• Basics of Windows Movie Maker 2012 Programme

    The programme Windows Movie Maker 2012 is a simple video editing programme for creating and editing movies under Windows 7 or Windows 10. Since this programme cannot be used by younger children themselves, it is used by ECEC teachers to edit (stop motion) videos so that the children's results can be presented in a more beautiful form to parents

    Important note:

    Window Movie Maker 2012 will not be further developed by Microsoft, which is why the programme can no longer be downloaded from the Microsoft Store.

    The programme must therefore be purchased from third providers. Search for "Windows Movie Maker Download" using a search engine, e.g. Google. Several results will be displayed that allow you to download the programme.

    Next, we present a brief introduction to work with Movie Maker to convey the basics. The key F1 on the PC keyboard or ? symbol in the menu bar in the upper right corner of Movie Maker takes you to the online help, which offers clear support.

    Developer: Microsoft
    Systems: Windows
    Costs: Programme is free of charge.
    Target Groups: Pedagogical specialists, primary school children from fourth grade, parents.
    Note: Younger children are not yet able to use this programme on their own because they usually cannot read yet and it is very complex for this age group.
    Topics: Video editing, practical media work
    Advertising: No advertising
    Usability: Fully functional offline.
    Navigation: Simple and clear for older children and adults, still very complex for younger children.
    Design: Simple, understandable language; clear and high-contrast colours; reader-friendly; clearly laid out.

    How does Movie Maker 2012 programme work?

    When the programme is started, a new project with the name "My Movie" opens automatically.

    First familiarise yourself with the programme. If you move the mouse over the function fields, explanatory windows will open to help you explore the programme functions.

    It is recommended to save the project first under a new name in a selected folder. This will make it easier to find your way around and edit the movie later. It is also helpful to collect "raw data" in a separate folder.


    1. Import files

    A click on the Add Videos and Photos icon opens the library from which photos or videos can be added.

    A preview of the movie shows whether photos or videos correspond to the preset image ratio. In the "Project" menu it is possible to adjust the aspect ratio and audio settings.

    Add photos or videos

    Save your project progress regularly by clicking on the diskette symbol in the upper left corner of the programme line or by pressing the key combination [Ctrl][S].

    You can undo or repeat actions using the arrows next to the diskette symbol.

    2. Arranging and cutting

    The order of photos and film sequences can be changed by pointing the cursor/mouse at an icon in the workspace and clicking on the left mouse button. A blue frame indicates that the element is active. Now the element can be moved to the desired position by holding down the mouse button.

    Arranging and cutting

    If an element is activated by clicking on it, the "Edit" menu shows tools available for this element. Highlighted colour indicates which editing tool you are currently using. Video track is highlighted in yellow.

    Add photos or videos

    The "Cutting tool" option is used to cut the film. You can use tabs on the left and right of the timeline below the playback window to set the area you want to keep. Times can also be set manually via the start and end points. By clicking on the diskette symbol, the selected film element is now cut and saved to the area within crop marks.

    Cutting tool

    To split a movie into two, select the corresponding movie element. It gets a blue frame. Now the playback slider (black line) is moved to the position where the film is to be split. With a click on the field "Split" this processing step is finished.

    Splitting a movie

    If you want to remove only the beginning or end of a clip from a movie element, you can use the "Set Start Point" or "Set End Point" fields. With the "Set Start Point" everything BEFORE the position at the playback slider is removed from this one movie-clip element. All other film elements before it remain. At the "Set Endpoint" everything that is AFTER the position of the playback slider is removed from this one film element. All other film elements after that remain.

    3. Image and film transitions

    Transitions between images and film sequences create a visual link and thus facilitate perception. Transitions are easy to use. The menu tab "Animations" contains a variety of transition effects. If the cursor/mouse points to one of the corresponding transitions, its effect is immediately visible in preview.

    Image transition

    If the desired transition is clicked, it is transferred to the active graphic in the selection window (recognisable by blue frame). A gray triangle at the beginning of the film sequence indicates that it has been assigned a transition.

    Transition symbol

    If several photos and movies are to be shown with the same transition, several sequences can be selected by holding down the Ctrl key while clicking the desired sequences with the mouse. If you want all sequences to have the same transition, select the menu item "Apply to all".

    The duration of the transition can be varied. Normally it is preset to 1 or 1.5 seconds. A click on the selection arrow next to the menu field "Duration" opens a selection window. However, it is also possible to enter a (not preset) time directly into the window.

    Sometimes a multitude of effects can overload the viewer with too many different transitions and distract him or her from the actual content. It can help here to fall back on the basic rules of screen design: On the one hand, "less is more", i.e. number of effects should be limited and, on the other hand, "unity", i.e. effects should be applied one after the other. It is better to select a transition type per topic or chapter. If you want to draw special attention to something special in your movie, this can also be indicated by a transition effect.

