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The Movie Maker Interface

The Movie Maker interface is where you'll spend virtually all of your time with the program. While you'll launch wizards for capturing your videos, described in Chapters 4 and 5, and for final output, described in Chapters 15 and 16, you'll perform all other import and edit work in this space. As you can see in Figure 3.8 , there are four major windows.

  • Collections/Movie Tasks pane: This pane toggles between two views. Figure 3.8 shows the Collections pane, which lists collections of video, still image, and audio content, as well as transitions and other video effects. When you toggle to the Movie Tasks pane ( Figure 3.9 ), Movie Maker displays a list of tasks commonly associated with video production, including capturing and importing, editing, and rendering the finished movie. To start any activity, you simply click on the task. This pane also provides tips for many of these activities. Note the controls shown in Figure 3.8 for switching between the Collections pane and the Movie Tasks pane.

    Figure 3.9 The Movie Tasks pane, a helpful tool for working your way through a project.


    Figure 3.8 Movie Maker's main interface.

  • Contents pane: This pane displays the clips contained in the selected collection. If the selected collection contains videos, as shown in Figure 3.8, you'll see thumbnails of the various scenes in the video. If you select the Transitions collection, you'll see thumbnail images of the various transitions in the collection.
  • Monitor: The Monitor serves a number of critical functions. First, click any clip in the Contents pane, and it appears in the Monitor. Second, when you're editing your project and want to preview your work, you'll see it in the Monitor window, which is why I'll probably slip up and call it the Preview window from time to time. During either operation, you can control viewing with the playback controls, pull the Seek bar to the desired frame, or toggle the view to full screen. At the bottom right of the Monitor, you'll also find controls for splitting a clip and for taking a picture.
  • Storyboard/Timeline: This window also has two views, which you toggle with the control at the top of the window. Figure 3.8 shows Movie Maker with the Storyboard view displayed; this view shows each clip included in the project in a separate window. Figure 3.10 shows the same clips in the Timeline, a longitudinal view that shows separate tracks for video, transitions, audio, audio/music (background music or narration), and title overlays (titles). Chapter 9 describes how to work in the Storyboard and Timeline.

    Figure 3.10 The Timeline.

Other interface details

Let's spend a few moments examining other details of the Movie Maker interface. Figure 3.12 shows the main toolbar at the top of the Movie Maker interface. The buttons on the left should be familiar to anyone who's worked in Word or any other Windows program; you click them to start a new project, open and save projects, and undo and redo actions.


Figure 3.12 The upper toolbar controls many critical functions.

Movie Maker stores your last 10 actions, which you can undo and then redo using the namesake buttons. For completeness, Figure 3.12 also shows the Show Movie Tasks Pane and Show Collections Pane buttons, which are described in the previous section.

Note the Choose Collection list box and the buttons it contains. You can use these to navigate through and select collections as an alternative to using the Collections pane. We'll explore these functions in the next section, "Creating and Managing Collections."

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