Overview: Import Video, Photos, Music into Movie Maker

The first step to creating a home movie is to import your video clips, photos and music files into Movie Maker.  If the video clip, picture or music is not imported into Movie Maker, it can’t be included in your home movie project.


Whatever you do in Movie Maker, shortening a video clip, adding a slow motion effect, brightening a photo, or trimming short a music file – whatever you do in Movie Maker, it does not modify, affect, damage your original source files on your PC hard drive..

What is the difference between Source files, Movie Maker Project and a Saved Movie?

Source files – the actual raw video footage ( e.g. avi, wma files), still pictures (e.g. jpg or gif files) or sound file (e.g. .mp3 files).

When you import the source files into Movie Maker, they appear in the Collections pane as icons of video clips, pictures or sound files. Although they look like the real video or photo file, they are just representations or pointers to the actual source files. This is why, you can trim, speed up, slow down, mutilate the video clips in Movie Maker and your source files remain untouched.

Think of a Movie Maker Project as a movie director’s script of what the movie timeline looks like – which clip appears first, which music goes with it, which photos pop up followed by which video clip? A project is a list of instructions. When you save a Movie Maker Project (the file extension is .MSWMM), you are saving the storyboard timeline instructions. Next time you open the project, it knows how to put together your movie again. ASSUMING you have not moved the source files to new locations.

When you are done putting together your project, replay it in the Preview window. If you are happy with it, you are ready to Save Movie. The output of your Save Movie is a video file that can be played independently by Windows Media Player or other players such as Real Player or Quicktime. This is the file that you burn on DVDs to share with your friends or upload to the web. This file is your final video movie file, the reward of all your hard work.

BIG TIP: When you are in the middle of making a movie, do not move your source files to another location.  Otherwise Movie Maker will not be able to find it and you will get red Xs in your Collections where the files thumbnails used to be.

Import VIDEO Files into Movie Maker

Overview & Importing Your Source Files

SequenceOverview & Importing FilesGroup
10Windows Movie Maker 2.6 OverviewOverview
20Collections - A Movie Maker's FoldersOverview
25Overview - Importing Files into Movie MakerImport
30Import VIDEO Files into Movie MakerImport
40Import Photos and Sound Files into Movie MakerImport
50How to take still photo from video clipImport

Next Section: Editing the Video

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