Saving Windows Live Movie Maker Projects as Video Files

After completing our previous tutorials on Windows Live Movie Maker 2011, your video project should be all set and ready to be shared. However, prior to exporting your Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 project, it’ll be saved as a Movie Maker Project file with the extension .wlmp. These .wlmp can only be opened on your computer in Windows Live Movie Maker. In order to share your video with friends and family or upload it to YouTube, Facebook or another website, you’ll have to export it as a .wmv file. In this tutorial, we’ll show how to save your movie in a shareable format using the recommended settings. For advanced users, we’ll also go through the steps for creating your own custom video settings.

Saving Movies with the Recommended Settings

The easiest way to save your movie into a format that can be uploaded, shared and burned is to simply use the recommended settings. When you choose recommended settings, Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 will take a look at the size and bit rate of your source videos and choose settings according to what it thinks will produce the best balance between file size and video quality.

To use the recommended settings, click the Save Movie button in the Home ribbon.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

This bypasses all the complicated video settings that you might not understand and brings you right to the "Save as..." dialog.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

NOTE: If you’re curious as to what video settings Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 deemed optimal for your project, click the arrow next to Save movie and mouse-over ’Recommend for this project’.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

For the vast majority of users, the recommended settings will be sufficient for most purposes. But if you plan on sharing your video via a specific means, such as email or a DVD, you may want to check out some of Windows Live Movie Maker’s presets. If not, feel free stop here--you’ve already saved your movie as a .wmv and you can now share it, upload it or burn it as you see fit.

Using Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 Preset Video Settings

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 has a few presets for video settings that are optimized based on what you plan on doing with the file once it’s saved. It calls them "common settings," and you can find them in the drop-down menu that appears when you click the arrow on the Save movie button.

Under common settings, you’ll find presets that are optimized for a number of devices. Most of these are self-explanatory: for high-definition displays, for computer, for e-mail, Windows phone, Zune HD, etc.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Again, you can mouse-over a setting to see the details. After you choose a setting, pick a location to save the file and click Save.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

If you choose Burn a DVD, the file will be saved to the location of your choosing and then loaded into a new Windows DVD Maker project.

Creating Custom Settings

If you feel comfortable tweaking the video settings, click ’Create custom setting’ in the Save movie menu.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

This will open the dialog to create a new custom setting.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Here, you can choose the following options:

  • Name: The name of your preset as it’ll appear in the Save movie menu.
  • Width and height: The width and height in pixels.
  • Bit rate: Affects the level of detail in your video. Set this higher for improved quality.
  • Frame rate: Affects the smoothness of motion and animations in your video. For photos, this doesn’t have to be particularly high. 24 fps is sufficient for basic slideshows. For full motion video, it’s not usually necessary to go above 30 fps.
  • Audio format: Affects the quality of the audio. 192 kbps , 48 khz, stereo is considered CD quality, but 128 kbps is passable for video.

NOTE: Even if the dimensions you choose here do not maintain the aspect ratio that you chose, the outputted video file will not be stretched or skewed. Instead, Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 will take the largest dimension you chose and automatically generate the other dimension in order to maintain the aspect ratio.

With all of the above settings, the higher you set them, the better the quality and the larger the file size. Though, of course, the quality won’t exceed the source material. For example, if your video is only 24 fps when you shot it, it won’t magically become 30 fps here. You can tweak the settings based on the estimated file size at the bottom.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

TIP: You can use another common setting as a starting point for your custom setting. Choose a setting from the drop-down menu to pull it up and then give it a new name before saving it.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Click Save when you are done. Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 will save your video settings as a "Windows Media Profile File (.prx)". In order for your custom settings to show up in the Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 menu, the .prx file must be placed in the Video Profiles directory: C:\Users\[your username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live\Video Profiles.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

If you’d like to share your video settings preset with friends or colleagues or export it to another machine, you can send them the .prx--just make sure they put it in the Video Profiles directory.

This will add it to your list of video settings in the Save movie menu.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Conclusion

Saving your Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 files is as easy as clicking the Save movie button on the Home ribbon. But in order to achieve optimal file size and video quality, you may wish to use some of the common settings detailed above or create your own custom setting. For more information on Windows Live Movie Maker 2011, check out some of our related articles.