Music/Sound Editing in Windows Live Movie Maker

27 Feb

Hi all!

During the Making Movies class in the Digital Workshop we cover the basics of quickly making a slideshow of photos and videos using Windows Live Movie Maker.  Movie Maker has a lot of great features, and we only just scratch the surface during our class.  I get lots of questions about music and sound during this class, so I thought I’d cover some of the more specific music features that some guests have been asking about.

Question:What if you have a slideshow that includes photos and video and music?  Can you edit the music and video sound so that they don’t conflict?

Answer: YES! Once you have your pictures and video in the correct sequence, go ahead and add music (either do this when it prompts you if you’re adding an automovie theme, or click “add music” in the ribbon and choose the music file you want to use.) 

Once it’s added, your storyboard will look something like this:

The video is the slide with the hatched edges on the ends, making it look like a film strip.  Your music is represented by that light green bar running across the tops of your slides.  If there is a green bar over the slide, there will be music playing during that photo or video.  As you can see, we have music playing over our video clip in the example, which means that the sound from the video and the music may conflict.  If you don’t want this conflict, you have a few options:

1) Eliminate the sound from the video, so just the music plays over the video

2) Eliminate the music during the video, so that we only hear the video’s sound.

3) Lower the volume of the music so that the sound from the video can be heard, but with a quieter layer of music underneath it.

Option 1: First, click on the video clip.  Next, click the yellow “Video Tools” tab at the top of your screen. 

This brings up a new ribbon that gives you video editing options.  On the far left you can click where it says “Video Volume.” 

Left click and hold on the rectangular slider, drag it all the way to the left so the video is muted. 

Now there will be no video sound, you’ll just see the action and hear the music you’ve chosen.

Option 2: There’s a few ways to do this, but I’m going to walk you through what I think is the easiest way.  Let’s say we want to stop the music before the video clip starts, and pick it up where we left off once the video is completed.

First, click on the video clip.  Notice that long black line.  That’s your placemarker.  Wherever your placemarker is, that’s where the edit takes place.  We want to make sure our placemarker is at the beginning of the video clip.  If it’s not in the right place, you can always left click and hold, and drag the placemarker to the correct location in your storyboard.

Now click on the green “Music Tools” tab at the top of the screen.  This brings up a ribbon that gives you options to change your music.  Click the button that says “split".”  Splitting the music clip will simply cut it in half.

Now you have two separate green bars (notice that space between them) for your music, rather than it all being in one bar, stuck together.

You don’t lose any of the music, but now you have two parts to work with instead of just one, which means you can make changes to one part, without affecting the other. 

Now left click and hold on the second music bar, and drag it to the end of your video clip.

See how there’s a space between the two green bars?  The video clip is between them, and now the sound from the video can be heard, while the music is only heard before and after the video clip.

If you want, you can also fade the music out before the video, and in again after the video so the change is less abrupt.  Click on the green bar, and then choose a fade option on the ribbon (slow, medium, or fast). 

Option 3: Click the video clip.  Notice that your placemarker is at the beginning of the video clip.  If it’s not in the right place, left click and hold, and drag it to the correct location in the storyboard.  Click the green “Music Tools” tab at the top of the screen.  Click the “split button.”  Click on the photo right after the video.  Make sure the placemarker is at the end of the video clip.  Now, click on “split” again.  When you’re finished you should get something that looks like this:

See how we’ve divided our music into three parts?  It’s all there, and can be heard correctly in sequence, but now we can change the volume on the middle section, without changing anything on the sections before and after the video.

Now click on the middle section of music.  In the “Music Tools” ribbon (again, you might have to click on the green tab at the top that says “Music Tools) You can adjust the volume by clicking “Music Volume” on the left side.  Left click and hold on the slider and drag it a little to the left, lowering the music volume for this section. 


Those are just 3 common music and sound edits, but feel free to experiment with other options using some of these tools I’ve mentioned!  Make the music loud and the video sound soft.  Practice fading in and fading out your music or your video sound.  Don’t be afraid to click around and experiment with the MANY features Windows Live Movie Maker offers!

Happy Movie Making!

Techspert Krista, ms Statendam


To download Windows Live Movie Maker, click here.

Find more instructions for Windows Live Movie Maker on the Digital Workshop Making Movies Handout.  You can download it here.

For online help in Windows Live Movie Maker, click here.


7 Responses to “Music/Sound Editing in Windows Live Movie Maker”

  1. FromBrainsToBeauty June 12, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    This was super helpful! Thank you!

  2. mirahsan2 July 28, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    Anyone know how to keep the music going on a blank black screen? Or is everything dependent on weather a picture or video is present?

    • Whyntir November 20, 2012 at 11:52 am #

      I get stock of plain black pictures. That works best I find.

      • Jwhite March 20, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

        I made my movie and saved it. When I went back to edit it, my music wouldn’t play. The video plays, the volume on the controls is up, I’m not sure what happened… Any ideas?

    • Tom February 20, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

      To keep the music going on a black screen just add a title with no text. Go to the home tab/ title/ then click delete. You can adjust the length of the black screen under video tools/ duration, and then have the music playing the black screen.

  3. conniegallant October 15, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

    I shot a video with someone singing. I want to show other still images while person is still singing in background, but I don’t know how to do that. Any tips, please? Thank you!

  4. Missy McMichael December 4, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    Thank you!!!! This helped me so much!!!!!

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