Home » Digital Storytelling »Tools »Tutorials » Currently Reading:

Digital Storytelling Part IV- Windows Movie Maker

May 16, 2008 Digital Storytelling, Tools, Tutorials 10 Comments

Windows Movie Maker is a program that already comes pre-installed on your Windows XP or Windows Vista computer.

Creating a movie in this program involves three basic steps:

Get started by clicking Start > Programs and then locating the MovieMaker icon

Double-click to launch the program.

You will want to use Windows Movie Maker if you have video clips on your camcorder, digital camera or from another source and want to edit or combine clips into one movie and prepare them to be published or distributed on the web. Movie Maker should also be your choice of program, if you want to combine video and digital images into one project.

Creating a movie in Movie Maker is divided into 3 Steps for you:

  1. Capture Video
  2. Edit Movie
  3. Finish Movie

Click on the drop down menu in the Task Pane to get started

Be sure that your digital video camera is connected to your computer and turned on before choosing “Capture from video device”, if you want to directly import from a video device.

If you already have downloaded video clips to your computer choose “Import video”.

Choose the other links respectively if you want to import pictures, audio or music that is already located on your computer.

Browse for the folder your files are located in and click on the file to select it. If you want to select more than one file hold down the CRTL button as you click to add more files. If you wish to select all files in a folder, click on one file, then click CTRL and the letter A key.

Movie Maker allows you to import the following file extensions:

  • Video Files: .asf, .avi, .wmv
  • Movie Files: .mpeg, .mpg, .mlv, .mp2, .mpa, .mpe
  • Audio Files: .wav, .snd., .au, .aif, .aifc, .aiff, .wma, .mp3
  • Windows Media Files: .asf, .wm, .wma, .wmv
  • Still Image Files: .bmp, .jpg, .jpeg, .jfif, .gif, .dib

If your media is not in one of the above file extension, you will need to convert your file with another program or conversion site, such as zamzar.com.

It is a good time to start saving your Movie Maker project file after importing all your media (movie, images and audio). The project file allows you to go back later to add, delete or edit anything in your movie.

The project file is NOT the final movie file you need in order to upload or share your movie with others or online. You will save your movie after you are done editing your project file.

Arrange your media clips by dragging and dropping them on the Storyboard or in the timeline in the order you wish them to appear in your movie.

You can directly record your narration into Movie Maker, by connecting a microphone to your computer and clicking on the microphone icon. This will switch you to the timeline view automatically. In order to switch between Storyboard and Timeline view manually just click on the icon “Show Storyboard” or “Show Timeline” respectively.

Once you are in Timeline view, click on the microphone icon

Make sure that “Microphone” is selected as your Audio Input Source, and then choose if you want to limit narration to the available free space on the audio track and start by clicking on the “Start Narration” button.

You can also add a track taken from a CD as your background music.

Insert the CD into your CD drive. Open Windows Movie Player or iTunes to convert (rip) the selected track to an .mp3 file. Once the files is saved as an MP3 file on your computer, simply import as a music file and drag and drop into your timeline onto the audio track.

Once you have all media imported and added to your timeline you can start editing your movie. By clicking on the drop down menu in the Task Pane, you will be able to add effects and transitions make title and credit slides or choose to make and AutoMovie.

Click on any effect and then drag and drop it onto a thumbnail of an image or video clip.

To delete an effect on selected clip simply right click on the filled in star and choose “Delete Effect”.

Get started by choosing from several different video effects to add to any of your images or clips that are in your timeline. Experiment and see how each one of the following effects will enhance and support the message your movie.

After you have applied video effects on all or selected clips, move on to applying transitions between each clip to make your movie flow instead of choppy between new images or video clips. Movie Maker has a nice selection of transitions to choose from.

Add transitions between all your slides, then move on to adding a Titles or Credits. Choose one of the following:

The title slide at the beginning of the movie is a nice way of introducing what this movie will be about and as the word “title” indicates can also contain the ‘TITLE” of the movie.

Change the text font and the background color to customize the look.

Choose from many title animations. The animation you see in the screen shot above is “Moving Title- Layered”

When you have completed changing the font, size, animation and background color, click on “Done, add title to movie”.

