Rotating movie files is too hard

Most cameras sold today have some sort of movie mode. They take decent movies with sound, but what about if you had the camera turned on its side while you took the movie?

None of the programs I’ve see that handle photos will rotate movies like they rotate photos. I was trying to show my parents how to do this with their movies recently and it’s way too complicated. Here’s the steps, assuming you have an AVI file somewhere on your hard drive you need to rotate.

  1. Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > Windows Movie Maker
  2. Import Video
  3. Drag movie clip to first slot in timeline at the bottom
  4. Menu: Tools – Video Effects
  5. Scroll down to Rotate 90 or Rotate 180 or Rotate 180
  6. Drag the Effect onto the movie in the timeline
  7. Menu: File – Save Move File
  8. Select My Computer
  9. Save to wherever you want
  10. Use the default for a small-size video. Select Other settings: DV-AVI for a big, high quality movie
  11. Hit Next, wait for the movie to finish saving
  12. Close Windows Movie Maker. Don’t save the project.
  13. Run Adobe Photoshop Album (or whatever photo management program you use)
  14. Menu: File – Get Photos – From Files and Folders
  15. Find and Open the movie you created

Besides this being incredibly cumbersome, it doesn’t preserve the original format or quality of the original AVI file. There must be a better way. Anyone know of one?


  1. Check the software which came with your camera – your answer may be there.

    I use a Mac and Canon cameras and Canon’s own Mac software (as opposed to Apple’s iMovie) provides the rotate movie option. It’s something I’ve only used once, but it certainly did the job and gave me all the output options and quality available through QuickTime. The application only provides limited movie editing facilities in general, but I wouldn’t use it for that – just the rotating and exporting.

    I hope this helps…

  2. Gary’s answer is spot-on! Especially since I have a Mac and don’t feel like paying to upgrade to Quicktime Pro, just to rotate a little movie I took with my digital camera!

  3. Wow! Thank you so much for posting this! Even though it is tedious, I am willing to use Windows Movie Maker to rotate my movies. Your blog has been the most help that I have found all over the internet, considering that I don’t have Quicktime Pro, and didn’t want to download some random program that I didn’t trust to do the job. Anyway, thanks again! =)

  4. THANK you! I just found your blog in a Google search. I keep forgetting not to turn my camera when I’m doing video, so this is very helpful for the few I want to share with friends! It’s a little stretched, but better than having to turn your head… or monitor!

  5. wow jeff i was about to lose my patiens to, till i found your (for me after downlaoding and trying several programms) a fairly easy way to rotate them damn things lol
    much love and respect,
    wana 🙂

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