There is a lot of freeware--and not so free--software on the Internet to compress large video files for easier publishing on the Web or for storing on 700MB CD-RW disks. When it comes to compression software, DivX and XviD are popular choices with tech gurus and hackers, but a person with average computer skills might be overwhelmed with their complexity. A much more user friendly alternative is Windows Movie Maker, and if you own a Windows XP or Vista computer, you already have the software on your computer.
- Skill level:
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Left click on your start menu and then the “All Programs” tab. Left click on Windows Movie Maker to open the program.
Click on the “Import Video” link on the left pane. Browse your computer to find the video file you wish to compress. The video could be stored in a folder on your computer’s hard drive or it can be on a disk in your DVD drive. Keep in mind that you cannot compress a copyright protected DVD.
Select the video file that you wish to import and then drag it to the story board on the bottom of the screen.
Click on the “Publish to this computer “link on the left pane. You’ll need to title the movie and then choose a location to store it once it is completed.
Click on the “Next” button and then choose either the “Compress to” or “More settings” option. The “Compress to” option will allow you to choose the compression size in MB. You can also choose the “More Settings” option and then “Windows Media low band width,” which is a good option if you wish to publish your video on the Web.
Click on “Publish” button and the compression process will begin. A progress bar will show the time remaining and the destination where you chose to store the video.
Tips and warnings
- Information is based on Windows Movie Maker 2.6 for Vista. If you own a Windows XP computer with Windows Movie Maker 2.1, some of the steps might be slightly different. If your computer does not have Window Movie Maker, follow the link in the Resources section to download it from the Microsoft website for free.
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