Aabicus has written an article about free tools for making videos and stuff like that. He’s a professional video editor these days. In fact, that’s aabicus’s main job now, editing and putting together videos. It’s a tough job that requires a lot of work and a lot of patience. Me on the other hand, I’m not a video editor. I’m actually not very good at video editing at all. In fact, I’m particularly stifled because I’ve never really had the… specs to do video editing.
But the keen eye might notice that there ARE videos by me on the SPUF of Legend, our sister Youtube channel. Not just straight recordings, but with text and stuff as well. So how do I make these crappy videos?
The answer is Windows Live Movie Maker
Windows Live Movie Maker (or just Movie Maker for short) is part of a now defunct group of programs called Windows Live Essentials. This free bundle of Microsoft programs included such classics as Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Gallery and a very old version of OneDrive. All tied together with Windows Live Messenger.
Movie Maker is incredibly basic
To put it nicely, you can’t make masterful videos with Movie Maker. Its main use isn’t even really to make movies. In fact, the best way to use Movie Maker is actually to make nice slideshows from photos. That being said, Movie Maker has all the basic tools you need. You can insert text and captions, you can trim and split videos and you can insert music.
The UI is tab-based. You have your main tab and then a tab for each thing you have available, whether that’s a caption or music or whatever. You also have a nice, big, easy to access bar where your video is. It’s all very basic and simple, but it does the job.
There’s also some pre-made options as well, that give you a movie title and credits, if you so desire. Most of these are crap, but the fading one isn’t too bad if you’re trying to get a video done very quickly.
It’s very old though
Movie Maker is a program that’s close to a decade old. The version I use is 2012, but there was a 2015 version (which lacked most of the 2012 version’s features). Clearly, from the UI, it has that old Windows Vista and Windows 7 feel to it. But the whole thing is just old all over. Sure, you can upload to Vimeo or Youtube but you need a Windows Live account. You can also upload to Windows Life Groups, but that’s been dead for ages.
I’m old enough to actually have a still-working Windows Live account, but the features just don’t work. The video editing stuff however works absolutely fine. The only issue I have is one of my own making – I have so many installed fonts that attempting to change font too much may cause Movie Maker to crash.
Sadly, you can’t get Movie Maker any more…
I’m just lucky that a friend still had the original installer file. And I keep that installer file in a very safe place, because, well, frankly, I don’t want Movie Maker to ever go away. Sure, there’s websites out there that claim to have copies, but since Microsoft no longer distributes Movie Maker, those wild copies are all that’s left. But honestly, it’s a bad idea downloading these things. You don’t know if it’s the original Windows Live Essentials bundle, or if it’s been altered in any way.
What’s even more unfortunate is that I never really found any alternative options. Nothing seems to have the ease of access that Movie Maker has. Sure, I could use Adobe Premier Pro, but that’s… not intuitive at all.