WMM Book Cover


Windows Movie Maker

Add Pictures, Video, Music

You can open WMM first and pull content into it. When first opened you are automatically in an empty project.

There are no collections as in classic versions of Movie Maker. Whatever content you add goes directly into the open project.

Add Pictures, Video, Music

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You can also push selected items into WMM from software such as Windows Essentials Photo Gallery or Sony's PMB. They will open WMM with the selected source material in it.

Another way to push content in is by double-clicking on a previously saved WMM project file (.wlmp file extension). WMM will open with the project file in it.

The Add music and caption icons are greyed out/nonfunctional until the first visual object is added to the project... it could be a picture, video clip, title or credits clip.

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Supported File Types

Watching your personal movies is easy to envision.... pick up a remote, turn on a TV or big screen monitor, press a button and watch the show. Making one yourself is something else.

The steps to take and the technical hurdles to jump over are usually down-played or over-simplified by those marketing hardware or software.

If your needs are simple and your process works out of the box, enjoy but be careful not to commit to a big project with a deadline if the steps to get there are new to you. Test them first.

There are no universal standards, or there are many universal standards, depending on your viewpoint. File differences are more than skin deep. If one .wmv file works fine and another doesn't, it's usually due to different compression codecs having been used to make them, and the viewing software not being able to handle them. For example, a video with a .wmv file extension made by Movie Maker might play well on your iPad but a Photo Story with a .wmv file extension doesn't. Under the .wmv skin lies significant differences in how the files were compressed.

There's no getting around file compression/codec issues.... all video files are compressed when being made and need to be decompressed at the viewing end. Codecs are the little pieces of software that do it.

Here's a Microsoft list of file types handled by Movie Maker.

Supported file types in Windows Movie Maker

The list looks simple or complex, depending on your background in doing video work. But it's only presenting the skin-deep view.

I noted the differences in successfully playing a .wmv file on an Apple device... on the input side of a movie project there can also be critical differences. WMM should handle .wmv files made by any version of Movie Maker and Photo Story. But it won't handle those made by screen capture software, not unless the captured material was compressed with a standard wmv video compression codec.

Some tips...

In no particular order...

Videos and Photos

Use your favorite file/picture management software to browse and select source files. It's easy to drag and drop them into your open WMM project.

Windows Photo Gallery - select the pictures and video clips you want to use in a movie and use the 'Movie' option to automatically add them to your WMM project.

from Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery is 'picture-centric' in having many more features for pictures than video clips. It can push a selected batch of pictures to WMM but doesn't handle my camcorder's HD .mts video clips... for those I use Sony's PMB software.

Sony PMB App - the software I use to preview my video clip library stored on external hard drives.

PMB pushes one clip at a time to the currently open WMM project. I select a clip and use the menu option to open it with Windows Movie Maker.

from PMB

HD sized video clips of any file type are automatically 'prepped' by WMM immediately after being added. WMM makes a lower quality working wmv file (640x360 pixels in the c:\Users\(PapaJohn)\AppData\Local\temp folder) to make the editing process smoother, but uses the original file to maximize the quality of the saved movie. The time taken to do the prepping bothers some users, not me.

Video and Picture Captions - WMM automatically applies captions to video clips and still pictures unless you uncheck the option. The option is about captions applied to pictures and video clips, not file names or other tags.

Video and Picture Captions


Music and other audio files can be added to the extent there's enough room... the sounds will stop at the end of the project's visual content.

Fun Tip... use WMM as your party jukebox

Spice the playback up by showing your personal videos on the video track as the music plays.

Webcam video

If you have a webcam and WMM works with it, you can capture the visual and audio directly into your movie project.

Webcam Options

WMM checks the computer's CPU to decide on the pixel resolution of the captured file. If you're getting clips with a lower 320x240 resolution it's to be sure you end up with smoothly playing clips.

You can change the following registry key value from 0 to 1 to change gears and capture at a resolution of 640x480.... change it back if you find your smoothness is not good enough...

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Movie Maker\WebcamCaptureQualityIndex

Your other option to get higher quality is to use the software that came with the webcam to do the capturing and add the clips to your project.


The snapshot feature makes a .png image file from the frame you're currently at. It's size is the same as the preview window.

If you want a full-frame sized snapshot use MM2.6 and take the snapshot from the clip in the collection bin, not the timeline.

For full frame sized snapshots from my HD1080 video clips, I use Sony's PMB software.

Titles, Captions and Credits

Add as many as you want. Titles and Credits are combos of black images and overlying text clips. Captions go over visual pictures or video clips.