The problem with the Windows Movie Maker is it forces the incoming video to be highly compressed into WMV format. This tosses out a tonne of image quality, about 80%, right off the bat. WMV also has large spans between keyframes and you can't get single-frame precision on the edits. Finally, you can't upload the finished video back to the camera easily without converting the low-quality compressed video back up into DV format.
You get much better results to download from camera in native DV format to preserve as much quality as possible, about 210mb/min. Then edit the video in DV format. Finally output a finished product in the final format you want, AVI, DVD, RM-streaming, etc.
To download from camera, I like to use WinDV
which lets you specifiy either DV-1 or DV-2 formats depending upon which one your video-editing package prefers. WinDV also lets you upload video back to the camera.
Then to edit, the Avid Free DV
package is one of the better NLE packages out there, and FREE too!
Last edited by Mothra; 07-27-06 at 02:20 AM.