About: This is
a Primer on Using Paint to Make Text Images for PhotoStory....
and it includes a usual mini-tutorial.
Now that the SP2 hurdle is over for a while... it's back to the planned
topics. In this newsletter, I'll make a photo story with:
• an opening picture with text, as an alternate to using the built-in
title feature of PhotoStory
• closing credits text... watch for it in the sample story
• .... and some text clips mixed into the story with the usual pictures
Before getting into it, here's a few notes about some things going
• Feedback from people upgrading to SP2 and MM2.1
is generally positive. That's my own experience also on the 4 computers in my house that we upgraded
before the automatic upgrade process kicked in. Yesterday, a couple more started the auto download
The only hiccup so far was on my 6+ year old Dell laptop, which experienced
total system freezing when doing a number of things in MM2.1.... all resolved by reading my website's
Problem Solving section and reducing the hardware acceleration setting to the third notch.
• I have an advanced copy of new Creative Zen Portable Media
Center to check out. It's a player for music, pictures, and video with
a 320x240 pixel display.
It's truly plug-and-play. Within minutes of connecting it to a USB
port on my Toshiba laptop, I was copying music, pictures and video files. The video files include
recorded TV shows, movies from Movie Maker projects, and photo stories. Here's a picture of the
new device and my laptop as they play the sample story for this newsletter:
Portable Media Center and Toshiba Laptop
The larger screen of the laptop is playing the 800x600 story at full
size in WMP10 beta.... the Creative Zen is playing the same story at 320x240. When syncing, a new
320x240 video is rendered from the larger one and then copied to the Zen.
There are much nicer pictures of the Creative Zen on the internet....
I was trying more to show you the story playing on the two units. Here's a good site about the units
Here are a couple sample videos I made to demo the Creative Zen playing
some Movie Maker videos. The first is the resort I'll be at in another week shooting a wedding video
- the couple in the video sample are the parents of the bride. The second sample is a video of my
grands, combined with a clip from a RiverDance show at the Epcot Center a few years ago.
• It didn't take long for Justin Murphy to drop the curtain on his
first efforts to organize an online Movie Maker film festival. But he's putting
the website space obtained for it to good use, to show us some of his works.
Justin's efforts are commendable, both the starting and the stopping.
The internet is such a great place. Try something and, if it doesn't work, move on to something
else. There's no end to what you can do.
• I added the 2nd advanced PhotoStory topic to my
PhotoStory website, this one about 'streaming' stories. Someone asked if they could
stream them as we do Movie Maker WMV files. As the Image codec is used by PhotoStory, I tested it
first to be sure. It worked great.... an 800x600 steaming story made from high definition pictures,
with music included, needs only a bit rate of 159Kbps. See the sample and info on the PhotoStory
....on to the topic of the week
Text in photo stories
The text option in PhotoStory is limited to a minimal
amount of text on a title screen. That's it!!! And the title page is limited to 320x240 pixels,
which results in black borders when saving the overall story at a higher resolution. Work around
it by using text on pictures instead of the title feature.
No closing credits, and no text effects throughout the story.... but
it's easy to add your own.
In this tutorial, I won't use any of the text aspects of PhotoStory.
I'll add text to some still pictures and use them in PhotoStory instead.
I'll also use Movie Maker to extract some pictures
and the audio needed for the story, IrfanView to resize the still pictures, and
our trusty Paint utility to add the text.
The other day I made a 35 second clip of a seagull from some camcorder
footage at Saugatuck... it's the new one on the Do Amazing Things > Part I > Getting Started page.
Here's a link to the page:
Click on the picture of the seagull to view the video clip. It was
made in Movie Maker and saved as a 640x480 video.
In the newsletter tutorial, I'll make a story from that video. The
video is 640x480.... let's do the story at 800x600.
Text in a PhotoStory
This tutorial is relatively straight forward. All I'm doing is making
an introductory clip to be used as the lead-in to a movie...
.... PhotoStory can't handle video source files, but the quality of
the stories made with still pictures and the panning/zooming features are superior to what you can
achieve with Movie Maker. As the opening clip of a movie is so important and the text is vital to
it, making such a clip with PhotoStory is a good option.
I'll put it together using the duration of the overall sound track
from the video clip as a constraint, and tweak the durations of the still pictures to suit.
I'll get the audio track and the still pictures for the story by using
Movie Maker, saving the audio track from the video to a new audio file, and then taking snapshots
of various frames.
Get the Audio
I imported the seagull clip into MM2 and put it on the Audio/Music
track. With only audio in the project....
From the MM2 Seagull Video Clip
.... saving the movie gets you an audio WMA file for the story....
I picked High Quality Audio from the MM2 saving choices. It's 37-1/3 seconds long, which fixes the
overall length of the story.
Note that none of the sound track was from the original camcorder
footage.... instead, there's some wind and waves sound effects from a Sound Dogs package, and a
computer-generated music clip from Pinnacle Studio 8 (using MM2 to capture it as a narration file
as I previewed it in Studio 8). I did the work for the clip last week, so no reason to redo it for
Get and Prep the Still Pictures - Resize them to Avoid Blackness
For the still images, I imported the clip that had the soft oval lighting
effect of a Pixelan package, and took about 10 snapshots with the seagull's head
at different angles.
MM2 automatically saved them as 640x480 JPG files. For the highest
pixel dimensions, be sure to take such snapshots in the collection, not the timeline.
