Thoughts on Windows Live Movie Maker (1st version)

Based on the first looks of WLMM, I’m just not liking the direction it’s heading so far. Even though it’s a beta (though it should be an alpha), and it’s really something different, I think the current version is just cruddy and shouldn’t have been released. Period.


There’s only a few positive things I like about it, more on the concept of WLMM actually, rather than it’s current condition:

1) Microsoft’s will give WMM a big update, and now it’ll be constantly updated – Even though the simple apps built into Windows Vista are nice, they never get updated. Not unless a security issue arises, then Microsoft won’t do a thing to give updates to it, until either the next service pack or the next OS release. Also, hopefully as the beta continues, more new features will show up that weren’t previously in WMM before, or at least features got enhancements.

2) The ribbon/fluent interface – I love how it’s applied in Office 2007, and can’t wait to see how Microsoft implements the ribbon interface into other apps. Though I agree with some people that the Ribbon interface isn’t applicable for every application (only for things that require a lot of commands), that doesn’t mean it’s unusable elsewhere.

However, after reading the team blog, I’m not happy about how the team is going about WLMM so far. Here’s what I really wish the WLMM team could do by final release:

1) Fix up the Ribbon interface Add an Insert tab to insert items (instead of the Home tab), contextual menus for quick picture editing, text formatting (in titles, descriptions, etc.), . Bring back the original Orb button and dynamic zoom bar, have ScreenTips, Keytips, Live Preview and Mini Toolbar working, and give the player more WMP-like controls (such as stop, FFW, RW, volume, fullscreen etc.).

2) Add more features – I would love for more types of fancy graphical effects, more transition and background styles, larger font library, real video enhancements (contrast, brightness, exposure, saturation, etc.), real color and audio controls per specified clips, among other things to get the best experience out of it. Also, a better way to view parts of a video instead of ugly fragmented clips, a better voiceover feature, and overall think of it like this : I want as much iMovie-like functionality that Microsoft can give for free. Maybe even more.

3) Search box! – A search box is desperately needed. You know, a dynamic search box to quickly find projects, video files, and all sort instantly as you type.

4) Timeline/Storyboard – I’ll reiterate this again : There needs to be a timeline or storyboard to easily puts items into a sequence. They just need to revamp the timeline so that it’s more easier to smoothly insert something between two clips (graphically plopping a clip right in), offer an enhanced view of the strip (dynamic zoom?), easily establish audio and color control over portions of the clips you choose, hover over sections of the video and see a live video thumbnail play, more WMP-like controls for the video player, a ‘filmstrip’ view of seeing thumbnails in a clip rather than one thumbnail, among other things to help make it more easier to work with the timeline instead of killing it altogether. Also, the ability to have a show/hide button extended on the pane would make it much easier to deal with. I like having the idea of the Timeline/Storyboard in a separate, than tabs on the ribbon.

5) More file support – I’m tired of everything you export when you’re finished is in WMV. WLMM is sort of working on this, I guess. Put more file support (MP4, MOV, etc.) for working with and exporting would be great.

6) XP SP2/SP3 support – Even though XP is going to have less support from Microsoft as we head into the future, I just think it’d be really nice to give XP SP2/SP3 users at least the final version of WLMM. Then drop support completely for upcoming versions of WLMM.

Well that’s pretty much the tip of the iceberg there. So here’s my formula on how MS should make Windows Live Movie Maker : Lots of great functionality + Great (Ribbon) interface + FREE = A wonderful product that people will rave and talk about, and download and use.

That’s the most I could hope for in a free video editor, or almost any product that utilizes this formula. Give people more power for free Microsoft. That’s what people want.


9 thoughts on “Thoughts on Windows Live Movie Maker (1st version)

  1. I agree, this probably shouldn\’t have been released. More features are definitely a must. There\’s only two tabs on the ribbon right now.But I\’m liking the new sky blue look of Windows Live a lot, and it\’s great that they actually extended it into the software. Plus the final version had better switch out that ugly file button to the orb…

  2. Great points, as usual. The Orb definitelys needs to come back! The Quick Access Toolbar squashed on the title bar between the program icon and title looks ridiculous. I too, hope for other elements of the Office Ribbon to make it here. More features of course, would give me a reason not to buy something better. Why they released this as a beta, is beyond me.

  3. This is a great write-up.  I think you\’ll end up very happy with the new direction if I\’m reading all of this right – what you\’re seeing is a very early version of the product.  Rebuilding an engine and user interface is a huge task, but once it\’s done it can pay serious dividends down the line.  So stay tuned! 😉

  4. Thanks Mike. I can only hope for the best. Like I said, I know it\’s still way too early to put so much judgement, but I just hope things will get far better than what they released.

  5. Well it has like 4 effects. Really even for a beta that is pathetic And no timeline?! The bar thing is hard to adjust the time you want to cut the video right. I wanted to get the video split at exactly 10:59 which is hard to do because of the retarded slide bar thing makes it very difficult to get it to exactly 10:59. You need to at least be able to type in a time to split the video. The publishing thing works really well and has really good video but it is way too hard to split the video at an exact time. I will not use the windows live movie maker until this feature is added where I can either view a time line or type a exact time to split the video. And the txt thing kinda stinks right now too. It puts your txt on the video from start to finsih. You need to be able to select a time for the txt to be on the video and then disappear. This would be a really nice feature. I like the fact that you can put the txt directly on the video but I only want it there for like 10 seconds or so. Not throughout the entire video.

  6. Person Person is absolutely right, AND you can\’t make titles just text boxes and I installed windows 7 (no regular movie maker) and I make videos on youtube ( and I just cannot make a video on windows 7 because its impossible with 4 effects and 4 transitions and NO titlesIt took a day of searching to find it and it absolutely sucks. If I\’m lucky Microsoft will make an update to make it good very soon. If anybody has any good suggestions for a free movie maker like wmm in vista email me the link at

  7. This Program Sucks Balls!I don\’t normally comment on bad programs but this is just pathetic.1. No timeline, you cant edit clips properly without a timeline.2. No features, there is 3 transitions, there should be at least 30.3. When editing video clips you can\’t here your music that you put in line with it. How are you supposed to time your video with music?4. No storyboard, the new interface is good for people who don\’t know how to make movies with a timeline/storyboard, but it is the most useless thing for everybody else.5. AutoMovie is USELESS it completely messed up my movie, I see people who are just making a slideshow using it, but it should never be used for video clips.Bottom Line: This program should have never been released it is the most useless thing I have ever used. I hope Microsoft fixes it for the final release.

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