    4. Visual effects

    Individual images or entire film sequences can be provided with "visual effects". Under the menu item "Visual Effects" you can choose from a variety of options. If the cursor/mouse points to one of the corresponding effects, its effect is immediately visible in preview.

    Visual effects

    With a click on the lower arrow in the scroll bar next to the selection area, an entire range of possible effects is opened, divided into different categories.

    A mouse click on an effect assigns it to active sequence in the selection window (recognisable by blue frame).

    Visual effect is activated

    A pictogram in the upper left corner of a frame indicates that a visual effect is assigned to it.

    If you want to have the same effect in several film sequences or apply it to all sequences, proceed as described under point 3 "Image and film transitions". Here, too, the viewer should not be overloaded with too many effects. It is better to use them specifically to make certain parts of the film more interesting.

    5. Title, text and credits

    The tool for inserting text is located on Start Page register.

    Title, text and credits

    Here you have the possibility to add a title, an image title and credits.

    Add title: Under the menu item "Title", an element with text is inserted before the actual image and film sequences. If this is clicked, the "Text tool" opens. The tab and text track are kept in pink for better differentiation from the video and audio track. This allows you to see better which tool you are currently working with.

    The title display is meant to fade in the title of the movie and to prepare the viewer for what comes next. The title can be faded in with different effects, which can be found in the "Text Tool". The procedure is again similar to applying transitions and effects to video sequences. Fade-in duration can also be edited here.

    Add a title

    Add image title: A "picture title" appears in selected frame or movie clip. It can be used as a title of a chapter or as a description text. Texts can be edited using the same methods as title texts. Fade-in effects and functions for setting fade-in start and duration are also available for image titles.

    Add an image title

    Add credit: A film is incomplete without credits. In this text, additional information, participants or supporters and their tasks are mentioned. If you click on "credits", the cursor jumps to the end of the film and opens a text element similar to the title. Editing corresponds to design of a title.

    Add a credit

    Remember to save your project every now and then so that you don't lose your work in parts or even completely.

    6. Music and sound

    Music and sound complement the visual impression of a film. It is possible to add music to the entire film or only to some parts.

    Hint: When inserting music (as well as when inserting photos, films and graphics from third parties), license terms and copyright should always be taken into account!

    If you open the context menu using the small arrow at the bottom right of note symbol, you can search for suitable music online or add music or sound directly from a data medium. Please note that the linked providers do not only offer free and unlicensed sound files.

    Add music and sounds

    This is now located as a green music track below the video clips. The "Music Tools" tab for editing the track is also shown in green. This makes it easy to see whether you are currently editing video material or sound.

    Music tools

    Double-click the music clip to open the “Music Tools” toolbar. Here it is possible to change the music volume, show or hide sound and select a start time if the music should not start at the beginning of the movie.

    For a simple video in ECEC, it's usually enough to add just one music clip to the film. If this is too short, you can simply copy it again. To prevent music from beginning and ending too abruptly, it is also a good idea to slowly fade music in and out. You can find this function in the music tools under "Fade in" or "Fade out".

    Most of the times you don't necessarily need sound for the video sequences or you only need it for single sequences. The volume of sound of the video can be turned down under menu item "Videotools" (yellow). So you can also turn up language sound for single sequences and still let music play as background music.

    Change video volume

    7. Export movie

    The tool for creating or saving a finished film (in technical language "render") is located in the "Start Page" tab.

    Export movie

    With the help of the context arrow next to the menu item "Save movie" a selection opens. Different saving options are displayed in different categories. When you move the mouse over the options, a small window appears showing display resolution and approximate file size of the finished film. A good option is to select "For Computer".

    During the saving process, single files that were put together in the project are now merged to a movie. This may take a while.

    Progress bar of the storage process

    After that a selection dialogue appears, where either the directory with the finished file can be opened or the finished movie can be viewed immediately.

    Selection between “Play”, “Open folder”, or “Close”

    When working with Movie Maker, be sure to follow the sequence described here, that is first edit your film sequences, then add titles, texts and credits and, finally, add music. If at the end you think that you still want to cut out a part of video, text and music will not move with it because they are now in a completely wrong place and you will have to edit everything. It is also important that raw files and your project are not moved to another location during editing. If this happens, the programme will not be able to find the material again.

    Start right now and try out your knowledge in practice. Our practical examples may give you some initial ideas.

    Comprehension Questions

    1. When working on the Movie Maker programme how do you know that an element is active?

    2. How can you change the duration of the transitions between images and film sequences?

    3. What different tools are available in the Movie Maker?

    4. Why should music be added only after you have finished the movie?