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What equipment do I need to use Windows Movie Maker?

There is no better time to start capturing and creating video memories. A video captures more emotion and interaction than a few photographs could ever convey. New video cameras have greatly improved providing better lighting and image stabilisation technology.

With Windows Movie Maker you can now edit your own videos quickly and easily. To begin editing, Fireview Media suggests the following equipment:

  • Computer with digital video input from your video camera
  • Digital or MiniDV digital video camera
  • MiniDV tapes if you are using a MiniDV video camera
  • Windows Movie Maker software
  • Wire and port to transfer video to computer (e.g. i.Link port also known as FireWire)

Other accessories that you may find useful for the computer and video camera include:

  • Tripod to create still, crisp videos
  • Wide-angle lens
  • Spare camera battery for longer filming sessions
  • Camera light or external light for indoor shots
  • External hard drive to backup and store your video data
  • DVD burner to make a final production of your video or for backup

What are the computer requirements for Windows Movie Maker for Windows XP?

Windows Movie Maker was also included with Microsoft Windows Me and Vista, which will have different system requirements. The system requirements for Windows XP are:

Processor600 MhzAny modern processor within last 3 years
Memory128MB RAM512MB - 1GB
Hard Disk2GB20GB+
Operating SystemXP with service pack 2XP with service pack 2
Connectioni.Link/Firewire/IEEE 1394i.Link/Firewire/IEEE 1394

How do I import video to use with Windows Movie Maker?

You have two main options for importing video into your Windows Movie Maker storyboard. More commonly, you will need to import the video from your video camera. In this case you can select the menu option to Capture Video from the camera, scanner or other device. Alternatively, you can Import Into Collections to select a video or sound file that is already on your computer.

  • Supported file formats: Windows Movie Maker supports the following file formats: .MPG (MPEG-1), .AVI, .WMV, .ASF, .WMA, .WAV and .MP3. Some Windows Vista versions of Windows Movie Maker also support MPEG-2. Other common file type such as .MOV, .FLV, .MP4, .AAC and .SWF are not supported.
  • Make Clips: When importing your video it is recommended that you select the option that states “Make Clips on Completion”. This will mean that the software will then present you with a collection of smaller clips instead of one long video clip. A new clip will be created each time the record button was pressed on the video camera. In Windows Movie Maker for Vista this option has been removed and the software will automatically split the video into smaller clips.
  • Import Efficiently: If there is not one continuous space on your hard disk for the video file then you may notice playback being jerky. You can reduce this problem by defragmenting the drive on which the video is stored. Alternatively, a great solution is to use a dedicated, external disk drive that you regularly format or defragment. The disk drive can then be stored in a safe place.

    We do recommend having at least 2 copies of the original video, which are stored in different locations. The computer hard drive may permanently fail or could be stolen and once the video is gone those video memories may well be lost forever.
  • Transfer Quality: Some cameras will support video capture via USB. However, older cameras may only support the USB-1 format, which will result in a capture quality less than that of VHS! Newer cameras will support USB-2, which will provide a much better video quality. However, if possible, use a FireWire interface as this will result in the imported video quality being the same as that captured by the video camera. You should note that video captured at this quality will take up about 12GB of hard disk for every 1 hour of recording. This is another reason why we recommend using a dedicated external hard disk drive.

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