Overview: Editing digital video

Do you want to make your old and new home movies more interesting to watch? Editing them on your computer can help you remove the unwanted parts and add interesting titles and visual effects, so you don't have to worry about fast-forwarding through your movies again.

If you're new to editing video on your computer and want to get started right away, Windows Movie Maker comes in many editions of Windows Vista, and it offers what you need to make great movies quickly on your computer. Later on, you might find that you want to do more sophisticated editing of your videos. If that's the case, you can install and use additional video editing software.

This article explains the basic process of editing video on your computer, and it will help you find the video editing software that is right for you.

Basic steps for editing video on a computer

Whether you're using Windows Movie Maker or another program, the video editing process is pretty much the same. Here are the basic steps for editing digital video on your computer:

  1. Import recorded video from a video camera to your computer.

  2. Use a video editing program to create scenes, rearrange scenes, and to remove unwanted parts.

  3. Add any music, pictures, titles, transitions, or effects that you want to use.

  4. Preview your changes.

  5. Save your edited content as a new video file.

  6. Share your new video with other people in a variety of ways—by e‑mail, by posting to a video sharing site on the web, or by burning it to a CD or DVD.

Use Windows Movie Maker

In Windows Movie Maker, you can edit your videos to make your own movies, and then save and share them with other people. You can do this right away without installing any additional video editing software.

The following image shows Windows Movie Maker in Windows Vista with a video editing project already started.

Picture of Windows Movie Maker
Windows Movie Maker

To open Windows Movie Maker

  • Click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, and then click Windows Movie Maker.

For more information about using Windows Movie Maker to edit video, see the following topics:

Use other video editing software

If Windows Movie Maker does not meet your needs (for example, maybe it does not support editing a particular video file format that you want to use, or perhaps you want to do more advanced video editing), there are many different video editing software programs that you can buy. In fact, these other video editing programs (or trial versions of these programs) might already be installed if you bought a new computer. Read the documentation for your computer to determine if other video editing software is already installed. Or another way to find out is to click the Start button Picture of the Start button, click All Programs, and then look in the list of programs for video editing software.

Also, a lot of new video cameras might come packaged with a CD or DVD that includes video editing software. Using this software can be helpful because it is likely to support the video file format that your video camera outputs. For more information, read the information that came with your video camera or video editing software.

To find other video editing software programs, go to the Windows Marketplace website and search for “edit video.”