By clicking on the option of “Add title before (or after) the selected clip on Storyboard” you can add a similar slide than the title slide to indicate a new chapter, a new twist, another location, etc. in your movie. Compare a function of these slides to the ones used in old silent film movies.

If you want to add a text overlay to a particular slide, choose the option “Add title on selected clip on storyboard”

That will allow you to add explanations, introductions, subtitles or other information directly onto the clip. You can achieve some fun and interesting additions to your movie with these functions.

You should end your movie, by inserting credits. This is where you can add references, thank you’s, copyrights information, sources used, or contact information.

A popular animation is “Credits: Scroll, Up Stacked” to imitate credits at the end of a theatre movie.

To sum up what you have done so far:

  1. Imported and added all media (images, audio, video)
  2. Arranged them in the order you want them to appear in your movie
  3. Added background music, recorded or imported narration.
  4. Added transitions, effects, titles, overlays and credits.

The final step in editing your movie is to adjust the time frame each clip is displayed. You have arranged the clips already in order you want them played, but you might want to adjust how long each clip is being displayed. You will need to be in the Timeline display in order to adjust the settings.

There is a default time setting for each clip and transition that you add, in order to change this setting, go to Tools > Options > and change the assigned time for picture and transition duration.

So far you have saved the movie project files (in regular intervals) while you were working. You should make a last final save of the project, in case you ever wanted to come back and edit it.

Now your movie is ready to be saved as a movie file that you will be able to share, upload to your website or blog, e-mail, burn onto a CD or keep as a portfolio item file on your computer. Click on the drop down menu in the Task Pane.

I suggest saving your movie file ALWAYS to the computer. Once it is saved there, you can then either burn it to a CD or upload it to the web. Like this you will always have a back up copy.

Click “Next” to choose the settings to best match the outcome you want to achieve. If you want present the movie on a projector you want to save it in high quality (large). If you are planning on uploading to the web, you can save it as high quality (small).

This is a Movie Maker Project file

  • The MovieMaker Project File is saved as a .mswmm file
  • The project file allows you to go back and edit the project by adding or deleting images, videos, audio, title slides, length, transitions etc.
  • You should not move the project file around, since it is very tricky to keep the path between projects and media files intact. Transferring the Movie Maker project file between computers, usually results in the media not being transferred correctly.

This is a movie file

  • Final movie file is saved as a .wmv file
  • Cannot be edited anymore with MovieMaker
  • Larger file size than the project file
  • Ready to upload to a video sharing site, such as YouTube, TeacherTube or Flickr
  • Ready to share on any computer that has Windows Media Player

Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. Grace Kat says:

    Hi, thank-you so much for taking time to produce these how-to videos. They are a great resource to share with the teachers at my school who are learning movie-making and they are also helpful for students to refer to while creating their own movies.

  2. BonnieK says:

    This is gorgeous, Slivia,
    I usually recommend Photo Story 3. What do you think? As a mac person, I can’t know first hand about moviemaker. I know when I first started digital stories I found Moviemaker very frustrating, but that was before audacity.
    What do you think?

  3. [...] Langwitches » Digital Storytelling Part IV- Windows Movie Maker nice tutorial for using Windows Movie Maker for digital storytelling (tags: windows_software WindowsMovieMaker) [...]

  4. Nancy says:

    Wow, fantastic Sylvia! I am working with fourth grade teachers and students to create advertisements in Moviemaker and planned to spend the weekend reminding myself how it works. Thank you so much!!

  5. Allison says:

    Very helpful! Thanks so much, Silvia!!

  6. Langwitches says:

    I will create a pdf version of the guides over the summer and make these available for download. That should help in making it better available to teachers and students.

    I am recommending PhotoStory as well, IF there are no movie clips involved. If you want to mix and match movie and still images, I recommend MovieMaker. Although there are more complicated functions, one does not have to use them in order to create a simply movie fast with MovieMaker.

