At some point during its many patches and updates, and with the release of Windows 8 and now Windows 10, Microsoft decided to mothball one of its more useful free apps—Windows Movie Maker. In fact, until the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10, there was no free movie editing application installed as an integral part of the Windows operating system. Windows 10 users were forced to look for third-party alternatives.
However, when the Fall Creators Update started rolling out in October 2017, Microsoft added a new video editing application. Only the company hid the feature inside another free app called Photos. Why Microsoft choose to do this is open to conjecture and speculation, but whatever the reason, it is certainly nice to have a useful free video editor back in Windows 10.
This how-to tutorial shows you how to access the Photos app in Windows 10 and load video files into it for editing. For a simple free app installed as part of a Windows 10 update, Photos offers many sophisticated features, and most individuals will find it more than adequate for creating compelling videos for either business or personal use.
Photos for videos
The fastest way to start the Windows 10 Photos app is to click the Start button, and then locate the Photos tile in the Start Menu. It will be found listed alphabetically under the letter "P."
When you first start the Photos app, it will run through a brief series of screens explaining some of the new features. Once that finishes, you should see a screen similar to Figure A, offering you the opportunity to choose from your library of images.
Click or tap the Video projects tab to see your library of editable videos. Note that you will likely have to add a file folder or drive to your library to get access to all of your available video files by clicking the Import tab in the upper right corner.
Once your libraries are associated with the Photos app, click the Create videos button and select the video files you want to work with for your project, as shown in Figure B.
In our example, we are using a quick video showing how to access Photos made via the GeForce Experience video capture app. Once you select the videos you want to work with for your project, click the Create button to begin processing. The resulting screen should look similar to Figure C.
Drag each video file to the storyboard displayed in the lower section of the screen, where you can edit them. In our example, we removed the opening and ending sequences that show the start and stop procedures for the GeForce Experience capture using the Trim feature, as shown in Figure D.
You can also resize your videos, run them through filters, add text and motion, and even add 3D objects, if you wish. The Photo app also allows you to add music, narration, and other audio files to your videos.
Once your video is complete, you can save your production to your device, OneDrive, or other cloud storage. Once encoded (Figure E), you can share your video with co-workers in an email or a collaborative workspace. Users can also share their video creations with the world via their favorite social media application.
As you make changes to videos using the Photos app, the edits are saved automatically and can be rolled back at any time if you make a mistake. This gives users the chance to experiment with the various features without having to worry about ruining their project or losing original files.
SEE: Quick glossary: Streaming video (Tech Pro Research)
The video editing features of the free Windows 10 Photos app are sophisticated for a built-in application and well worth the journey to find them. Why Microsoft has chosen to obscure this video editing capability is a mystery, but that shouldn't detract from its usefulness. No matter what level of video editing skill you possess, the Photos app can help you make compelling video content ready for sharing.
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Did you know there were video editing features in Photos? What do you use to edit videos now? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.