One of the most effective ways of enhancing the quality of videos before uploading to YouTube is by adding background music. Using Windows Movie Maker, it is easy to add songs or instrumental music as part of the video soundtrack, without needing any technical expertise.

Once the video has been recorded, one can add music files that are already stored in the computer or download royalty-free music tracks, loops and sounds from various websites. Unfortunately, royalty-free does not mean free; it means you have to make a small one-time payment to use the music.

It is crucial to ensure that one is not infringing copyright by adding the music file. If one has even the slightest doubt about copyright infringement, it is better to select some other music file.

Steps Before Adding Background Music to the Video

  • Saving the video file as a Movie Maker Project File.

This is done by clicking on “File”, and then clicking on “Save Project As” in Windows Movie Maker and saving the recorded video file. For example, if one has saved the video file in “Desktop” as “Videofilm”, Windows saves it as “Videofile.mswmm”.

  • Importing the Video File Into Windows Movie Maker

This is done by clicking “Import video” under “Capture Video” and double-clicking on the video file already recorded. For example, double-clicking on “Videofile.wmm” in “Desktop” will import it into the “Collections” area of Windows Movie Maker.

  • Dragging the Imported Video File Into the Editing Section

The video file is selected and dragged from the “Collections” area into the video track in the “Editing” section. The video file can now be seen in the “Video” track (in the “Timeline” view) ready to be edited.

One should edit the video in the “Timeline” view because it is easier to find the parts that have to be removed in this view. (The “Timeline” view shows the progression of the video in time whereas the “Storyboard” view displays the video as separate clips.)


Adding Background Music to the Video


  • First, one has to click on “Import audio or music” in “Capture Video”, which will open the “Import File” box.


  • Here, one can select the audio file (in mp3 or other formats) that is to be added to the video and click on “Import”. This will import the audio file into the “Collection” area of Windows Movie Maker.


  • Then one has to click and drag this file to the “Audio/music channel” in the “Editing” section. The audio track can then be seen in this channel in the wave format.

Editing the Length of the Audio Track

  • It is important to ensure that the video clip and audio track end at the same place.
  • If the audio track is shorter than the video clip, one may have to add another audio track to the Audio/music channel so that the music does not end in the middle of the video.
  • If the music track is longer than the video clip, it can be trimmed.
  • This is done by scrolling along the “Timeline” until one reaches the end of the audio clip. When the cursor is moved onto the end of the audio track, a red double arrow appears. Then one can drag the end of the audio clip to the point where one wants the music to end. Most video-makers clip the music track before the end of the video clip so that it does not seem to stop abruptly.

Adjusting the Volume of the Audio Track

  • If the background music is too loud, one can reduce the volume by right-clicking on the audio track and then shifting “Volume” in “Audio Clip Volume”.
  • One can test the volume of the audio track by playing the video in the “Preview” and reduce the volume further, if required.
  • Similarly, if the volume is too low, one can raise the volume level of the background music track.

Saving the Movie File and Uploading it to YouTube

After adding the background music track to the video, one can add titles and captions and then save the Edited Project File as a Movie by clicking “File” and then clicking “Save Movie File” in Windows Movie Maker.

Once the movie has been saved, one can watch it in any media player such as Windows Media Player or in a Web browser. One can then share it with everyone by uploading it to YouTube and other video-hosting websites.

(27 June 2012)

Rohi Shetty is a medical doctor, Vipassana meditator, writer, editor, translator and blogger. His short stories and articles have been published online and in print.

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