How To Make A Promotional Video For Free With Windows Movie Maker

Make A Promotional Video With Windows Movie Maker

So you've decided that it's time to use video to promote your web site or Hub Page, but you don't know where to begin or how to create a video. Well, the good news is that if you use Windows XP or later, you already have the software you need to get the job done! All you need now are some images and some music and you're ready to go.

In this hub I will teach you, step-by-step, how to turn those images into a great looking video that you can use to drive traffic to your website!

You can use videos to promote a site, show step-by-step how-to instructions, give a virtual tour of your services, or share your knowledge and experience on a topic.

Promotional videos are one of the best ways to show off your web site or Hub Page, and they can be created easily by anyone willing to take a little time to learn how to use Windows Movie Maker, a piece of software that is included in Windows XP and Windows Vista.

In this tutorial, I will be using the Windows XP version, but the process is the same for either Windows Vista or Windows XP.

Before You Start

Before you begin this process, try to visualize the video that you want to create. Gather together the images you want to use and arrange them in order, as if you were presenting a slide show. Write some text to display between or over top of the images to give more detail.

If you want to use music in your video, there are two great resources of free music that I recommend. The first is a website called Jamendo. They offer free music in every genre, and the artists who upload their music to the site use the Creative Commons License, and as long as you comply with the restrictions set by the artist the music is free to use in your videos.

The other source I recommend is YouTube's AudioSwap service. After you publish your video to YouTube, click the AudioSwap button and select from any of the large selection of music that YouTube has licensed for use on their site.

Once you have this rough outline put together, you're ready to begin using Windows Movie Maker to create your video!

The Video I Created For This Tutorial

The video model I will use for this tutorial is one I created to promote my hub about How To Speed Up Windows XP.

Below is the actual YouTube video I created using the steps from this tutorial...

Here's The Completed Video

The four area of the screen
The four area of the screen

Let's Get Started!

First, open Windows Movie Maker. You'll see four areas of interest - the Task Area, the Collection Area, the Preview Box and the Timeline.

  • The Task Area lists all of the actions you'll take as you create your video
  • The Collection Area will hold all of your images and audio, as well as list the Transitions and Effects that you can use in your video (more on those later!)
  • The Preview Box is where you can go to see your work in progress, as well as to play your video before creating the final video file
  • The Timeline will give you a visual representation of the pieces of you video as you put everything together and edit it

Import your images
Import your images

The first thing you want to do is gather all the images you want to use in your video. In the Task Area, click the "Import Pictures" link.

Select your images
Select your images

This will open a file dialog box where you can select all of the images you want to use for your video. It's best to add them in the order that you want them to appear in the final product. As you select each image, it will be added to the Collection Area in the order in which you select it.

Import audio
Import audio

Next you'll want to import you music. In the Task Area, click the "Import Audio or Music" link.

Select audio files
Select audio files

Again a dialog box will appear to let you select the audio file you want to use for your video. This will also be shown in the Collection Area along with your images.

Your audio has been added
Your audio has been added

Build Your Video

Add the music

Find the music file in the Collection Area and drag it to middle bar of the Timeline where it says "Audio/Music".

When you drop the audio file there, you'll see the title of the track, as well as a visual representation of the music.

Add a title
Add a title

Create a Title Card

Next you want to add a Title Card to your video. This is the first thing your viewer will see, so use a descriptive title that introduces your video.

Click the "Make Titles or Credits" link in the Task Area to open the Title Selection page.

For this first Title Card, select the "Add title at the beginning of the movie" link.

This will take you to the Title Creation screen. Enter the text of your title, and after a moment you will see a preview in the Preview Box.

At the left of the screen, below the text box, are two options: "Change the animation" and "Change the text font and color". These do just what they say, so if you want to change these click the appropriate link.

See your changes in the Preview Box
See your changes in the Preview Box

Each change you make will be shown in the Preview Box, so play around until you get the look that you want.

When you're finished, click the "Done, add title to movie" link under the text box.

Your title is now the first element of your video in the Timeline.

Add the first image
Add the first image

Add the First Image

From the Collection Area, drag the first image to the Timeline and drop it anywhere after the Title Card. It will now appear immediately following the Title.

To create a Title that appears between the opening Title Card and the image, go to the Task Area and click the "Make Titles or Credits" link again.

Add more titles
Add more titles

This time, select the link that says "Add title before the selected clip in the timeline".

Preview your changes
Preview your changes

This brings up a screen similar to the Title Card screen we used earlier, and it works the same way.

Select the animation and text and font options you want to use and check them out in the Preview Box.

When you're satisfied, click the "Done, add title to move" link.

Your title has been added
Your title has been added

You'll see that the new title has been added to the Timeline between the Title Card and the first image.

Add Text Over The Image

If you want some text to be displayed over the image, click the "Make Titles or Credits" link again, and this time choose the "Add title on the selected clip in the timeline" link.

Preview your changes
Preview your changes

Follow the same steps as before. You may notice that the Preview Box shows a default image instead of the one you're working with - this is okay! The title you create will be displayed over your actual image after you finish by clicking the "Done, add title to move" link.

Your titles have been added
Your titles have been added

Now the title for the text is listed at the bottom of the Timeline, below the image that it is related with.

Repeat these steps for the rest of your images, building your video one piece at a time in the Timeline. At any time, you can press the "Play" button on the Preview Box to see what you've done so far.

Remember to save your work every few minutes by clicking the save icon at the top of the screen!

