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Using Photo Story 2

PapaJohn
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PapaJohn's Newsletter #114

Organizing Still Pictures Before Importing


Leap-frogging pictures in a Photo Story project one position at a time, with small thumbnails and no file names, isn't the easiest task. And for the many users making enhanced slide-shows in Movie Maker, the efforts are only a tad easier.

Newsgroups are full of posts asking about how to organize pictures before importing. Vista has a new 'Photo Gallery' app to help in the future. Google has the Picasa app. Whatever you use, staging your pictures the right way before importing makes your project work a lot easier... and it's the right place to do it. We're not talking about cropping or fixing the images, simply arranging them so they can flow into a movie or story project as a batch... with you having confidence they're sorted your way.

Yves Alaire is a regular supporter of the microsoft.public.windowsxp.photos newsgroup. Over time he had developed a lengthy FAQ type response to the posters. About 6 weeks I offered to put the info into a website page, and did it without a detailed review, just with confidence in Yves' expertise. Here's the page as it exists today:

Organize Pictures

Hurry and check it, as it'll probably change right after you get this newsletter. For sure I'll be adding some images to illustrate the text.

Yves recommends the Picasa software from Google. That's something I tried a while back, but uninstalled for some reason, one of which I remember being it was 'too virtual' for me... what the Vista Photo Gallery will be like.

For this newsletter I'll download and install the latest version of Picasa and go through Yves suggestions.

... before getting into it further, a few notes...


Notes...

A forum post a few days ago was from someone who couldn't use one of my custom Movie Maker profiles. I did some checking and found a number of them for Movie Maker no longer worked on my laptop. The error message said the codec wasn't installed.

Something behind the scenes had changed. It turned out that all of the profiles that used the Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile video codec had stopped. I revised them to use the standard Windows Media Video 9 codec instead.... if you find a profile not working, download a fresh copy and try again.

I don't know what caused the change. I was able to get the codec back by reinstalling WMP10, but I'm assuming the change will happen again and it's best not to be using the Advanced Profile codec when it does.


My first for-sale video on Google Video... submitted May 3... still has the status of "Video is verified; stay tuned - it will be live shortly"... it's been almost 3 months in the queue to be online.


Vista Corner... it's time to download another build... 5472 is on the way down.


Tech Smith offered free copies of SnagIt (screen capture - still pix), DubIt (audio editor) and Camtasia Studio (screen capture - video clips) to all MVPs... I've installed them and starting to put them to good use.

.... back to the main topic...


Picasa Software

I thought at first I'd be using Picasa as part of the newsletter, but it didn't turn out that way. It's for a related but different topic, maintaining your library of files.

The first step to Picasa is to download the 5 MB setup file. The installation goes to a new C:\Program Files\Picasa2 folder.

Within a couple minutes, after 3 security warnings from my Norton Antivirus software, Picasa was off and running taking an inventory of my C drive. It used about 90 MB of my 2 GB of RAM, and about 5% of my CPU as it did the initial inventory while I did other things...

The initial inventory didn't take as long as I thought it would... about 15 minutes. Maybe it was too easy a task as my library of multimedia items is mostly on external drives.

It's easy to then get mesmerized looking through the things it found on the hard drive... or having fun in Picasa's timeline view.

Video files are included in the inventory but not audio.

It's great to see your inventory in a nice layout... sharp thumbnails with drop shadows. But the time-based sorting doesn't align with my topical thinking when it comes to a library of info. My main interest isn't usually in the date a picture was taken or obtained. 

Let's move on to the staging of pictures for use in a movie or story project.


Naming Folders...

Yves recommends organizing folders with pictures by creating a new folder for each group of pictures, and including dates and events in the folder names... with underscore characters instead of blanks. One of his example folders is:

2004_12_25_Christmas

He says that naming folders by year, month, day and then event will make them easy to find. Maybe... I'm not good at remembering dates, not even the year. Most of my library of still pictures are grouped by themes or subject. But I'll go along with the guidance to see how it works out.

I used my digital camcorder's still picture feature to take some snapshots as the starting point for this exercise. They go on a memory stick, with file names shown at the right.

Let's assume the folder is for a particular project.


Organizing Photos in the Folder

This is the key part of the guidance, as the goal is to have the photos going into your Movie Maker and Photo Story projects in the sequence you want.

I followed the guidance on the website page and renamed the folder to add the date... and elaborated on the pictures being for newsletter 114. The revised folder name is:

Renamed Folder

Yves suggests copying the photos you want to use into a new folder... I agree with doing the copying if the pictures for a project are coming from your library of pictures, ones you want to keep long-term. When the project is finished you can delete the folder without effecting the longer-term library.

My exercise is with a batch of pix with no long-term redeeming value, so I didn't move them from the camcorder memory stick to my library, and then copy them to the project folder. They went right into the project folder.


Renamed FilesHere's a pretty neat step... my old habit of using Total Commander for renaming files didn't support this kind of process.

Windows Explorer did it the way Yves says... using (1) Control-A to select all files in a folder, (2) right click the first one and opt to rename, (3) add the name and numeric suffix, (4) press Enter. The renamed files cascade down.

