How to Import Video Clips Into Windows Movie Maker

Make your own movie out of video clips

You have to open a video clip in Windows Movie Maker before you can include it in your movie.

However, you can't just open the video from where it's located; you have to import the video directly into Windows Movie Maker and then position it exactly where you want it to go.

You can import a video clip into a brand new Windows Movie Maker project or add a video clip to an existing movie in the works. It's as easy as finding the video clip on your computer and then dragging it to a specific spot in your movie.

01
of 05

Browse for the Video You Want to Import Into Windows Movie Maker

Import Video clips into Windows Movie Maker
Import Video clips into Windows Movie Maker. Image © Wendy Russell

In the pane to the left of Windows Movie Maker, click Import video under the Capture Video section.

If you don't see this area of the program, go to View > Task Pane to enable it.

This area is also how you can import non-video files like music and pictures.

02
of 05

Select the Video Clip to Import

Locate the video clip to import into Windows Movie Maker
Locate the video clip to import into Windows Movie Maker. Image © Wendy Russell

Navigate to the folder that contains all the components of your movie, and then click the video file you wish to import.

You can import video files with file extensions like AVI, MPG, M1V, MP2V, MPEG, WMV, ASF, and others.

If you can't the video file but you're sure it's in an acceptable video format, make sure the Files of type drop-down menu is set to Video Files and not another option like for audio or picture files. If another category of files is selected, you might not be able to see the video you want to import.

Also be sure to check the box next to Create clips for video files, which is located at the bottom of the Import Files dialog box. Videos are often comprised of many small clips, which are marked by the creating program when the file is saved. These smaller clips are created when the video process is paused or there's a very obvious change in the filming. This is helpful to you, as the video editor, so that the project is broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Not all video files will be broken into smaller clips. This depends on which file format the original video clip was saved in. Checking this box to create clips for video files, will separate the imported video clip into smaller clips only if there are obvious pauses or changes in the original video clip. If you choose not to select this option, the file will be imported as a single video clip.

03
of 05

Preview the Video Clip in Windows Movie Maker

Preview the video clip in Windows Movie Maker
Preview the video clip in Windows Movie Maker. Image © Wendy Russell

To make sure the video you've selected is the one you want to include in your Windows Movie Maker project, you should preview it before committing to using it.

To do that, double-click the video in the Collection area in the center of the screen. The video will play off to the right side.

04
of 05

Drag the Video Into the Windows Movie Maker Storyboard

You're now ready to add this new video clip to the overall project, whether this is a new one or one that you've already started that includes existing videos.

Drag the clip from the middle section of the program down to the bottom area. If you have other videos already in the storyboard, you might drag it to the far right or beginning of the video, depending on what you're working on.

You can drag the video clip to the left of any existing clip in the storyboard to have that video play before the existing one in your movie. The blue highlight you see when dragging the clip shows exactly where it will go. You can always adjust the location of your clips once they're in the storyboard by clicking and dragging them.

Although editing your movie is outside the scope of this article, know that you must click Show Timeline at the top of the storyboard area to trim your video clips.

05
of 05

Save the Windows Movie Maker Project

Save the Windows Movie Maker project containing the video clip
Save the Windows Movie Maker project containing the video clip. Image © Wendy Russell

When you're done importing clips into Windows Movie Maker, you should save the movie as a project file so that you can reopen it later should you need to add more clips, delete videos clips from your movie, add video effects, etc.

  1. Go to File > Save Project As.
  2. Find a folder where you want to save the project. Be sure to remember the folder you choose so that you can easily reopen the Windows Movie Maker project when you need to edit your movie or produce the movie file.
  3. Name the project something descriptive.
  4. Click Save. The file will save with the MSWMM file extension.

The above steps are for saving the project, which is how you re-access all of the video clips, effects, etc. To actually produce a movie from your project, you need to go to File > Safe Movie File.