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Storyboard versus Timeline

Creating your movie is the most exciting part of the entire process. If you have played around with Movie Maker, you are familiar with the Storyboard, which is a horizontal along the bottom of the application in which you can drop movies, still images, and transitions. If you don't like what you see, you can move it around. It's really easy.

What you'll find, however, is that when you want to start doing more work with your video, such as adding audio tracks, titles, and the like, the Storyboard offers you little flexibility. The role of the Storyboard is to lay out the structure of your movie. To tighten up the presentation, you'll need to switch from the Storyboard to the Timeline.

The first and most obvious level of control you see with the Timeline is the ability to control how long a clip plays. Select a movie clip in your Timeline; notice the resize handles on either side.

You can move video easily: Just click and drag the clip.

When you drag the clip, you might notice a blue line at the bottom of the clip. This line allows you to overlay a video clip with an adjacent clip and fade from one clip to another. You need at least two clips for this to work. Click and hold the right clip and slide it over the left clip. You'll see the blue line appear with a tapered end as it crosses over the left clip. Release your mouse and preview your clip. The two clips now blend without a transition.

Staying with video, when you are in the Timeline mode, you can also Fade In and Fade Out any selected clip. Simply select the clip, choose Clip --> Video --> Fade In from the menu bar. The clip will now automatically Fade In from black. To Fade Out at the end of the clip to black, choose Clip --> Video --> Fade Out.

The Clip menu offers additional features for Audio. For instance, you can Fade In and Fade Out audio, but you can also Mute an audio track and/or control the volume for the audio. (I'll cover audio in more detail later in this article.)

To access the Audio controls, choose Clip-->Audio.

Finally, when you are in the Timeline view, you can enhance your control over the video effects used on any one clip.

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