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Windows Movie Maker

Add a WOW!!! Effect to Your Video

One quick way to amaze your viewers is to make a video that uses the animated menu files from Windows DVD Maker.

You can quickly create the DVD menu using your pictures and video clips, and get a copy of the temporary files that Windows DVD Maker produces, without having to burn a disc. The temp files are MPEG2 files that work in WMM.

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It's an example of using different apps in your software toolbox to work together on a movie project. It assumes you have Microsoft's Windows DVD Maker.... included in Windows 7 Home Premium and Ultimate editions.

This is a 'How To' chapter... an advanced subject for those who have the basics down for using your computer and are totally comfortable editing with WMM.

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Example Project

My 'Critter of the Day' video series on facebook uses a standard 20 second opening made with a Windows DVD Maker animated 'Video Wall' style menu. Here's one...

This chapter shows the steps to make one.

the Steps

First a couple tips...

Step 1 - Open Windows DVD Maker and add some files... pictures and video clips.

DVD Maker - add files

I like to include at least one longer video file as it keeps the saving process going much longer than a project with only a few little ones, giving you more of a chance to cancel the process mid-stream and save the disc.

Step 2 - Move on to the next window and select the menu style. My critter of the day series uses the Video Wall.

Preview the various styles to get to know them and zero in on the one that works best for your project. Use the 'Preview' option of the menu to check the animation action. As you preview it be sure to select 'Scenes' to see the animation the style does to move from the main menu to the scenes sub-menu.

It's usual to see the same frame or picture a number of times during the animation. Use the return (go-back) arrow of the menu to adjust the list of files in your project. Replace files with others and/or change their sequence in the list and the preview will change.

Menu Style Selection

The snapshot shows the Video Wall style with a single video file in the project. There may be no need to add more pix or clips.

Use the "Menu text" options to remove the text... if you want. I hadn't done it yet when I took the above screen shot.

Step 3 - When you have the files you want and the animation style selected hit the 'Burn' button at the lower right. That will result in a couple things....

You'll need a blank disc in your DVD burner for the burn process to start. If it's not there you'll be prompted for one.

Step 4 - Hit the Cancel button when the menu files are completed and DVD Maker moves on to transcoding the main features. It'll be just a few percent into the overall process. The temp files, the ones you want for the WMM movie project, are created first.

Cancel Encoding

Copy or move the temp files to your movie project working folder. Don't close Windows DVD Maker until you have them, as any left in the temp file folder will be automatically deleted as Windows DVD Maker closes.

Windows DVD Maker produces standard DVDs, which means the animated menu files are MPEG2. WMM should be able to use them without conversion... but if your system can't handle them you'll need to convert them to ones that will work such as wmv files.

Step 5 - Here's the working folder with the temp DVD files. Copy the .mpg files to another folder to use as source files for your movie project.

Use your file management tools to get the temp files made by Windows DVD Maker to your movie working folder... and the usual way of adding the MPG files to your WMM project. My standard file management tool is a shareware app Total Commander which I use to drag and drop files from one folder to another, or from a folder to WMM.

Temp Files

The ones you're looking for are MPEG2 files with file extensions of .mpg.

If you've gone through these steps OK, you'll have an empty re-usable DVD disc still in the disc drive and a set of animated menu files for your WMM project... the WOW!!! factor.