Adding Music to Videos in Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 is all about ease of use, and when it comes to adding background music to your videos and photo slideshows, that theme remains the same. Windows Live Movie Maker’s audio editing features are very basic and mostly limited to fading in and fading out, changing the start and end points and adjusting the volume for the entire clip. But if all you want is a little mood music for your home movie, then Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 let’s you add a soundtrack from your music collection in seconds. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to add music to your Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 and edit your audio clips.

Adding Music to a Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 Project

Once you have photos or video clips added to your Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 timeline, you can begin adding music to play behind it. The easiest way to do this is to click the ’Add music’ button in the Home ribbon.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

From there you can browse to any compatible audio file to import it into your timeline. Supported file types include .WMA, .MP3, .WAV, .M4A, .AIFF and .AIF.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

By default, when you add a song, it will be placed at the beginning of the timeline.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Moving Audio Clips in the Timeline

If you’d like to add music elsewhere in the timeline, you can click the text of the ’Add Music’ button rather than the icon. This opens a drop-down menu that reveals the ’Add music at the current point’ option.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Click this to insert an audio clip at whatever point the playhead is in the movie.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Alternately, you can click and drag the audio clip to reposition it along the timeline.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Editing Audio in Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

The Options ribbon under Music Tools gives you access to the limited range of audio editing tools in Windows Live Movie Maker 2011. In order to reveal the Music Tools Options, you must have a music clip selected or have the playhead positioned at a point along the timeline that has music.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

In the Music Tools Options ribbon, you have the following tools:

  • Music Volume: Adjusts the volume of the entire clip.

    Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

  • Fade In/Fade Out: Allows you to fade in or fade out at the beginning or end of the clip at three speeds: slow, medium or fast.

    Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

  • Split: Splits the selected audio clip into two clips at the current position of the playhead.

    Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

  • Set start time: Moves the beginning of the clip to the position of the playhead on the timeline, or the time entered into the field on the right. Does not alter the clip itself.

    Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

  • Set start point: This changes the point within the song at which the clip begins playing. For example, if you want to skip through a 30-second intro or a few seconds of silence in a song, you could change the start point. You can either pause playback at the point in the audio where you want the clip to begin or type in the start point manually. Unlike Set start time, this does not change the position of the clip.

    Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

  • Set end Point: This sets the end point of the clip. If you’ve selected a fade out, this is the point where the clip will be completely faded out.

    Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Conclusion and Limitations

Unfortunately, this is the full extent of Windows Live Movie Maker’s audio editing features. While you can have music clips and video audio playing back (i.e. audio that is included in the video file itself), you can not include two audio tracks on top of each other.

Also, there’s no ability to record narration in Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 - you’ll have to record your voiceover in another program and then import it, just like you would music. However, given the limitation of one audio track at a time, this means you won’t be able to put music behind your narration, unless you first export a completely “mixed down" version of your Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 project with only video and music and then create a new Windows Live Movie Maker project using your produced and saved clip.

Furthermore, you don’t get a volume pan for smooth fading in and out at arbitrary points in the audio clip. Instead, you have to split clips and have them fade out or fade in completely, if you want to carve out a space for narration.

Overall, there’s a lot to be desired in Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 - including some features that were not included from the previous version of Windows Movie Maker. But again, Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 is all about ease of use. It’s about getting your photos and videos into professionally looking slide shows or home movies within minutes. And to that end, it still delivers.