Windows Live Movie Maker: Publish/Save Your Movie

Let’s assume you have finished editing your movie.  You have added title and credit sequences, captions where appropriate, faded in/out audio, added background music where appropriate, used transitions, pan and zoom, visual effects, the works.  Being a responsible workman, you have repeatedly saved your project file each 5 minutes or so while building the movie (by clicking the Movie Maker tab and choosing Save Project to save a WLMP file).  Remember your project file (that WLMP file) is not the same thing as your movie file.  The project file is just a textual list of the assets and edits that define your movie.  Now it is time to either publish or save your movie, or both.

Publish and Save are two separate operations.  Publish uploads your movie to an online service: YouTube, SkyDrive (you get 25GB of free storage, called a SkyDrive, when you sign up for a account), Facebook, Windows Live Groups, or Flickr.  Save simply saves a WMV (windows media video) version of your movie, in a resolution you pick at save time, to your file system.  Here are the details.

Publish by either using the “Share” options on the Home tab

Movie Maker Share Options

or click the Movie Maker tab and hover over the Publish Movie choice, then select the service to which you wish to share your movie.  Remember, you 1) must have an account on that service; and 2) you must first authenticate with your account and then with your service account in order to publish.  Beyond that, it is a typical publish, or upload, operation to the service.  Publishing does NOT save a copy of the movie on your local system.

Save movie, on the other hand, saves a WMV version of the movie to your system,and then you can decide what to do with it.

Save Movie Choices

For example, after saving, you could upload your movie to Vimeo or TeacherTube or some other service not built-in to Movie Maker; upload to YouTube at some other resolution; upload to Blackboarf; send it to your students; whatever.

When you save, Movie Maker will make a recommended resolution setting for your project, but you will do better to choose one based on the media on which you expect to display the movie.  If you are making a movie to be displayed on a large screen LCD display, choose “For high-definition display.”  If you intend to display it on a computer monitor and display it through a projector in class, “For computer” is probably appropriate.  You can see the other choices indicated above.  Note that it is possible to define custom save resolutions, if you have special purposes for the video.  The following chart may help understand these resolution choices.

Project Aspect Ratio



High-definition display

1920 x 1080

1440 x 1080


854 x 480

640 x 480


720 x 480

720 x 480


426 x 240

320 x 240

Don’t worry about the choices listed under “Mobile device settings” especially Zune HD settings.  The Zune doesn’t even exist any longer.

The “Burn a DVD” choice above will choose a proper publishing resolution to a standard DVD, and will also invoke the Windows DVD Maker program after it has saved.  A future pose will cover how to use that program.

Here is the screencast that covers this topic;