Microsoft released, finally, the new Windows Live Movie Maker. I must say, the final version is far and away better than the previous beta releases, but not quite as nice as the Vista version. This version has a few things that the Vista version did not have, but lacks many of the features from the Vista version. For examples, there’s no way (at least, none I’ve found) to put the titles on the video or photos. In the Vista release (and all prior releases,) you could mix the titles and your content and overlay them, display the video in a box, like a newscast, or squeeze the video for scrolling credits. None of that is in this version.
That’s not to say this version is bad or lacking. Instead, it seems that Microsoft has focused on ease of use and quickly putting together a nice and short video. There is an automovie feature will takes your content and assembles it with a soundtrack if you have one, titles, credits, captions, transitions and, if you include photos, animation and special effects. It does this very quickly. The result is very pleasing and requires little work to polish up. You have to supply the credits, titles and captions, of course, but this is a relatively simple thing to do.
There are many ways to share the end product. There’s a YouTube selection which creates an HD (720p) video and then uploads it to your YouTube account. There’s a DVD options, three HD options (480p, 720p and 1080p) as well as mobile device output and, finally, an email/blog/web version. The last one is probably the lowest quality of all of the options. Even so, it still looks pretty decent, provided your source material was of good quality.
It’s obvious that Microsoft was going after the ultra casual videographer here. Power users will want something better. However, if you need to put together something quick that looks reasonably nice, this tool will definitely fit the bill. I’ll have more to say about it once I’ve put it through its paces. Stay tuned!