This is not a technical entry to my blog, but I thought it was worth mentioning that a new update of Windows Live Movie Maker has hit the internet. This is a free application from Microsoft that can be used to quickly and easily create movies from your videos, pictures, and music.
Shameless Plug: I have a new book that will be releasing in about two weeks called Windows Live Essentials and Services: Using Free Microsoft Applications for Windows 7. I devote one of the longest chapters to Movie Maker. In fact, I was able to cover the features of this newest release — which is good because the previous release was a huge step backwards from the prior Movie Maker program Microsoft had working with Windows Vista. (Note that the applications covered in my book work on Vista too.)
This new Movie Maker gives you the ability to create movies using a storyboard, using transitions, using titles, captions, and credits, using visual effects, and much more. You can also animate your photos with panning and zooming to create some really cool movie effects from what were still images. If you have video clips from a camera, cell phone, or other video device, you can knit them together, or even break them into pieces.
Movie Maker will also let you generate movie files when you are done. More importantly, you'll be able to save in a variety of sizes. This includes saving for the Internet, for television resolution, or even in High Definition (HD) including HD 480, 72, and 1080P.
I know this blog entry sounds a bit like an ad, but this is actually a very good program for the price of free. In fact, for many people this does as much as they would want when working with home movies and those clips of the kids and of vacations. If this is the standard for free applications, then as developers, we are once again going to have to step up as the bar for basic applications is again rising.
You can download Windows Live Movie Maker from the Essentials download page: http://download.live.com/