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Video effects in Movie Maker 2 ... which ones are actually useful, and how to apply them.
Last updated 6-10-03

Movie maker 2 comes preinstalled with a number of video effects that you can add to your movie clips. These effects are numerous and easy to apply. Despite the large assortment of effects, you’ll find yourself using certain effects more often, and some of them not at all. Here are some of the most useful effects and some uses you might not have though of.

  1. Brightness Increase and Decrease
    These brightness effects are very useful for fixing your video’s exposure levels. If you filmed an indoor scene that looks too dark, you can simply brighten the video with the brightness effect. If your video still isn’t bright enough, you can repeat the effect several times until you get the look you want.

  2. Grayscale and Sepia Tone
    Both of these effects remove the color from your film, and the sepia effect gives your film a pleasant “yellowed old photograph” look. You can use these desaturating effects to make your movie look classy (like those black and white DeBeer’s diamond commercials) or to create a “flashback” or “dream sequence” scene within a larger home movie epic.

  3. Rotation effects
    There are several rotation effects, but they are not useful for video. However, they work great for photographs, and allow you to align your photos properly. If you hold your digital camera sideways (to get those full-body pictures) these rotation effects allow you to rotate your pictures in the proper direction so you can create “video slideshows” of your picture collections.

  4. Slow down and speed up
    These two effects can be useful for creating comedy “movies.” For example, you could make a fake kung-fu movie with your kids and use the speed-up effect to create rapid-motion fighting scenes. Likewise, the slow-down effect could be used to create the clichéd “slow motion punch” that is common in American action movies. You could also use the speed up effect to make funny slapstick comedies … like the British “Benny Hill” skits.

There are many other effects available within MovieMaker, though they aren’t as useful as the ones mentioned here. Some of the effects, like the artistic watercolor effects, seem to be included simply for the “wow” factor. One effect that Movie Maker is sorely missing is the “reverse video” effect, which is unfortunate as there are many special effects you can perform by reversing film.

How to apply effects
To apply effects to your film you need to open up the Video Effects collection. You can preview each effect in the preview monitor by double clicking on the effect thumbnail. To apply the effect to a video clip, simply grab the effect and drop it onto the clip in the storyboard.

Another way to apply effects is by right-clicking on the clip and choosing “Video effects.” This mode allows you to see exactly what effects are being used. This view is useful if you have to add or remove multiple effects to your clip.

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