    Looking forward to reading about your advertisement project and seeing some samples on a future blog post of yours. :)

  7. yman says:

    I prefer (rosoftdownload.com/download/Windows/Windows-Movie-Maker) 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. There are some really great ideas here. Can’t wait to put some of these into action. Its really going to bring good vibrations where the vibrations should be. :-)

  9. Erika says:

    I’ve just come across this awesome site and I’m very happy I have. I’m a secondary school teacher of English and I’m a toddler at technology. I’m learning a lot thanks to you.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Langwitches via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Choose a Category

In Need of Professional Development?

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano for customized workshops, coaching and presentations.
Video Conference sessions available.

For a list of sample sessions visit Globally Connected Learning .

Want to Learn More About iPads in the Classroom?

Professional Learning Board just released a Self-study iPads in the Classroom course I wrote. It is a self-directed course to take in your own time and at your own speed.


Upcoming Books

Like Langwitches on Facebook

Digital Storytelling Tools for Educators

Guest Posts

Augmented Reality that’s “Real” and Focused on Learning


cross posted with permission from Dr. Silvana Meneghini,’s On The Edge Blog. Silvana, the High School Technology Coordinator at Graded, The American School of São Paulo, shared a How-To post to connect augmented reality to student reflection by adding a layer of learning (not technology for technology sake). I highly …


Upgrading Our Recipes for Learning: Digital Learning Strategies


In an attempt to bring  new additions to your Blog reader, I am starting to feature  guest posts on Langwitches. Be assured that these guest posts are from educational bloggers, I highly value and their voices contribute significantly to my own learning. Today I am sharing a blog post and …

(No Comments)

Is Technology shoving Pedagogy to the center stage? TPACK Reviewed


Guest post by Silvana Meneghini, Academic Technology Coordinator, Graded- American School of São Paulo. Originally posted on her blog On the Edge. Pedagogical ideas like student centered learning, collaboration, and critical thinking have been around for a long time and are slowly making the way into the classroom. When technology …


Professional Development

How to Create a Backchannel Exit Ticket for Class, Presentation or Workshop?


This screencast below will show you how to use Google Docs as a backchannel or exit ticket during a presentation, lesson or workshop. Creating a BackChannel or Exit Ticket on Google Docs from langwitches on Vimeo.

(1 Comment)

Redefining My Learning


Silvana Meneghini and I  work as Academic Technology Coordinators at Graded, the American School of São Paulo. ” A flashlight in the fog of technology integration“, initially the title of a conference workshop proposal, quickly developed into the desire of creating a framework to guide and coach teachers based on …

(1 Comment)

SAMR Exercise Google Hangout: Mark Your Calendars


Silvana Meneghini and I  have created a template for technology, learning and literacy coaches. In an effort to create a depository of examples and scenarios for lessons and activities and how an upgrade movement through the stages of the SAMR model actually looks like in the classroom, we are shared …



21st Century Learning

Visible Thinking in Math- Part 1


The conversation about visible thinking in Math started with one of our teachers at Graded, The American School of São Paulo, Adam Hancock, wanting to know how he could incorporate having students’ use their blogfolios in Math class. It seemed natural to have students write for Humanities (Language Arts and …


Redefining My Learning


Silvana Meneghini and I  work as Academic Technology Coordinators at Graded, the American School of São Paulo. ” A flashlight in the fog of technology integration“, initially the title of a conference workshop proposal, quickly developed into the desire of creating a framework to guide and coach teachers based on …

(1 Comment)

Reflection in the Learning Process, Not As An Add On


Is it personality? Are some people born with it? Can it be learned? I am talking about REFLECTION. At the beginning of the week, I had the opportunity to be part of a workshop during our pre-service ( we just returned from our summer break here in the Southern Hemisphere) …


The Digital Learning Farm in Action

Student Tutorials- MineCraft, How to Ride a Horse, iMovie and more


It is no secret, that I am a big fan of Alan November‘s Digital Learning Farm concept. I especially believe in Teaching is the Highest Form of Understanding and the power of motivation and demonstration of evidence of student learning via the Tutorial Designer role. See a myriad of blog …


3 Need-Scenarios to Engage Students with Authentic Tasks


Alan November’s concept of the Digital Learning Farm, asks schools and teachers to empower students by giving them relevant responsibilities that allow them to contribute in  meaningful ways to their learning community (class/school/etc.). How can we give students the opportunity to CONTRIBUTE versus completing projects that end up in the …


