My son likes to create stop motion animation with Lego and having used Windows Movie Maker on previous incarnations of Windows, including XP and Vista, we was surprised to find it lacking on a recent purchase of Windows 7. For unknown reasons Microsoft has decided to cull this incredibly practical program from the basic installation and made it an optional download. Perhaps they want more hits on their website?
To download the latest version of Windows Movie Maker, its recommended by Microsoft that you download Windows Live Suite. What you get is a slimmed down version of the old Movie Maker but for simple animations this is all you need (for serious users try Movie Maker version 2.6). Install, have a look around and then get ready to animate.
As I mentioned previously, my son likes to create stop motion Lego animation so that is the context in which I will explain how to create animation with this version of Movie Maker. After taking the images with your camera import them into Windows and save somewhere handy.
Then open Windows Movie Maker and select Home tab (should already be default selection) then choose Add Videos and Photos. By clicking on the first image for your animation and then pressing Shift and clicking on the last image for your animation you will be able to import all the images at once. Not only that but they will be put in the order you took them.
Then press play. Chances are your images will each play for about 5 seconds each. This is great for a slideshow of travel snaps but not so good for moving still image frames so they seem to move for animation.
Using the same Click/Shift-Click method mentioned above, now select all your images as they appear in the window beside the screen that plays the video. Now select the Edit tab and goto the Duration box. The drop down menu will give you a selection of duration for each frame, starting at one second. That’s way too long for us but fortunately you can specify lower amounts. I put in 0.10 as the duration.
Now you can add a title to the animation by selecting your first frame and using the Home tab’s Title and Caption options. Use the Visual Effects tab to fade into your first animation frame to get things moving smoothly and then do the same to the end of the animation.
Adding music is a breeze. Simply return to the Home tab, select Add Music and then select the MP3 of choice. Save your project often, especially if it’s a big file. Then to create your movie file, select the Publish options by clicking the icon in the top right corner of the screen. You can also choose to publish instantly to Youtube or save in various formats.
Creating simple stop motion animations with Windows 7 is easy and fast. With the new streamlined Windows Movie Maker kids can start their movie career with a few clicks.