Q: I am trying to make a pictures-to-music video for my graduation using Windows Movie Maker. I have three songs from my iTunes library that I would like to use, but I cannot seem to find a way to import them into Movie Maker. Is there a way to get those songs on there?
A: Depending on the source of the tracks themselves, you may need to convert them before Windows Movie Maker will be able to use them. By default, iTunes converts CDs that you import yourself into AAC format, which cannot be used by Windows Movie Maker.
A simple way to determine the format an audio file is by looking at the extension: AAC files will normally have a .M4A extension, while MP3 files will have a .MP3 extension. You can also look at the File Info dialog box on the “Summary” tab—an MP3 file will have a “Kind” entry of “MPEG Audio.”
The good news is that iTunes does offer you the ability to convert these tracks to a more widely usable format like MP3, which Movie Maker should certainly be able to support.
To do this, you would first need to change your default “Importing” preferences in iTunes to use the “MP3 Encoder” since iTunes will only convert to whatever format is your default. This setting will also tell iTunes to import any new audio CDs in the selected format as well.
You can then right-click on any of your music tracks, and choose “Convert Selection to MP3” from the context menu:
Within a few minutes, iTunes will make a new copy of the selected track(s) in MP3 format. The tracks will have the same basic tags (ie, artist, album, name, etc) as the originals, but none of the other metadata such as rating or play count will be transferred to the new tracks. You will be able to locate the newly converted tracks in iTunes simply by browsing for the track in question as you normally would, and the copy with the more recent “Date Added” will be the converted file.
You should then be able to import these MP3 files into Windows Movie Maker without any problems.
One other important point to note, however: If you have tracks that you’ve purchased from the iTunes Store, these are protected with digital rights management, and you won’t be able to convert these to any other format, at least not directly. Since iTunes does allow you to burn purchased tracks to CD, however, you could burn your tracks in question to a normal audio CD, and then re-rip them as you would with any normal commercial CD that you’ve purchased. The newer “iTunes Plus” tracks described above, however, are free of any DRM restrictions, and can therefore be converted in the same way as a normal AAC track that you’ve ripped yourself.