Windows Live Movie Maker is out of Beta

Microsoft had released its 2009 Wave of Windows Live products earlier this year but the new Movie Maker didn’t exactly make it out of beta. Windows Live Movie Maker Beta, through my experience and reviews from others, was very feature limiting lacking most transitions, effects, and output formats. Well Microsoft listened to everyone’s comments.

Windows Live Movie Maker finally came out of beta as Version 14.0.8091.0730. The version number is 14 to match the rest of the 2009 Windows Live Suite. Keep in mind that Windows Live Movie Maker is for Windows Vista and Windows 7. It will not work in Windows XP. Sorry.

So… whats new compared to Windows Movie Maker?

The first thing you’ll notice is that the interface is a lot cleaner than Windows Movie Maker with everything in the new Ribbon GUI. The ribbon is in the Windows 7 Wordpad and Paint┬ástyle.

Windows Live Movie Maker

The new interface is very clean and easy to navigate with the new Ribbon.

You may also notice that there is no timeline view. It is only an enhanced version of the storyboard. Using it is simple. Through the menu button, choose which pictures and videos you want and then they will be added to the storybard. You can drag and drop them around to arrange them. Add music to it, captions, transitions, effects, etc…Music and captions can be arranged the same way.

To make things easy, like older versions, there is an AutoMovie button. Once you click on it, it will put together all your media into a movie automatically complete with transitions and zoom/pan effects. It automatically adds a title screen and a finish “The End.” It will name it My Movie for the title screen unless you already saved your project under another name.

Auto Movie

After Auto Movie

Like Office 2007 and Windows 7 Paint and Wordpad, certain options only appear when they are needed. For example, if you are not at a point where theres music, the Music Tools option will disappear. This helps you stay more focused on what you’re actaully doing than clicking around options that don’t work.

Ribbon GUI with highlighted options that only appear when needed

Ribbon GUI with highlighted options that only appear when needed. Here are the Music Options.

Borrowing from Office 2007 is Live Previews, making previewing effects and transitions easy.

Hovering over any transition (called animations) or effect gives you a live preview before you select it.

Hovering over any transition (called animations) or effect gives you a live preview before you select it.

Unlike earlier versions of Windows Movie Maker, Pan and Zoom are no longer part of Effects but are now in their own section under the Animations tab.

Zoom and Pan are no longer buried with the Effects. There is also a new Automatic feature which automatically adds the zooming and panning to the selected=Windows Live Movie Maker makes it easy to edit the video and music through the ribbon rather than having to set options through right clicking and then going to an options window. However, AutoMovie doesn’t automatically add music fading however it is easy to add it through the music options. In Windows Movie Maker, one would have to right click on the music, then click to open an options window.

The effects for text and captions are slightly different from Windows Movie Maker. In addition, there are slightly less effects for text.

Options for Captions and text

Options for Captions and text

There are several output formats users can publish to.

The standard output formats

The standard output formats

Windows Live Movie Maker also supports direct output onto the most popular video sharing site: YouTube! You can also install many other plugins for additional publishing outputs from MSDN here.

With Windows Live Movie Maker, users can publish directly to YouTube as well as other sites through plugins.

With Windows Live Movie Maker, users can publish directly to YouTube as well as other sites through plugins.

I saved a test video of 3 minutes long as 1080p HD file and the saving took around 20-25 minutes, similar to Windows Movie Maker. It also used around 60 percent CPU the whole time. The program overall used around 115 MB of RAM, which isn’t that bad. Fortunately, it didn’t constantly freeze like the old versions.

Windows Live Movie Maker is designed for Windows 7 I’m assuming (which is the system I installed it on) and there are two unique features only available to Windows 7 installations. The first is jump lists, giving you quick access to recent files. The next is support for QuickTime MOV and QT files, AVCHD, and MPEG-4 video formats.

Windows Live Movie Maker lacks the snazzy features found in some of the top commercial products out there but for ease of use and a simple everyday video editing solution, Windows Live Movie Maker is worth a try.

Rating of Windows Live Movie Maker:

Performance: 4
Features: 3
Ease of Use: 4.5
Value for Money: 5
Appearance: 4.5
Overall: 4.075

Learn how we rate the software.

Interested in giving Windows Live Movie Maker a try? Click here to learn more and download.

Supports Windows Vista and Windows 7. Does NOT work on Windows XP. After downloading and running the installer, uncheck any programs in the suite you do not want to download and install.

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Brian is the co-founder of TechAirlines. He is a developer currently focusing on mobile and web development. He is currently a sophomore at Stony Brook University, majoring in Computer Science.