Tue. Dec 1st, 2020

The last few versions of Windows have been in a drought for five years when it comes to recording entry-level video edits. With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the drought is finally over – thanks to new functions in the updated Photos app.

Movie Maker used to have this role, but Microsoft last updated it in 2012 and stopped offering it as of January 2017. Though many maligned it in its early versions, it ended up being quite effective, and at least the operating system provided something for basic video editing. The lack of included video editing software gave macOS a head start on Windows with its appealing iMovie.

Of course, professionals and serious enthusiasts will want more, but the video features in Windows 10’s Photos app will serve and even delight casual users who want to make something fun of their video clips. You can now join, trim, and rearrange clips. You can add background music and even apply some nifty effects and text titles.

Things you won’t get yet include voice-over recording, support for 360-degree video content, and a lot of control over the export file. You get impressive motion tracking and 3D overlay effects. Don’t forget, Windows is now a service so the app will be updated with new features from time to time.

Yes, Windows now has video editing capabilities, but it doesn’t yet have a standalone video editing app like Movie Maker or iMovie. Microsoft has taken a different route by adding the features to the Photos app. The video tools in Photos are powerful enough to stand on their own as an app, and maybe one day we’ll see a separate one as users may not realize that, despite the name, it doesn’t straight for photos. Currently, the company wants to reduce complexity by bringing all multimedia edits together into one app, but it is confusingly named.

Follow the slides below to see what you can do with the new video editing tools in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

1. Import


Before the Fall Creators Update, the Photos app made it difficult to add pictures and video clips. Now there is a clear and standard import button and process.

2. Create


The easiest way to start creating your video is to click Create and then select Video Remix. With this selection, you simply select the photos and videos, and Photos does the rest of the post-production for you.

3. Remix


After selecting the video and tapping Add, photos will be processed and the automatically generated video will be played. Notice the big Remix button that changes the style (think Instagram filters), background music, and timing. You can press the Remix button as many times as you want until you like the result. You can then share the creation or export it to a video file. Note, however, that you can also tap Edit Video for better control. One problem with the user interface is that if you click away from the project, it disappears without notice.

4. Edit video

Edit video

Here you can enjoy your video projects hands-on. Here you can see expected tools like cropping, filters, text, motion and 3D effects. You can also add or remove images and video clips here, set the duration of each component and change the music track using the button in the top right corner.

5. Trimming


The video editor in the Photos app is not based on the timeline, but entirely on the storyboard. So you only see a thumbnail of each clip. With the clip selected, tap Trim and you’ll see an editing screen like this one. (While we’re here, note the nice translucency of the Fluent Design apps). By default, you get grips for the entry and exit points of the clip. Also note that Remix will automatically select In and Out points. I love that you can set a duration and move it back and forth in case your video has tight timing requirements. As with almost all video editors, you can stop and start playback using the space bar. In this edit mode, only the cut part is played.

6. Filters


There is a nice selection of effect filters that you can add to either photos or videos. A missing option is to apply one filter to the entire movie at once. It’s especially strange considering the remix tool does this.

7th title


You can add text to any clip in your movie, with six options to choose from, ranging from calm to exaggerated. You can choose six positions / sizes for main and subheadings. It is not WYSIWYG because you enter text in a separate text box, but your words appear on the screen in the selected style as you type. The boom title effect shown is very cool as it will use your video with the text as a mask. Commercial editors like Premiere Elements only recently added this remarkable feature.

8. Movement


These effects really only make sense for still images in a slideshow, although the app page says they’re working on photos and Videos. (They didn’t work with my video clips.) They’re basically variations of the Ken Burns Effect, where photos are panned and zoomed in to add interest.

9. Music


The video editor will automatically adjust canned background music to your video, even time transitions to the beat. You can also use your own non-DRM tracks. You can also adjust the volume so that your video sound is not overwhelmed, even though there is no ducking or relative volume control for the track.

10. Coloring


This feature does not appear in the video editing interface, but it is an option if you are editing a single clip. You get pen, pencil, and calligraphy pen options. One very cool feature is that you can anchor your writing to follow an object in the video. I wish this would work with normal text too.

11. 3D effects

3D effects

Spice up your videos and slideshows with a new set of 3D effect overlays. You can choose between butterflies, snowstorms and explosions. It’s infinitely easier than After Effects. A really impressive plus is that you can anchor any effect so it follows any object in the video and that you can add multiple effects in the same video.

12. Export or share

Export or share

Once your creation is complete, you will be given a clearly explained choice of three options when you export your video. After you choose one, you can view the file you created in File Explorer or share it via email or through an installed UWP app that accepts video. When you share to a social network, you don’t get a link but an actual uploaded video file. This saves viewers having to navigate to a website. Instead, they can watch your video in the Twitter app, for example.

further reading

Video editing reports