Windows Movie Maker: frequently asked questions


Saving movies

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Windows Movie Maker in Windows XP. If you have a specific question, you might find the answer in the Windows XP Forums on the Microsoft Answers website.

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When I save a movie from Movie Maker to a tape in a digital video camera, why are there small patches of blue in my video?

This happens when your computer can't send the movie to your camera fast enough. When the camera is waiting for more video from your computer, it adds the blue frames. To solve this problem, try the following:

  • Close any other programs that are running before you save your movie to a digital video tape. Programs that need to access the hard drive could slow down your computer when you're saving your movie.

  • Defragment your hard drive. When you save your movie to a digital video tape, Movie Maker creates a temporary DV-AVI file that eventually gets sent back to your camera. Movie Maker will try to use the largest unfragmented space available in your temporary location. For information about how to defragment your hard drive, go to the Microsoft Support website.

  • Make sure you're using a fast, internal hard drive that has a speed of 7200 RPM or higher.

  • Make sure the temporary storage location is located on an NTFS partition (uncompressed) rather than FAT32. For information about how to convert the partition from FAT32 to NTFS, go to the Microsoft Support website.

When I save a movie to a tape in my digital video camera, why are the first few seconds of my video missing?

This problem occurs if a digital video camera does not start quickly enough when saving a movie to a digital video tape in Movie Maker. In this situation, Movie Maker begins sending the video to the camera before the camera is ready to begin recording to the tape. As a result, the first few seconds of the movie are not recorded to the video tape. You can work around this issue by adding a title page to the beginning of your movie that appears for several seconds. To learn how to do this, see Add titles and credits to your movie.

Why does Movie Maker stop responding, or "hang," when I'm saving a movie?

This is caused by a combination of having a complex storyboard (which might include many images, video effects, video transitions, and video) and an insufficient amount of memory on your computer. You can work around this issue by removing some effects or transitions, or by saving your movie in different pieces.

What can I do if Movie Maker stops responding at about 58 percent when I try to save a movie to a CD using Movie Maker?

To try to solve this problem, you can save the movie using a setting other than the Best fit for recordable CD (recommended) setting in the Save Movie Wizard. On the Movie Setting page, click Show more choices. In the Other settings list, click Video for local playback (1.5 Mbps), click Next, and following the instructions. If you continue having problems, click Video for LAN (1.0 Mbps), and then click Next.

Why do I keep getting an error message that says a recordable CD drive was not detected when saving a movie to a CD using Movie Maker?

This can be a result of having third-party CD-writing software installed that does not work properly with the CD-writing functionality of Windows XP, or having a recordable CD that has already been written to. To solve this problem, try one of the following:

  • If you have an HP DVD+R/+RW DVD writer installed on your computer, the HP Direct Letter Access (DLA) driver might be installed on your computer. You can turn off DLA, which should let you successfully save your movie to a recordable CD. For more information about how to turn off DLA, go to the Microsoft Support website.

  • Verify that the CD was not already written to using a third-party CD-writing program. Movie Maker expects a CD to have a Joliet (mode 2) disc format. However, some CD-writing programs write discs using a different format. To solve the problem, insert a new, blank recordable CD, and then choose Joliet (mode 2) when originally writing to the CD using third-party CD-writing programs.

Why can't I send a movie as an attachment in an e‑mail message?

If you can't successfully save and send a movie in e‑mail by using Send in e‑mail in Movie Maker, try one of the following:

  • If your default e‑mail program is not installed correctly or does not support Message Application Programming Interface (MAPI), set Outlook Express as the default e‑mail program.

  • If an error message indicates that the video file is too large to send in e‑mail, reduce the size of your movie by reducing the amount of video or audio on the storyboard. Or, you can increase the file-size limit for sending a movie in e‑mail as an attachment.

What can I do if the video in my movie plays unevenly?

If you saved your movie using one of the DV-AVI movie settings, the movie might play back unevenly on a slower computer. Save the movie using Windows Media Video (WMV) format instead. If you saved a movie as a WMV file and the video plays back unevenly, try the following:

  • Reduce the amount of transitions or effects on the storyboard in Movie Maker, and then try saving the movie again. Many transitions and effects can result in dropped frames in the saved movie, which degrades the quality of the movie.

  • Save the movie using a movie setting that has a smaller display size. For example, rather than saving the movie in the Save Movie Wizard with a movie setting that displays video at 640 x 480 pixels, choose a movie setting that displays video at 320 x 240 pixels.

  • Choose a movie setting that uses variable bit rate (VBR), which can increase the smoothness in the video. On the Movie Setting page, click Show more choices. In the Other settings list, click High quality video (large), click Next, and follow the instructions. If you continue having problems, click High quality video (small), and then click Next.

What can I do if I saved a movie in Movie Maker that includes an imported Microsoft Photo Story, and the resulting movie appears black?

This might occur if the Photo Story you imported into Movie Maker was saved at a higher display setting, such as 1024 x 768 pixels.

To save a movie that includes a Photo Story

  1. In Photo Story, save your story with a setting that has a smaller display size, such as 640 x 480 pixels.

  2. Import the resulting Photo Story into Movie Maker.

  3. Add the Photo Story to the storyboard in Movie Maker, edit it (if necessary), and then try saving the movie again.

What can I do if my saved movie contains solid black frames for a portion of the video?

To work around this problem, try one of the following:

  • Verify that you have the latest version of Microsoft DirectX End-User Runtime installed on your computer. To download the latest version of Microsoft DirectX End-User Runtime, go to the Microsoft Download Center.

  • Remove some of the video transitions or effects from the storyboard, and then try saving the movie again.

  • Keep the transitions and effects on the storyboard, but save the movie in pieces as several smaller DV-AVI files. You can then import the saved AVI files into Movie Maker, add them to the storyboard, and save it as one movie file.

How can I improve the quality of a movie that I want to send as an attachment in an e‑mail?

You can improve the quality of your saved movie when you choose Send in e‑mail by increasing the maximum e‑mail attachment file-size limit in Movie Maker. To learn how to increase the maximum attachment size, see Send your movie by e‑mail.

Can I save my movie by using a movie setting that is not listed in the Save Movie Wizard?

Yes, you can create your own movie settings and use them to save your movie in Movie Maker. To create your own movie settings, you can use the Windows Media Profile Editor, which is installed with Windows Media Encoder 9 Series. To download Windows Media Encoder 9 Series, go to the Microsoft Download Center.