With just this short list, I tried renaming with the suffix being (1), then (01)... nope, they almost worked but not good enough.... using a 3 digit number such as 101, 201, etc. worked best. You can see from the list at the left that starting with any 3 digit number works well.

The brackets in the name are the key to XP treating the list as a sequential one... if it wasn't it would have done something like starting with 114 and going from there when it saw the newsletter number.

It's vital to have a space before the opening bracket, or it'll just rename the first file...

You can't rename the group at the left to start with (309) because there's already a file in the group that uses that number. If you really wanted to have the group start with (309) rename them to something like (101) and then back to starting with (309). Each renaming is quick and easy... give it a whirl.


Re-sequencing is easily done using either of two views

The Filmstrip view looks like you're in Photo Story, but works better. It lets you drag a picture by skipping over multiple ones, not one at a time.

 

Rearranging Pix

The filmstrip view might be better to work with when you want to see a larger image of a selected picture... most of the time you don't need it, and you can see lots more thumbnails at the same time by using the Thumbnails view, shown below.

You can drag and drop the thumbnails wherever you like.

Once they are sequenced how you like them, do the batch renaming/numbering process before changing views, and they'll be numbered appropriately.


And if that's not enough... and it never is when new situations warrant more.

Go to the detail view, right click on the header for the first column... the Name... and choose more columns to see in the view.

Details

Click the header for any column to sort it in one direction, and click it again to sort it the opposite way.


The Final Step... Into a Movie Maker or Photo Story Project

With the pictures sorted the way you want them in a project, select them all in a file manager (Control-A keys in Windows Explorer or Total Commander) and drag/drop them as a batch into a Movie Maker collection or a Photo Story project. They'll be sorted in the sequence you want.


Conclusions and Closing

I knew from reading all the posts on the microsoft.public.windowsxp.photos newsgroup that Yves Alaire had lots more experience than I did when it comes to naming and organizing still pictures. His suggestions are top notch.

There's more guidance on the website page than I included here. I'm going over just enough to help you appreciate the sorting you can do in XP, if you're not already using it as your primary sorting and sequencing utility.

This exercise was great... and as often happens I learn a lot more than I expected to when I started. I'll be updating the website page with some images to illustrate the text.

I started this newsletter with Picasa but never really got back to it... it's on my laptop but not yet part of my routine way of handling images or video files.


External Drives

I have 3 USB2 external drives connected to my laptop, with my multimedia library of pictures, video clips, music, etc. After writing the newsletter using a folder on my C drive, I tried to use Windows Explorer to browse the folders on the external drives, and it automatically crashed/closed each time.

The message included something about 'Data Execution Prevention' DEP.... which led me to exploring the window at the left. You get to it via Control Panel > System > Advanced > Performance Settings > Data Execution Prevention.

Data Exection Prevention

The default setting was the first option of using DEP for essential Windows programs and services.

I changed it to the next option which allowed me to select Windows Explorer as an app that won't use DEP.

That resolved the issue. Now I can do the same kind of browsing and organizing of the folders on my external drives.

I checked another computer that has a number of external drives. It had the DEP feature but didn't exhibit any issues when working with a folder on one.... I wonder why the difference!!


With our vacation to Europe less than a month away, I'm phasing out of newsgroup and forum postings for a while... and I won't be issuing newsletters while traveling.

But Movie Maker and Photo Story will be on my mind as I shoot video on the 40 mini-DV tapes I'll be bringing... and using the 2 megapixel snapshot feature of the camcorder to put still pix on its memory stick.


I look forward to comments and discussion about this and other newsletters on the forums at:

Windows Movie Makers.net

Have a great week...

PapaJohn

Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 - www.papajohn.org
Photo Story 2 - www.photostory.papajohn.org


Products and Services

I'm involved in many things that support users of Movie Maker and Photo Story, and adding more regularly. Some are free and others reasonably priced.


Radio and Podcasting

theDVShowTheDVShow is the only weekly Podcast having more useful information about desktop video editing and production than anywhere else on the Web. Digital video editing, nonlinear editing, streaming media, software releases, tutorials, business tips, technical help, download of the day and news on the latest products to make everything easier. It's where professional and consumer desktop video users go to stay on the cutting edge.

Call the phone mail machine to get your technical question answered on the air... call (206)-203-3516

The radio broadcast is from Boston, and the website has downloadable podcast files. The June 19th 2005 podcast was the first 'bi-weekly' show with a segment about Movie Maker 2.


Do Amazing ThingsBooks and Magazines

Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things (with its online companion on www.papajohn.org), published by Microsoft Press...

Movie Maker 2 - Zero to Hero - with support on the publisher's forum - Friends of Ed

MaximumPC's winter 2005 quarterly special... had a 7 page tutorial 'Make a Killer Home Movie with Maker 2'. The special edition of the video made for it is now on my website as a file download.

The November 2005 edition of Maximum PC had a well done reworked 6 page reprint of the same article, starting on page 42 after the Happy 20th Birthday article for Windows.

My new 7 page tutorial about Photo Story 3 is in the Summer Special edition of Maximum PC, now on newsstands in the USA and Canada.... the sample story is on the magazine's disc.

Virtual DubLearning VirtualDub - published by Packt Publishing in April 2005, is the first book about VirtualDub software. I wrote the introductory chapter about downloading and setting up the software: VirtualDub, VDubMod and AVISynth.


Websites

Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 - www.papajohn.org - the site's 3 goals are: Doing Amazing Things, a detailed tutorial for PhotoStory 3, and helping you solve Movie Maker 2 problems.

It's being expanded to include the new version of Movie Maker in Vista.

PhotoStory 2 - www.papajohn.org/photostory2/PS2.html - a detailed tutorial about using the earlier version.


Online Support - Forums and Newsgroups

I'm a regular on many online forums and newsgroups, the key ones being:

Forums are open to all for viewing, but require registration of those who want to post. Moderators actively participate to ensure the forum discussions move forward and stay on track.

Movie Maker and Photo Story forums at Windows Movie Makers

Movie Maker 2 forum at SimplyDV.com

Newsgroups are wide open for all to view and post... moderation is collective by the participants.

Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup - microsoft.public.windowsxp.moviemaker

Photo Story 2 newsgroup - microsoft.public.plus

Photo Story 3 newsgroup - microsoft.public.windowsxp.photos


Weekly Newsletters

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story newsletter. The subscription is $20 for 52 issues, and the link to subscribe is on the main page of my Movie Maker website at:

www.papajohn.org

Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):

#115 - August 5 - open

#116 - August 12 - open

#116 - August 19 - open

Aug 26 to Sept 20 - vacation...

Newsletters issued more than 6 weeks ago are posted by Rob Morris to an Archive Site on his Windows Movie Makers' website. Links from my website pages to specific newsletters make it easier for viewers to see the content of both while browsing a topic.

Drop an email to suggest a newsletter topic... I can use more requests rather than fewer.


Software

Add-On Transitions and Effects

Transition Maker 2 (TM2) is a utility for the ultimate in making your own personal and custom transitions for Movie Maker 2. It's a joint product from Patrick Leabo, the programmer, and myself.

I've beta tested some of the Pixelan packages and think very highly of their people and products.

ProDAD's Adorage packages for Movie Maker 2 are  additional sources of very professionally developed transitions and effects. And here are the links

TransiitonsEffectsPackage for Movie Maker - Volume 1

PapaJohn's Transitions - Volume 2

PapaJohn's Video Effects - Volume 3


Personal Database

With more info to manage, consider additional tools that help.

My personal database has been an ongoing project over many years, and is now available to others. A tutorial about using it is on the Managing > Personal Database page of my site, and more info is in the database package itself.

It's free for the asking to regular newsletter subscribers... send an email request and I'll return it with the zipped file, which is less than 1 MB.

To others it's $10. To order, use the button on the top of the Managing > Personal Database page.


Online GalleryNeptune Gallery

An online gallery that fully aligns with the main priority of the website is the 'PapaJohn Expert Zone' at neptune.

Check it at Neptune and the Distributing > Neptune page of the website, where there's a developing tutorial about how to use the service.


Training

In conjunction with the Portage, Michigan library, I offer two free training sessions about Movie Maker and Photo Story, an intro session and a workshop. Scheduled sessions are:

(Summer Break... will re-start in October)

The classroom has a large screen overhead projection system... and individual laptops for each attendee to use. You learn by doing, with a little guidance from me.


Other fee-based services

If you can't save a movie because your project has become too complex, e-mail a copy and I'll divide it into manageable sub-projects, and provide detailed instructions about how to render the parts and assemble them into your final movie. $49.95 (no cost if it's not the right solution or doesn't work) - for details, see the sidebar on the Problem Solving > Can't Save a Movie page of www.papajohn.org

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story training and support services start at $75 per hour - send an email - PapaJohn@CharterMi.net and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with you to plan and implement them.

Wedding combo website/video packages - check the bottom branch of the Movie Maker 2 website for a sample of what you can expect for the online portion of the package.


© 2006 - PapaJohn; Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

About John 'PapaJohn' Buechler from Microsoft.com
John 'PapaJohn' Buechler John "PapaJohn" Buechler, of Kalamazoo, Mich., goes by PapaJohn online. An avid user of Movie Maker since its first release, and a regular supporter of the community of Movie Maker users, John received a 2003 MVP award from Microsoft for that support. In March 2003, he started a comprehensive website about Movie Maker 2 at www.PapaJohn.org. He maintains the website, writes books and articles, teaches, and provides support services - all for the community of Movie Maker 2 users. An engineer by formal education, John is a computer database and multimedia expert by business and personal experience. He co-authored the first book about Movie Maker 2 and is actively working on a second one. You can find his advice in the Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup and in the Windows Movie Makers Forums.

This newsletter is republished with permission of John "PapaJohn" Buechler.
Please note that this is an archive of newsletters and some information may become outdated. PapaJohn, and the webmaster of this site, provides this information "AS IS" with no warranties.

Visit - PapaJohn's Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 Newsletter Index

 

 

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Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.