This page is about my experiences with Windows Live Movie Maker, and
tricks I have learned. It's mainly focused at using WLMM to edit my
GoPro Hero HD
helmet cam footage.
Windows Live Movie Maker
vs Windows Movie Maker
Windows Live Movie Maker can be downloaded here;
I won't go into the requirements much, but you need Vista or Windows 7
to run it. So all you XP people will have to persist with the old
fashion Windows Movie Maker, not that's there's anything wrong with
that. In fact some people prefer the old Windows Movie Maker as it has
more features than the new Live version (see wikipedia and you'll see
what I mean). I find them both pretty similar except for 1 big
difference. The standard install of Windows Movie Maker on my work
laptop running XP does not understand the x.264 codec used by my GoPro.
The standard install of Windows Live Movie Maker on my laptop running
Windows 7 understands the x.264 codec just fine.
I understand WLMM installed on Vista also may not understand the x.264
codec, depending on which additional codecs you machine may or maynot
have. The GoPro hero website says "If
using Windows Media Player or Movie Maker, make sure you download the
latest HD-capable version and also download a H.264 decoder to update
media or movie maker. CoreCodec CoreAVC is one company that offers a
codec pack for h.264.". I looked into that, but at $12.95
for the CoreAVC codec pack I decided I'd rather just use the laptop
that already worked.
I had a bit of a look around the web and people suggested;
I tried installing just the x.264 codec part of the second link above,
but it didn't help. The XP machine still wouldn't load the x.264 video
into Windows Movie Maker.
WLMM - Using Profiles
I'd been doing a lot of playing with Windows Live Movie Maker
(WLMM) when I decided I wanted some more export profiles, as the
widescreen and 1080p widescreen settings aren't very useful for the
gopro's 960p 4:3 video setting.
After a lot of searching the web I found I needed a utility called
"windows media profile editor". This comes with "Windows Media Encoder
9". It can be found here;
Don't search microsoft for windows media encoder 9, because it will
point you to "windows expression encoder 3" which is supposed to
replace media encoder 9. But expression encoder 3 doesn't come with the
media profile editor utility.
So once you have installed Windows Media Encoder 9, go to
and open Windows Media Profile Editor. Left click will open it and the
files you save will be hidden as "compatability files". Alternatively
right click and "run as administrator" and then you can save files with
no issues. This compatability file thing is something weird I am not
used to, must be a Windows 7 thing. I will mention it again in the
saving the profile part.
First you need to import a profile to modify. The Windows Live Movie
Maker profiles are found here;
(x86)\Windows Live\Photo Gallery\Video Profiles\
I tried importing and modifying both the 720p widescreen and 1080p
Now change the settings to whatever you want. To make a 960p one I just
changed the video size to 1280x960. With the GoPro I also changed the
audio down to 128kbps 48kHz as that is all it records at.
I tried experimenting with the bit rate. I tried a VBR (variable bit
rate) with the quality at 97%. This created a massive file, with a bit
rate of 40Mbps. So I imported the 1080p widescreen profile and noticed
it was a CBR (constant bit rate) of about 8Mbps. So I used that CBR
8Mbps setting for my 960p video. It gave a more reasonable file size. I
noticed the GoPro seemed to record at about 12Mbps in the 960p mode.
There is some interesting tests of different quality settings in VBR
Here is a tip you won't find on the web, I initially got it wrong and
it gave me
the sh*ts. The description field is more than a description
field. When you import the standard 720p/1080p profiles there
is some weird coded info in that field. The first part describes the
aspect ratio. I ignored it at first, thinking it was just a text field
(as the help says it is). But it seems Windows Live Movie Maker, Media
Player and Youtube all look at that field somehow (or it carries
through that far anyway). So I made my 1280x960p profile which is
clearly 4:3, and left the 16x9 aspect ratio description. When I went
down to the "save movie" part of Windows Live Movie Maker it said
1280x960 and the description said widescreen. I ignored the widescreen
part. It made a video, that when played appeared to have black bars
either side. But when I checked the file info it said it was 1280x960.
Then when I uploaded to youtube it added more black bars onto the side
of the other black bars, and gave this distorted squashed up image.
Unfortunately I had uploaded nearly 2GB of video, all squashed (took
So make sure you change the description field!!! I
changed the aspect ratio from 16x9 to 4x3 and then my 1280x960 video's
worked fine. The other funny codes in the description field also do
something, but I haven't figured out what.
So when you have your profile ready select export and give it a name.
Here is where that compatability file thing comes in. If you run
profile editor as administrator then it saves your profile correctly
and you will see it in WLMM straight away. If you open profile editor
with a left click, then it saves the file in some weird alternate
universe folder that profile editor can see, but nothing else can. To
be able to see it you need to go to the folder in windows explorer and
click on the "compatability files" button to see the files sitting in
the alternate universe. Cut the file from there, click back in windows
explorer (to the normal universe) and click paste. The other programs
should be able to see the profile file then. Make sense?
So anyway, then you should have a 1280x960p profile for use with the
GoPro Hero HD. I also made a 960x720p profile (at 6Mbps) for exporting
the GoPro 960p videos to a 4:3 720p for upload to youtube. I have put
them here for people that don't want to make their own;
Some more discussion on creating the custom profiles, and plenty of
sample profiles, can be found here;
If you want to see some examples of what my exported videos look like, just search for user BajaWes on youtube.