Blogging as the Official Scribe of the Classroom


Alan November elevated the “Official Scribe” as one of the roles that empower student learners. I see the role of the scribe as follows: The official scribe plays an important role in the classroom community. Their work is essential for students who were absent from class or need a review …


Global Education

NASA’s Global Selfie Crowdsourced on Earth Day


Today, April 22, 2014, NASA is crowdsourcing Global Selfies. NASA astronauts brought home the first ever images of the whole planet from space. Now NASA satellites capture new images of Earth every second. For Earth Day we are trying to create an image of Earth from the ground up while …

(No Comments)

Selfies Around the World


  On the heels of The Cultural Phenomena of Selfies and  iPhoneography: Photo Challenges, Ideas & Literacy, students from the American School of São Paulo, Brazil want to know more about Selfies around the world. If you and your students would like to CONTRIBUTE with actual images for an in- school and online exhibition …


Julie Lindsay: Designing Engaging Curriculum for Global Collaboration in the Classroom

Following the post:  Note- Taking Learnflow of a Conference Workshop, here is the second story of my curated tweets from a session with Julie Lindsay. My favorite take away from her well run workshop was her quote “Flat learning is a pedagogy”. Amplifying our classroom, allowing students to reach out …

(No Comments)

Blogging With your Classroom

There is More to Blogging with Your Students


There is more to blogging with your students than simply creating a blog and starting to copy and paste work, that traditionally was done on a paper journal or worksheet in the classroom, into that digital space. Blogging is about quality and authentic writing in digital spaces with a global …

(No Comments)

You Have 1 Second to Hook a Potential Reader


If you are blogging with your students, you have been exposed to them. You have been exposed to hundreds of unimaginative, cloned, generic and uninspiring BLOG TITLES. When opening your RSS reader that contains the latest blog posts of your students,  you are confronted with a list, similar to the …

(1 Comment)

Student Led Conferences: Sick and Tired of Blogs & Reflection?


Our students just finished a second round of Student Led Conferences (SLC) this school year (one in Semester 1 and another in Semester 2). SLCs are a formal opportunity for students to present to their parents about the state of their learning. The students’ advisor (a teacher responsible for a …

(1 Comment)


Evaluating iPad Apps


I wanted to take a closer look at the iPad Evaluation I previously blogged about in Evaluating Apps with Transformative Use in Mind. The section of Content and Components deserved a closer look and explanation. You can  download the PDF file of the iPad App Evaluation for the Classroom with …

(No Comments)

Visible Thinking in Math- Part 1


The conversation about visible thinking in Math started with one of our teachers at Graded, The American School of São Paulo, Adam Hancock, wanting to know how he could incorporate having students’ use their blogfolios in Math class. It seemed natural to have students write for Humanities (Language Arts and …


Self- Directed Course: iPads in the Classroom


Professional Learning Board just released a Self-study  iPads in the Classroom course I wrote. It is a  self-directed course to take in your own time and at your own speed. “You have an iPad in your classroom, now what?” The iPad helps us prepare today’s student for today’s world in …


Digital Storytelling

Poetry on Record


Inspired by Poetry, Performance & Taylor Mali and Beyond…, 8th grade Humanities teacher Shannon Hancock coached her students to create their own original “Mali Poem”and record a visual and vocal performance. I joined the class to give a brief overview of presentation design. I used selected slides from my slidedeck below to …

(No Comments)

Workflow & Learnflow of an Animation Story


After teaching a 1:1 Toolkit class for incoming Middle Schoolers tothe 1:1 laptop environment this past quarter, I am currently teaching a Media Basics course for sixth graders. I am using a school blog to document the class (among others), showcase student work, share resources and give written step-by-step directions …

(No Comments)

My StoryTelling App Folder(s)


Matt Gomez shared a post today with a screenshot of his storytelling iPad app folder. I wanted to reciprocate and share mine. Storytelling I Folder StoryBuddy StoryBuilder StoryPagesHD Toontastic Tappy Memories StoryBoards Premium StoryMaker HD StoryPatch In a World … Drama Build a Story PhotoPuppets HD Epic Citadel Sock Puppets …


%d bloggers like this: