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I have recorded videos using a GoPro, which produces MP4 files containing H.264 encoded videos.

I would like to do some simple editing tasks on these videos without losing quality:-

  • Cut various scenes together
  • Change soundtrack

I'm using Windows XP Pro so I have Windows Movie Maker which seems like it should be sufficient but can not read the MP4 files that I have.

Can I install a codec to allow WMM to read the MP4 files?

Can I convert from MP4 to something that WMM reads?

Is there a different video editing program that I should use?

Free software would be preferable, but I'm willing to pay if it's a superior solution.

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You definitely need a codec pack. CCCP for example. –  slhck Nov 26 '11 at 10:28
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I have never really used Windows Movie Maker, so I don't know much about its limitations. It seems like you should be able to install a codec (provided by, say, ffmpeg/libavcodec) and have the software use it, since that's the way other video editing software I've used has worked, but I don't know.

I have used Avidemux for this kind of thing before, though, and I found it quite easy to use (and it's free/libre open source software).

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