Windows Movie Maker 2.1 review

The first version of Windows Movie Maker, bundled with Windows Millennium Edition and XP, was rather lacking in features. But it’s come a long way since then. It’s still free, but although you used to be able to download it from Microsoft’s website, it’s now only distributed as part of Windows XP SP 2. So if you’ve applied this service pack, you’ll already have it.

Windows Movie Maker 2.1 review

Movie Maker 2.1 is now a fully fledged editing app with some decent features to get you started with editing video on your PC. The software takes a task-based approach, with the three stages of making a video listed down the left. There’s also a useful tips section underneath. Choosing the appropriate task in the left panel configures the palettes accordingly.

Movie Maker can capture from FireWire or an analog capture card with the appropriate Windows XP drivers. It can capture to DV AVI from a digital source or WMV in a variety of different bit-rates and frame sizes from analog, although many of the latter are American NTSC oriented. There are 28 filters and 50 transitions to choose from, plus titling. The latter can create animated beginning and end credits, or overlays.

At the output stage, Movie Maker can lay your edit back to DV tape, create a DV AVI file, or encode to WMV for various different target devices. However, although you can also write video to CD, it doesn’t burn VideoCDs. It burns HighMAT CDs instead, which use a proprietary format Microsoft is trying to push into set-top boxes – with little success so far.

Ultimately, Movie Maker is a great way of trying your hand at video editing, especially since it’s free.

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