Great Alternatives to Windows Movie Maker

Create impressive videos with these programs for Windows PCs

Descargar Movie Maker Windows7

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Microsoft put an end to one of its favorite free software bundles, Windows Essentials. It included a variety of programs including a blog writing program, the now defunct MSN Messenger, Windows Live Mail, and Movie Maker. The latter was a particularly beloved program because it made it easy to do basic edits for a video. With Movie Maker, you could add an introductory screen, credits, a soundtrack, cut out certain portions of the video, add visual filters, and then share those videos on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and Flickr.

Using Movie Maker was a fun way to spice up a family movie or school project. There weren't many programs like it. If you still love the program, you can find downloads of Movie Maker from non-Microsoft websites, but it's not advisable to install them; it's always better to download a program from its creator.

If you still have Movie Maker, you can continue to use it, but if the program ever ceases to work correctly or you get a new PC and can't transfer the program, you’ll no longer have access to it.

At some point, you’ll have no other choice but to seek out alternatives.

Here’s a look at programs that are the best bet for anyone who is looking to replace the capabilities of Movie Maker, including the most important feature of all: It’s free.

Microsoft Photos

Tucked away in Windows 10 is the Microsoft Photos app video editor that's a direct replacement for Movie Maker. The effects and transitions are much improved over Movie Maker, although you don't have as much control because multi-track timelines aren't available. Use it by selecting photos and video and putting them into a sequence. Then you can trim video clips and apply filters, motion effects, and titles. You can even add 3D effects to your video. Add a soundtrack, and you have a finished project.

Beginners and former Movie Maker fans will appreciate how easy it is to use Microsoft Photos for their video editing projects. After you save your video, you can share it on YouTube, Skype, or One Note.

Microsoft Photos is compatible with Windows 10 and 8.

VideoPad Video Editor

Screenshot of VideoPad by NCH Software

Ian Paul

VideoPad Video Editor from NCH doesn't look like Movie Maker, but it is a robust program you can use to edit your home video and include a music track to go along with it.

At the top of the VideoPad interface, you have basic editing commands such as adding text, undoing and redoing changes, and adding blank clips. There's even a screen recording feature if you want to do screencasts.

VideoPad also offers audio and video effects such as rotating, shake, motion blur, pan and zoom, and more. There are audio effects such as distortions, amplify, fade in, and so on. It also has transitions to fade in and out using all kinds of different patterns.

Like any other program, you'll have to learn the quirks of VideoPad to understand how it works and how to mix elements. 

Nevertheless, with a little patience and willingness to consult the online user's guide you can get up and running in a few minutes. If you're ever stuck on how to use a certain feature, NCH has some helpful video tutorials.

When your project is finished, VideoPad offers sharing options for sending your video up to YouTube, Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox, and Google Drive.

VideoPad has a variety of tiered paid options and doesn't advertise its free option but, you can download VideoPad and use it for free, as long as you're using it for non-commercial use.

Video Pad Video Editor is compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, 8. 7, Vista, and XP.

VSDC Video Editor

Screenshot of VSDC Video Editor

Ian Paul

The free edition of VSDC Video Editor starts with a bunch of options such as a blank project, creating a slideshow, importing content, capturing video, or capturing a screen. There's also a big screen asking you to upgrade to the paid version every time you open the program — close it or click Continue to ignore.

For anyone editing video, the easiest way to get going is select Import content, and choose the video you want to edit from your hard drive. Once you're up and running, you'll see that VSDC is more complex than Movie Maker, but if you hover over any button, it will tell you its name.

The features you'll use include filters, video effects, audio effects, add music, trim videos, and add text or subtitles. One thing that's nice about VSDC is that it's easy to shift the point at which your music track starts. So if you want it to start a few seconds after the video is running, you click and drag the bar representing the audio file.

Once you have your project set up the way you like it, you can easily export it using a specific video format, as well as modify the resolution for specific screen sizes such as the PC, iPhone, web, DVD, and others.

VSDC lacks the in-app uploads for various web services, so you'll have to do that the ​old-fashioned way through each website's manual upload system.

VSDC Video Editor is compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP SP3.

Shotcut

Screenshot of Shotcut

Ian Paul

Anyone who is looking for something slightly more complex than Movie Maker but still easy to use and understand should look at Shotcut. This free, open source program has a basic interface across the top of the window with various features including a timeline view and filters such as fade in and out for audio and video. Like other video editing programs, you can set beginning and end points right on the time counter in the main working window.

This program isn't as easy to use or understand as Movie Maker. Nevertheless, with a little time, you can figure things out. If you want to add a filter, for example, you click Filters and then in the sidebar that shows up, hit the plus button. This provides a large menu of different filters divided up into three categories — favorites, video, and audio. All of these automated filters can be added on the fly with your changes reflected right away.

Shotcut lacks any easy upload features to popular web services, but it lets you export your video into a ton of different formats from regular MP4 files to still images in JPEG or PNG formats.

Shotcut is compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7.