• On the journey to Windows Live Movie Maker, a magical rebirth

    Posted on November 20th, 2009 Maky | No comments

    Even since its introduction in Windows Me, Windows Movie Maker has been a default component of the following Windows versions until the latest Windows 7. Rather than detached from the system, it is completely rebuilt from the core. With an orderly name, Windows Live Movie Maker is now available in Windows Live package along with Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Mail. Note that the program is no longer expected to run on Windows XP, because it is based on advanced technology brought in by Vista. For better or worse, it is good to see the Phoenix gain a new life after death.

    Here we are going to look into how Windows Live Movie Maker is different from the old Movie Maker.

    Firstly, the program’s UI is reorganized and polished. If we put them side by side, the harsh and intimidating look of the old Movie Maker is absolutely not an eye candy, just for the first glimpse. Most users including me who are new to the movie maker will undoubtedly fancy a steep learning course of making a movie. The timeline view is the biggest contributing factor. It is bad to greet home users, the main user group of the program, with too much professionalism at the startup. So inside Windows Live Movie Maker, the timeline is totally "gone".

    In fact, the new movie maker has introduced an innovatively friendly style in place of timeline, which I am going to review later. The preview window is logically resized compared to the one in the old version stuffing in the place as if it shouldn’t be there. And if you are familiar with Office 2007, you must be amazed at the elegant Ribbon menu, which has now been implemented in Windows Live Movie Maker as well. The overall impression is intuitive, reasonable and comfortable, not to mention the visual stun brought by the system’s Aero effect.


    comparison between home layouts

    Secondly, we often care much about how to begin using the program and how we may expect from the program. And Windows Live Movie Maker does seem nothing like the old maker. In the old maker, the first thing we do is create a new project and then import videos. To edit the video, we have to drag them onto the timeline. The thumbnail of the video will immediately resize to the scale of its time length, which is fine for people who want to align the videos and audios as they would like it to work as it looks. What about Windows Live Movie Maker on the right hand side?


    comparison between video imports

    If you are puzzled at how the videos can be edit without a timeline, you should be pleased you are no longer going to deal with one too long to go without a scroll bar in company. Instead of arranging the videos on linear timeline, Windows Live Movie Maker gives a smooth and distinct look of the videos on the storyboard with regular size thumbnails. As you can see, this arranging style goes way more complete and natural than the scrollable timeline, and it spares quite a large space to add in more sources. With the same amount of video clips, the old movie make can’t cater to more without scroll bars, and that inevitably creates a stifling view. In contrary, Windows Live Movie Maker stays fine with its space saving style.


    comparison between Storyboards

    Thirdly, this is where I am going to review how the concept of timeline is reflected in Windows Live Movie Maker. In the old version, if we want to stretch the thumbnail on the timeline, we use the magnifier. The same in the new maker is an intuitive zooming slide bar as is marked at the bottom right. As you move the slider, you can zoom in or out on the thumbnail smoothly. The width of the thumbnail will change according to its time length. So you can easily judge the clips based on its relative length.


    comparison between zoom features

    Note than you can benefit from the new layout. It is usually troublesome to shuffle a clip to a new place in the old maker, because the clips are so compacted together and you may lose the idea of which video you are actually picking at. As is shown in the comparison below, I think you may prefer the more distinct and accurate way featured in Windows Live Movie Maker. This is the reason and result for the remake of the program, to become friendlier in user experience.


    comparison between video reorderings

    Fourthly, in terms of transition effect, instead of all or nothing approach, the new maker only display the most commonly used ones on the Ribbon. It means the program could smartly understand the user’s habit and automatically alter itself to go with it. Just one of the merits the Ribbon possesses.


    comparison between transition effects

    It could hardly deny the significant renovation does bestow a new life on this popular household movie maker. I am not saying bad words against the old maker. It remains the best choice for simple movie making at home on Windows XP and previous systems. Windows Live Movie Maker is a tribute only to Windows 7 and Vista, so you have to upgrade your system before taste the magical rebirth of the beloved movie maker.

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