Add Effects and Transitions to Your Video

Now that you have all of your images and titles in place, it's time to add some special effects and transitions to your video. This part is completely optional - if you like your video just as it is, you can skip this step. But using the effects and transitions can make your video a little more fluid, and thus a little more interesting to your viewers than the basic slide show you have at this point.

"Effects" are visual effects applied to the image itself - like blurring or easing in or out. "Transitions" are effects that occur between images, like a diamond shaped wipe or bars that slide across the screen as the image changes.

Switch to Storyboard mode
Switch to Storyboard mode

To add Effects and Transitions, first change the Timeline to the Storyboard view. Click the "Show Storyboard" button right above the Timeline.

Next, go to the Task Area and click the "View video effects" link. Now a list of Effects will appear in the Collection Area. To preview an effect, click on it and look at the Preview Box to see what the effect does.

Add Effects
Add Effects

Add Effects

When you find one that you want to use, drag it to the Star in the lower left corner of the image on the Storyboard. You can scroll through the images and use whatever effects you choose on each image.

Add Transitions
Add Transitions

Add Transitions

If you want to add Transitions, the process is very much the same. Click the "View video transitions" link in the Task Area and a list of transitions will appear in the Collection Area.

Instead of dragging and dropping these to the star, drop them in the box between the images.

Once you're satisfied with the Effects and Transitions that you've added, click the "Show Timeline" button above the Timeline.

To restore your list of images, go to the Task Area and click the "Show collections" link.

Add End Cradits
Add End Cradits

Add Ending Credits

If you want to add End Credits to your video, click the "Make Titles or Credits" link again, and this time choose the "Add credits to the end of the movie" link.

This time a slightly different text box appears. The top line of text will remain fixed at the top of the screen, while the two columns below scroll along like the end credits in a movie. Again you can play around with animations and text color and font until you're satisfied.

Click "Done, add title to movie" link when your finished to return to the Timeline.

Final Edits

If you want to fine tune the individual elements of your video, you can control the length of each "clip" be dragging the slider at the far right of each clip. When you click on a clip, you'll notice a little triangle at the right-most border. By dragging this left or right you can shorten or lengthen each clip.

For example, if you preview your video and notice that the music keeps playing even after all of the images have been shown, it's because your music clip is longer than your video! If you look at the end of Timeline, the end of the music clip is not in line with the end of the vidio clip.

To fix this, drag the slider at the end of the music clip to the left until it aligns with the end of the video clip.

On the other hand, if the music ends a few seconds before the video, you can adjust the length of the image clips slightly until everything ends on time...

One Last Preview

At this point it's a good idea to watch the video one last time before creating the final output file.

If you're happy with your results, it's time to create the final cut of your masterpiece!

Finish your video
Finish your video

Last Step!

In the Task Area, click the "Save to my computer" link.

This will open a wizard where you can select a name and location for your video, as well as the output format you want. Enter the name and click "Next"

On the next screen, select the "Best quality for playback on my computer" option at the top, then click "Next" to finish creating your video.

The screen will show a progress bar that lets you know how long it will take to render your final product.

Once it's done, click "Finish" and watch your end result!

Now you can upload the video to YouTube or your website...

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Comments 13 comments

englightenedsoul profile image

englightenedsoul 6 years ago

Really good and informative hub. You explained it in a way detailed and comprehensive way. Rated up!!

Edweirdo profile image

Edweirdo 6 years ago from United States Author

Thanks enlightenedsoul - I'm glad you liked it :D

Zack 6 years ago

Great 'how to' and practical steps! It's nice to see there are others out there who can explain information for everyone else who's intimidated by the technology of computers and equipment!

thooghun profile image

thooghun 6 years ago from Rome, Italy

An excellent hub, well done. Its good to see such content flourish on hubpages.

johneee profile image

johneee 6 years ago from San Jose, CA

What an awesome hub. Gonna use this one when the time is right

Edweirdo profile image

Edweirdo 6 years ago from United States Author

@thoogun and @johneee - thanks for stopping by!

copywriter31 profile image

copywriter31 6 years ago from Port Neches

My god! One would need to take a speed reading class to decipher the steps in your video. When producing a "how-to" video, SLOW DOWN! Do you honestly believe viewers are going to reach for their pen an paper to take notes? Even if they did, no way they could follow this maddening pace!

Edweirdo profile image

Edweirdo 6 years ago from United States Author

@copywriter - the video is not meant to be instructional. It's not a "how-to" video! It is a "promotional" video that ends with a link to a website.

The notion of a promotional video is to drive traffic to a website, not to provide exhaustive info ;)

Thanks for visiting!

johnyater profile image

johnyater 6 years ago from Hamilton, Ohio

Edweirdo, another great hub! I just came from your other hub on making a video with Picasa. In your opinion, which is better? Thanks...

Edweirdo profile image

Edweirdo 6 years ago from United States Author

@johnyater - I like both, but Windows Movie Maker is a little more versatile in terms of transitions and effects!

FYI, I use an older version that came with Windows XP, so can't vouch for the newer releases of WMM...

Kev 6 years ago

Wish I'd found this hub a week ago, maybe you should promote it with a video. LOL

Good stuff thanks.

profile image

nikashi_designs 5 years ago

Excellent Hub - It is surprising that most people don't use even a quarter of the tools on their computers. Movie maker if used with photo editing software is very powerful. Have made some pretty creative movies with it.

GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

Loved this Hub! Hated the music in your video but the content as usual is excellent! Thank you!

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