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Use free software to edit a video (with giveaway!)

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This page is part of Extension Quick Bytes, online technology enrichment for Extension employees. Learn more about this series here!

What

Making a quick (but effective) video is so super easy, if you haven't done it yet you will be simply amazed. And I bet you already have almost everything you need! 

The video we posted here recently touring our new Extension Technology offices was made entirely with an iPhone and the free video editing software, Windows Movie Maker. We'll show you how! Plus there's a GIVEAWAY at the end!!!!

Why

Showing a video is a quick and easy way to engage, entertain, and educate. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a kajillion. Right? Informal video can be a very effective vehicle for your information. I was just at a conference where the speaker showed a video of kids answering questions about her as an example of how she introduces herself to her online classroom. What an awesome idea! I'm totally stealing that.

How

All you need is a video camera of some sort (Kodak, Flip, phone, whatever), and Windows Movie Maker.


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When you are installing, it wants to put all of the "Windows Live Essentials" on, but we don't really need all that crappola, so select the option to Choose the programs you want to install.

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Then just check Photo Gallery and Movie Maker from the list.

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Voila! You have an entirely decent movie editor on your computer. 

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From here it is as simple as dragging and dropping. Then a little fiddle here, a little fiddle there, and you have your video.

I would like to say here that I urge you not to make this too complicated. This is an informal video to either share something visual with your audience, or to connect with them. It's not a marketing piece or something we're putting on DVD and selling. Don't get hung up on making it perfect.

When you are happy with your video, you can export it directly from Windows Movie Maker to Youtube, Facebook, Vimeo, or to an mp4 to upload directly to some other program. I recommend using the High Definition settings (1080p) if available, because HD videos look super crisp and streaming sites (like YouTube and Vimeo) can always downgrade the quality for slower connections. They can't upgrade it though.

On the fly...
Along the lines of not making it perfect, imagine the possibilities of on-the-fly video. Field reports, interviews, feedback. If you have a smartphone and buy a movie editing app to use on it, you can do this quite simply! As a completely unprofessional example, here are my two girls eating ice cream--I recorded, edited, added music, and uploaded this before they finished their ice cream, all just using an old iPhone. Kachow!
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Home Depot uses this on-the-fly philosophy by empowering their employees to answer questions on the Home Depot forums using quick, informal videos. Check out my favorite example!

Music...
If you would like to add music to your video, a great place to start is this page Legal Music For Videos.

Assignment

  1. Think of some uses for video in your work, share on one of our discussion channels (comment below, twitter, google+, or facebook). Or share a particularly interesting use of video that you've seen!
  2. [Optional but strongly encouraged!] Download Windows Movie Maker. Take some video and play around with it.

But Wait there's MORE!

Every University of Minnesota Extension-affiliated employee who leaves a comment below, or via twitter (use tag #ExtQuickBytes), facebook, or google+ during the time period August 13-August 21, 2012 will be entered to win this fabulous prize--a super cool meeting notepad! You can use this to impress your coworkers. I know I would be very impressed.

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4 Comments

busch206 Author Profile Page said:

I'm an intern currently working for the NWRSDP out of U of M Extension in Crookston. I have completed quite a few video editing projects over the summer, and all of them have been done absolutely free with Windows Live Movie Maker.

Here is the URL of the NWRSDP's YouTube channel, if anyone is interested in viewing some of the videos that can be created with Movie Maker (I recommend the video on Backyard Poultry):

http://www.youtube.com/user/NorthwestRSDP

Just yesterday, I held a tutorial session called "Video Editing on a Zero-Dollar Budget" to introduce other University employees to Movie Maker. However, I was taken by surprise because on August 7th, Windows Live Movie Maker was replaced with Windows Movie Maker, so just to let everyone know, the link to the Microsoft site contains a newer version of the software I used to edit the videos you'll find on YouTube.

Another tip: I've found that royalty-free music provides a very good means of spicing up any video. I get all my jingles from the URL below. I love it because it's free, and you can sort the music by its "feel" or multiple "feels."

http://incompetech.com/m/c/royalty-free/

I don't mean to leave too long of a comment, but I hope this helps you all!

busch206 Author Profile Page said:

Oh, yes, and one thing I found out the hard way:

If you want to keep audio of the video file while replacing the visual component with a picture (for example, keeping a speaker's voice going but replacing their image with that of a PowerPoint slide), this cannot be done by Windows Live Movie Maker, and you will need to download an older version called Windows Movie Maker 2.6. It's also free and available at this link:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34

I recommend editing your video in the newer Movie Maker, then publishing your video, and importing that into WMM 2.6 if you need to add still images while keeping the video's audio.

I made a video using still photos about a project, and adding a fun music track. But, I ran into a problem when I tried to save (or render) the movie. The saved movie file does not show the photos. Do you have any advice?

Amy Baker Author Profile Page said:

Thanks for the great comments! I especially loved the music link! Thanks!

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