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Windows Live Movie Maker Review

The WLMM interface is remarkably clean and basic, at first glance. A preview pane on the left is accompanied by a Storyboard view on the right. There is no traditional Timeline view, which may be a hindrance for those (like myself) who are used to the Timeline workflow.

The main menu interface is based on the Office 2007 “Ribbon” design, and works well enough. Since there are not many features available in WLMM, this keeps the interface clean and logical – with all options well within grasp.

The preview pane present on the left is as simple as imaginable. It is just a preview window, a seek bar, a pause button, and two frame browsers. You can browse frame-by-frame, but there are no timecodes – just MM:SS designations.

To the right of the preview pane lies the main working area – where each clip of footage is represented in storyboards. The individual clips are sized proportionately to their durations (there is a minimum size, however). The previews within the storyboard are called thumbnails, as expected, and these thumbnails are available in 5 sizes – in order to fit more footage in one page, or larger thumbnails for greater visibility. In addition to the seek bar on the preview window, a seek bar is available within the thumbnails, so you can select a particular area in your project for previewing. There’s a zoom option also available, which stretches out each clip over the working area. So, you can have the entire page covered by only a few seconds of footage – offering much more control over the thumbnail seek bar.

Music can be added to the storyboard view and appears as a bar right above the thumbnails. The thumbnail seek bar extends to the music bar as well. Pictures are also added as storyboards.

Overall, the WLMM interface is clean, basic and smart – and the storyboard view works surprisingly well for beginners. The lack of a more detailed Timeline view will be scoffed at by more experienced editors – but it is clear right from the first glance that WLMM is only targeted at home users.

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