Among the various programs that Microsoft offers for free to its customers of Windows, Movie Maker and Photo Gallery are two widely used and highly appreciated applications. Both of these applications allow users to work with their photos and videos, applying effects, adding narration, and creating beautiful slideshows. The main focus of these applications has not been on piling up a lot of features; instead, providing users with simple controls to perform basic image and video editing functions is what Microsoft aimed for. Yesterday, a new version of Windows Photo Gallery and Movie Maker came was announced for Windows 7 and Windows 8. Some very useful new features are introduced in the latest version, such as Text Effects, Audio Emphasize, Auto Collage, Photo Fuse. Moreover, Vimeo is the new publish partner of Microsoft, allowing you to share videos directly to Vimeo from Photo Gallery and Movie Maker. Keep reading to find out details about the new features.
The Photo Gallery now allows you to create beautiful panoramas, fuse multiple images together, and automatically create collages. Usually, you need more than one, and sometimes, very expensive software, to perform all these operations. The latest Windows Photo Gallery allows you to perform all these functions all from a unified interface without actually putting any effort in. Just add the images, choose what you want to do and the application will do it for you. However, while trying to create a panorama or fuse images together, make sure that you select similar images shot with the same scenery and lightning.
During testing, all the new features worked perfectly. Here is an example of an automatically created collage. While creating a collage, you can choose different modes for the final image, including Large Portrait (1200 x 1500 pixels), Large Landscape (1500 x 1200 pixels), Medium Portrait (750 x 1050 pixels) Medium Landscape (1050 x 750 pixels) and Fit to Desktop.
Like the Photo Gallery, Windows Movie Maker has also received its fair share of new features and updates. These days, you might have noticed a lot of videos on YouTube with either their audio track removed, or completely taken down, because there is a copyrighted audio track in the video that is being used without proper permissions from the author. Movie Maker is aiming to help its users avoid that embarrassing situation when they create a video by providing them free music from AudioMicro, Free Music Archive and Vimeo Music. Now, other than the local tracks found on your hard drive, you can also select music from these three services to use in your project.
Other than music, the narration feature has also been polished and given a lot of new controls to manage the voice levels. Now, the programs deals separately with the sound coming from the video, an audio track (music) and narration. The Emphasize function lets you choose any of the sources, from narration, video and music, to put the emphasis on during playback. Waveform visualizations help you to decide where to edit the video and audio streams and control their levels.
Text effects are enhanced and let you add outlines to the words to make the text more prominent and not let it mix with the background. A very interesting feature, Video Stabilization, was mentioned on the official Windows Team blog, but during testing, we were unable to find any option similar to what has been demoed. If anyone finds it in their copy of the software, let us know in the comments section below.
As always, Windows Photo Gallery and Movie Maker both come packaged as part of Windows Live Essentials, which can be grabbed at the link below.