you are using an analog camera, you will need an analog video capture card. Or you could import existing video, pictures, or music from your hard drive or removable media, such as a CD or DVD.

All of these items are placed in the collections area, the middle pane. Across the bottom is the Storyboard. This is where you actually build a movie. You simply drag your video clips, audio or pictures from the middle pane into the Storyboard or Timeline. There are two tracks: one for video and images and one for audio.

When capturing video, Movie Maker 2 automatically splits it into smaller clips, based on scene changes. This makes handling the clips much more manageable. And on the right is the monitor used to view your work as you build the movie.

Movie Maker 2 makes transitions between scenes easy. It includes 60 different transitions including the ability to dissolve, pixelate or shatter. You can also roll it, curl it or spin it.

No movie is complete without some text. You'll probably want to put a title at the beginning of the movie. But you can also title individual clips, placing the text before, during or after the clip. And at the end of the movie, you can add credits.

If this sounds like too much work, let Movie Maker 2 create your movie. This feature, called AutoMovie, combines clips, still pictures, music and text, such as titles. Once the movie is created, you can save it, or edit it. An automatic movie is unlikely to be exactly what you wanted. But it can be a good starting point for your masterpiece.

AutoMovie creates different types of movies. You make the selection before it starts. These include sports highlights; music video style, with quick or slow edits; and aging effects, to make the movie look old. When you're done, you can burn it to a recordable CD, send it to a video hosting site, e-mail it to family or friends, or send it back to your camera. Use the last option if you want to show your video on a television or save it back to a VHS tape.

Movie Maker 2, however, will not let you create a Video CD (VCD) or Super Video CD (SVCD). For these formats, you'll need a third-party conversion tool.

While the learning curve is not steep, don't expect to initially impress your audience as the next Spielberg. This is software, after all; you'll need some practice. You will find a great deal of information, online tutorials and a link to download the program at Microsoft's Movie Maker site (http://www.

Movie Maker 2 may not satisfy advanced filmmakers. But for the rest of us, this is a great little program. And you can't beat the price.

Copyright 2003, WestStar TalkRadio Network. All rights reserved.

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