The table of picture sizes on the Gather Pictures > Intro page of
my PhotoStory website tells you the minimum picture size needed to avoid blackness
when panning pictures for an 800x600 story.... it's 1066x800. I'll use that size to avoid black
edges. And I'll work with the pictures in BMP format so as not to lose any quality by further JPG
compression during the remaining steps.
I used IrfanView's batch conversion feature to get
the set of files. IrfanView's resampling results in better quality than you get in Paint, and the
batch process produced a set of BMP files at the higher resolution in just a few seconds. Paint
would be good enough for a Movie Maker project, but better source image quality goes a long way
Here's part of the first image before and after the enlarging, just
so you can see the relative sizes between the smaller starting pictures from the video and the larger
ones used for the story.
Before and After
Once resized, it's time to add text to some of them....
I'll use the same words as in the MM2 video clip, and the same Palatino
Linotype font. With Paint, you can position the text wherever you want. See how I kind of justified
the text at the right to wrap around the contour of the seagull.... easy to do in Paint.
The still pictures are missing the movements of the water and gull...
features of the video, so I'm looking for anything that can enhance the comparable clip in the story.
When done, I'm hoping the clips are comparable in overall viewing impact.... by using the best features
of each app. Effective use of text with some panning/zooming can go a long way in an introductory
Once I had the resized images and text on some of them, it was time
Make the Story
.... put them together in PhotoStory, adjusting the pans and zooms
so the pictures flow from one to another, and the duration of each is such that the total story
is the same as the video clip previously made by MM2.
Putting it together
The last 3 pictures in the story were made by placing text on a plain
black image.... the clip from MM2 faded to text on black and I wanted the story to do the same.
Add the Sound Track and Render the Story
I added the sound track ripped from the MM2 clip by Movie Maker, and
rendered the story using the custom 800x600 resolution.
The story file size weighed in at 1.6 MB versus the 7.4 MB size of
the 640x480 clip made by MM2. Another example of the higher visual quality of a photo story at considerably
less file size. Here's a link to the finished story.
PhotoStory and Movie Maker are related but different tools.... get
to know each as well as you can, and go back and forth between the two. What you can't do easily
in one, maybe you can in the other.
Note that, for this tutorial, I started with Movie Maker, not PhotoStory....
and the finished PhotoStory clip would find its way back into Movie Maker if it's used as the intro
for a movie.
I've been using file size to note differences between videos saved
by PhotoStory and Movie Maker. You should also note the bitrate differences.... in this case 160
Kbps for the story and 1.66 Mbps for the MM2 video.
And don't forget that I used IrfanView for better
quality resampling, something that's most important when resampling from lower to higher resolution....
and for its easy batch process feature. And Paint for it's easy to use text feature.
Of course you can use your other favorite image and text utilities to resize and add text....
I look forward to comments and discussion about this and other newsletters
on the forums at:
Have a great week!!!
Movie Maker 2 -
Photo Story 2 -
I'm involved in many things that support users of Movie Maker and
PhotoStory, and adding more daily. Here's a list of what is available to the public. Some are free
and others are reasonably priced.
Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things
(with its online companion on
Movie Maker 2 - Zero to Hero (with support on the Friends of Ed forum
The 14 hacks that I wrote for a new O'Reilly book about Windows Media
Hacks are in the editing phase.
When ordering these books or anything else from Amazon, I'd appreciate
you using the links on the main page of
www.papajohn.org - I get some income from Amazon that way, and it doesn't cost you any more.
It'll help keep most of my services free.
Movie Maker 2 -
www.papajohn.org - two goals: to help you solve problems, and to be the online
companion to the Do Amazing Things book... and currently thinking of another goal of movie making
and editing styles.
PhotoStory 2 -
www.photostory.papajohn.org - a full tutorial about using it. It's not a problem-solving
Online Support - Forums, Channels and Newsgroups
I'm a regular at many
online forums and newsgroups, the main ones being:
Movie Maker 2 and PhotoStory 2 forums at
Movie Maker 2 forum at SimplyDV.com
The new (July 2004) Media Channel at Lockergnome:
Movie Maker newsgroup at microsoft.public.windowsxp.moviemaker
PhotoStory newsgroup at microsoft.public.plus
Weekly Movie Maker 2/PhotoStory 2 newsletter. Subscribing is free
via the link on the main page of
Tentative topics for upcoming newsletters (subject to change): A series
of primers about utilities used in conjunction with Movie Maker and PhotoStory.
#16 - A Primer on Using Virtual Dub with Movie Maker
#17 - (Open)
Older newsletters are archived, with a few weeks delay, by Rob Morris
Transition Maker 2
(TM2) - a utility to make the ultimate in personal and custom transitions for Movie Maker 2:
TM2 is a joint effort by Patrick Leabo, the programmer, and myself.
I routinely beta test the Pixelan packages and think
very highly of their people and products: Their SpiceFX packages of additional transitions and effects
for Movie Maker 2 are available at:
If you can't save a movie because your project has become too
complex, e-mail it to me and I'll divide it into manageable sub-projects for you, and provide
detailed instructions to render the parts and assemble them into your final movie. $49.95 - for
details, see the sidebar on the Problem Solving > Can't Save a Movie page of
Movie Maker 2/Photo Story 2 training and support services
start at $50 per hour - email
PapaJohn@CharterMi.net and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with
you to plan and implement them.
PapaJohn's Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 Newsletter Index
About John 'PapaJohn' Buechler from Microsoft.com
||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
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
Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup and in the Windows
Movie Makers Forums.
newsletter is republished with permission of John "PapaJohn" Buechler. To subscribe
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