Windows Movie Maker is software for creating and editing video movies and is included in Microsoft Windows. The feature that makes it a useful tool for novice animators is the ability to add single pictures and play them back as a movie. You can also add sound effects and music and export your finished work to a move in WMV or AVI format.
The first step is to open the program:
1. From the Start menu, click All Programs.
2. Click Windows Movie Maker.
Set the frame rate by going to Tools > Options > Advanced > Default durations. A default duration is assigned to each picture s it is added to the storyboard or timeline. The shortest duration that can be set is 0.125 seconds. This will give a frame rate of 8 frames per second. This gives a reasonably smooth result and is ideal for a novice to try their hand at animation.
The next thing is to import some pictures. For my first try I imported the sequence of stills that I took for my Stop Motion Pro review. This is a 30 frame animaton of objects moving around my desk taken on my digital still camera and imported into the computer using the leads supplied by the manufacturer. You could also use a webcam to add pictures.
There are two methods of working; storyboard and timeline. The storyboard setting is good for adding individual pictures. The timeline view can be used for adding music and sound effects to synchronise with the pictures.
You can drag and drop your pictures onto the storyboard. There is a large preview window above the storyboard where you can view your pictures as a movie. You can add or remove individual frames. For example, after my sequence of pictures I added the same pictures in reverse order. This made the objects return to their original position. I repeated the sequence a few times to make a ten second sequence.
Music can be added by importing a tune of your choice and using drag and drop to add it to the audio timeline. Then click the play button and you see your movie with music.
Windows Movie Maker enables you to do other useful things like adding titles with various effects. I called my test movie “Office Desk” and chose the “Typewriter” animation effect to add it one letter at a time.
If your computer runs Windows it is well worth giving Movie Maker a try, especially as it is available at no extra cost.
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