How to Make Movies on a Computer

By Jennifer Claerr

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • A computer

  • Windows Movie Maker

It's easy to make movies on your computer. Windows Movie Maker is an easy to use, free program which typically comes fully installed with the Windows operating system. You can use this program to produce high-quality home movies using photographs or video which you shot yourself.

Take some photographs or shoot some video. Download or digitize your images. If working with still photographs, make sure that you edit your pictures in your favorite image editing software.

Open Windows Movie Maker by selecting Start > Video > Windows Movie Maker. For faster access to the program, place a shortcut on your desktop. If digitizing video, click File > Capture Video in the Windows Movie Maker interface. Select the video capture device. Select Best quality for playback on my computer. The file you create will automatically be placed in your Collections. If you are using a software program other than Windows Movie Maker to digitize your video, make sure that your file has been saved using Windows Media Video format before continuing.

Click File > Import into Collections if you are working with photographs or videos which have been digitized using another software program. Navigate to the location of your saved images or videos. Select the file names and click Import.

Drag your video clips or photographs to the bottom of the screen. Depending on whether you're in Timeline mode or Storyboard mode, this lower section functions differently. Both will allow you to put your video clips and photos into your final production. However, Timeline mode will give you more control over the length of clips, the audio track, and your transitions and effects. You can also add an additional audio track and a title overlay in Timeline mode.

Click Show Timeline above the storyboard if you are in that mode. Click the Tasks button in the toolbar. Click View Video Effects. Add a video effect to any segment you feel needs it. Use caution with video effects, as some of them are very cheesy. The most useful are Fade In, From Black; Fade Out, To Black; Film Age, Old and Older; Grayscale and Sepia Tone. The other effects should generally be avoided.

Click Show Video Transitions. Even greater care should be taken with transitions than with effects. Don't start adding transitions randomly. In most cases, you should stick with the Fade and Dissolve. In some circumstances, you may be able to use the Wipe transitions. It's best to use the same transition throughout your movie, or to use very similar transitions.

Edit the length of your segments in Time line mode by dragging their ends to the right or left. You may also change the length of transitions by altering the way that two segments overlap.

Add any music which you would like in the Audio/Music slot in the timeline. Make any additional adjustments to your edits. It can be very helpful to edit your transitions so that they are in sync with your music track. The audio track will appear with blue bars which become wider or thinner depending on how loud the track is. You can use these to get a general idea where the important points of your music track take place.


Right click on your Audio/Music track and select both Fade In and Fade Out from the menu for a smoother transition. Use the Title Overlay to add opening and ending credits to your movie.


Be sure to save your project frequently to avoid data loss.