I recently helped my middle-school son complete a project and want to share what I learned from the process. There are two primary tools you’ll need to create a nice DVD movie: 

  • Windows Live Movie Maker, which you can download here, and
  • Windows DVD Maker, which comes with Windows 7.

Import and Create Video

The very first step is to import a video from your camcorder or USB drive or any media where it is stored. You can find plenty of information about how to create a video here.

Mix Audio

Another step may be necessary if you want to add music and mix or override existing audio/music on the video clip. One challenge you may encounter is that only limited audio file formats are supported. See a screenshot below.

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For example, if you want to use the audio from another video file (wmv or avi), you realize that you are out of luck. The previous versions of Windows Movie Maker supported more audio formats. So, the workaround is to find a conversion tool that can convert your source file to wma, mp3, wav or any other format that the movie maker supports.

If your audio source is a Youtube video, there is a nice, free tool – Tiny Youtube Converter that you can use to convert a Youtube video to an mp3 file. Problem solved.

One handy audio mixing feature is that you can adjust and balance the volume between the video clip and the audio clip: as you move the adjusting bar toward right, the audio volume picks up, and vice versa.

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Create a DVD

The last step is to create a DVD movie. Whether you have a short and sweet video or a long video, you will need a DVD; CD is not supported. If you choose Save Movie | Burn a DVD from the main menu, you basically get two things done at one step: create/encode a video/movie and then create a DVD. You will have a chance to choose some options for the DVD. See detail here.

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Or, you can create a video/movie first. Then launch Windows DVD Maker, import the video and choose options there. Knowing there are two separate steps/tools helps you save time.

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I should point out that you can choose different menu styles. Whichever option you choose, you will be amazed at how easy it is to create a decent home-made movie. Try it!

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