Windows Vista is nothing if not visual - you'll have noted Vista's aesthetic appeal, for instance. Particularly its stylish, translucent windows. And some of this visual panache is practical; most obviously in Windows Media Center and through the updated tools in Windows Movie Maker.

Windows Movie Maker tutorials:

Windows Movie Maker tools included in the Home Premium and Ultimate versions of Windows Vista compete directly with entry-level, pay for video-editing packages offered by Pinnacle, Roxio and Ulead.

And while Movie Maker might not stand up against the more comprehensive video editors' toolsets, it's a vast improvement on Microsoft's original attempts at a home movie-making package.

HD (high-definition) video is now supported: you can directly import video footage and stills, then edit, enhance and share your project. You can also create slideshows and add transitions, effects, music and narration to your work.

As is common with video editors, Movie Maker's basic setup focuses on a storyboard and timeline; a preview window helps you decide on edits and transitions before rendering your project for output.

Movie Maker works closely with Windows Photo Gallery. Imported video is added to the Video folder and can be managed from within Windows Photo Gallery. This makes rating, tagging and organising your footage quick and easy. Once your project is compiled, you can incorporate video into your Photo Gallery slideshows.

We've got simple walk-throughs that will help you with transferring raw HD footage to a Windows Vista computer, then editing it for playback. Editing and outputting to the Mpeg2 format - which is used for commercial DVD releases - follows the same process.

Windows Movie Maker also allows you to scale your finished video for distribution via email, or to burn a copy to disc. Since Windows DVD Maker can be used for such tasks, you needn't shell out for third-party DVD software either.

Windows Movie Maker tutorials: