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How to turn your movie files into DVDs

It's so easy to share our videos on YouTube or through a million other online outlets that we sometimes forget about those who'd rather watch DVDs. And Windows Live Movie Maker helps you do it for free.

Whether you want offline access or you want to send a copy to tech-deficient relatives, DVDs are still a great way to store videos. Many computers come bundled with DVD-burning software, but they can be cumbersome or complex. Windows Live Movie Maker is free and relatively easy to use. Here's how to get started with it:

  1. Download, install, and run Windows Live Movie Maker. It's a fairly painless installation, but it will take a few minutes.

  2. It may look like a lot at first, but the interface is quite streamlined. To get started, click "Add videos and photos" near the top left. Add as many files as you like, but remember that if you try to cram in too much runtime, you'll need to split your project across discs.

  3. Step 2: Movie Maker.
    Step 2: Movie Maker.
  4. There are quite a few effects you can add, so be sure to explore, though none of them is strictly necessary. One popular choice is the Trim tool, located under the Edit tab. If you need to truncate a clip because it went on a little too long or took a while to get started, it's easy to set a new start and end point.

  5. Step 3: Select start/end points.
    Step 3: Select start/end points.
  6. Once you've got all your clips set up in the right order and all your effects popping, it's time to burn it to disc. Click the Home tab and then select "Save movie" and "Burn a DVD." It first needs to save the project as a WMV file, which will take quite a while (maybe as much as an hour, depending on movie length and your hardware configuration).

  7. Step 4: Save movie.
    Step 4: Save movie.
  8. When it's done, it automatically brings up the Windows DVD Maker. Click "Next select your options, then click "Burn" and wait a little longer. Once it's done, you're good to go.