If you want to edit videos recorded with Windows Media Center, finding a way to do it can be more than a bit confusing at times. This is usually due to a file format incompatibility issue. Since Windows Media Center saves files in .WTV or .DVR-MS formats, certain video editing software programs (including older versions of Windows Movie Maker) will not import them.
Fortunately, Microsoft has largely corrected the problem with the latest edition of Windows Live Movie Maker, which can import these formats and allow you to edit the files. This can also be done with standard Windows Movie Maker if your system is running Windows Vista or Windows 7.
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Download and install Windows Live Movie Maker, also referred to as WLMM. (See Resources for download link.) WLMM is part of the Windows Live Essentials bundle, but you can choose only the programs you want to download if you only want Windows Live Movie Maker.
Open the Windows Live Movie Maker software and click the "Add Videos and Photos" icon, then select the .WTV or .DVR-MS file you wish to import and click "Open." Alternatively, you can simply drag and drop the file onto the WLMM storyboard.
Click the "Play" button to playback the recorded video file in the preview window. When you get to the part of the video you wish to edit (for example, a commercial break you want to remove), pause playback.
Use the "Previous Frame" and "Next Frame" buttons underneath the preview window to advance or rewind the video frame-by-frame until you get to the exact point where you want to begin your cut.
Go to the "Edit" menu and click "Split." The video will be cut at the specified point. Repeat this process when you get to the end of the commercial break or other portion of video you want to remove.
Highlight that section and press the "Delete" key on your keyboard. The selected section is removed. (If you made a mistake and want to put the deleted video back, press "Undo.")
Select "Save" to save your edited movie as a WMV file. You have the option of either saving it to your computer's hard drive or on a DVD.
Tips and warnings
- You can also use Windows Movie Maker or Windows Live Movie Maker to perform other basic editing tasks: adding background music, narration, still photos, special effects, transitions, titles and credits. (See Resources for some helpful tutorials on these advanced editing features.)
- If you are running Windows 7 and Media Center saves your files as .WTV format, you'll need to right click the .WTV file and select "Convert to .DVR-MS." Then you can import the .DVR-MS file into Windows Live Movie Maker and edit it.
- It is not possible to edit .DVR-MS files through older software versions of Windows Movie Maker for Windows XP. However, these files can be edited using Windows Movie Maker for Microsoft Windows Vista or Windows 7.
- Alternatively, you can purchase video editing software such as Video Redo, which can edit .WTV and .DVR-MS files with much greater functionality.
- Some programs cannot be copied due to Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology, which prevents the unauthorised duplication of copyrighted material.
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