Microsoft's Windows Live Movie Maker: For Once, a Decent Sequel
Today's column says some nice things about Microsoft's new Windows Live Movie Maker, a successor to the company's once-unimpressive video-editing software. It's easy enough to get started in; it provides a good toolkit to organize and dress up photo slideshows and home movies; and most important of all, it offers a good choice of output options, including direct uploads to YouTube. I think Microsoft has learned a thing or two from its past misadventures in this category and deserves a little credit here.
What I can't be so sure about this program -- a free download for Window Vista and 7, but not XP -- is whether people will spend any serious time discovering Movie Maker's editing features.
The unpleasant reality of home movie-making is that even with fast, easy software, it takes an inordinate amount of time. A lot of users can't be bothered to make that investment, and so developers have had to adjust their expectations. Instead of shipping software built for the dedicated home videographer -- the person who shoots hours of footage on a camcorder and wants to assemble it into an hour-long production before burning it to a DVD -- the typical video-editing application these days assumes that the user just wants to clean up a five or 10-minute clip, add a title and throw it on the Web. Or the user may not even feed any video into the software, instead turning a batch of still photos into an animated slideshow.
Apple's iMovie reflected this shift when Apple rewrote it as part of its iLife '08 multimedia suite, doing away with many of the old version's features while adding simple YouTube upload options (though this year's edition restored some of those old capabilities).
But the success of Pure Digital's Flip camcorders (and similar models from such vendors as Kodak), with their built-in software that does little more than let you crop your clips and throw them on the Web, provides an even more dramatic demonstration of this shift in home movie-making.
Do you agree with this trend, are you worried that home movie-making has been dumbed down -- or have you yet to do any video editing at all on a computer? Share your thoughts in the comments...
August 28, 2009; 12:01 PM ET
Categories: Video , Windows
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