Windows Movie Maker tips, tutorials, forums and more...

Visit the Windows Movie Maker forums

Community Forums

Getting Started
Learn Movie Maker 2
Capture Video
Improve Video Capture
Saving Projects

Editing Video
Video Editing
Video Trimming
Video Effects
Using Transitions

Adding Sounds
Adding Music
Adding Narration
Multiple Audio Tracks
Controlling Volume

Taking Pictures
Making Slideshows
Advanced Titles
Photo Story 3

Exporting Movies
Saving Movies
CD-Rom Backup
Create a DVD

More Articles
All Articles
Movie Maker 2 Review
Movie Maker Tutorials
What are Codecs?
Streaming Video
Create a Movie CD
Using Photo Story 2

MM2 Newsletter Archive

Download Windows Media Player 11

Digital Media BooksView Books about Digital Media

PapaJohn's Newsletter #26

Tutorial: 'Photo Story 3' and 'Movie Maker 2' Working Together


Since Microsoft's announcement of Photo Story 3 last week, I've been expanding the new website section for it. My focus will be on MM2 and PS3 together rather than on Photo Story 3 by itself... how to get the best from both, using them to do things you can't with either one by itself. I'll roll that focus into my newsletters too, starting with this one.


I've been reading rave articles and posts about Photo Story 3, and others from those bumping into startup issues or wishing it had more or better features. The issues being uncovered by users moving to PS3, Windows XP SP2, WMP10, and MM2.1, all over a short period. That's the way software evolution goes. All software has good and poor features, strengths and limitations. We learn about some by reading, and some by experimenting.... I check the items and share the information with you... 


The sample for this week's tutorial is a 50 second video clip, the kind you'd use as the opening clip of a vacation video. It's a Movie Maker 2 video that uses a Photo Story 3 source file, but wraps it with the newspaper text animation and a couple video clips. I rendered the sample at 640x480. Start by taking a look at it:


Tutorial Sample - Snapshot


Before getting into the tutorial, here's a few notes about some things going on...





This Issue is the last for those who don't convert their free subscriptions to a paid one. See the main page of for a link to sign up.


A $20 paid subscription is for 52 issues, not a calendar year.


If you'd rather send a check instead of using PayPal, send an email to and I'll send you my address. About 1/4 of those signing up have opted to use a check.


• I mentioned last week that I'd be checking the proDAD Adorage package for Movie Maker 2, with special effects and transitions. I found it very well done and I'll be adding link(s) to it on the website.... maybe going even further than that.


• One of the issues users will face with Photo Story 3 is that the version of the Media Series 9 Image codec used to render the wmv file is v2. You can see it by checking the properties of a saved video. Photo Story 2 renders videos with properties that show an earlier version. What does that mean?


For starters, if you're using Sonic's MyDVD 4.5 to make DVDs, you'll notice that stories from PS2 can be used fine but stories from PS3 won't work. You get an error message. A report from someone using MyDVD 6 says they import fine with that version.


I've written to Microsoft and Sonic to get some info about which versions of Sonic's DVD software support the new version of the codec, and if there will be a patch for users of MyDVD 4.5.



....on to the topic of the week



Photo Story 3 with Movie Maker 2 - Tutorial


The strengths of Photo Story 3 include it's ability to zoom into a specific point on an image, and the way it optimizes the video quality... using as many pixels as possible from a high quality source file. The tutorial example will illustrate these features.


Movie Maker strengths include it's ability to combine a Photo Story with other video clips... and its great text effects. Have you ever met someone who doesn't love the neat newspaper text animation? We'll use an even better take-off on that animation.


Let's put together the clip you viewed at the beginning. First the theme. I've seen many posts asking how to make a video in which a dotted line appears on a map to show where you're going or where you've been. A good subject for an intro to a travel vacation video.



Step 1 - Round up Source Files - I wanted a large image... lots of pixels.... because I know how well Photo Story 3 can handle them. With the travel theme in mind, I rounded up a few things from my book and clip libraries:

  • The 1875 edition of a Chambers encyclopedia in my family room had a nice map of the Eastern part of the United States... the part that includes Kalamazoo. I scanned it at full size and got a 2550x3523 pixel image. I figured it was OK from a copyright standpoint to use a copy of a 129 year old map.
  • Two avi files downloaded from the Internet Archives... file #07924 'Great Railroads at Work' and #10150, a documentary about the Civil War.... I wanted a couple train clips with audio. When I downloaded them, the web site offered two file formats - Divx avi and MPEG-2. I see that the options are changing with time, but still basically Divx and MPEG-2. The Divx files acted a little quirky in Movie Maker, but I got through this small project without having to convert them first.
  • A couple pictures from my stock library, one the 'Do Amazing Things' book cover, and the other a picture of our old station wagon as we took for a family vacation in 1980... to drive around the country in 30 days.
  • A copy of the news.png file from the c:\Program Files\Movie Maker\Shared folder. This is the image used by Movie Maker 2 when you apply the newspaper text animation. I'll tweak it a bit for this tutorial.


Step 2 - Prep Source files - the map and newspaper files needed some prepping before using in the story or movie. I needed to mark up the map picture to show the path followed. And I needed to customize the news.png file.


Map Pix - The starting unmarked map image is east-00.jpg. I opened it in Paint and added markings using the paint brush, one stroke at a time, saving a new image after each stroke. I numbered the new files from east-01.jpg to east-10.jpg. I didn't go all around the country with the map pictures as I would have if it was for real... but I'd break the clip up and use a segment at a time as the movie progressed. The 1875 map didn't show the interstate highways we took... it highlighted the railroad tracks, the reason I used video clips of trains.


By numbering them in sequence, I can drag them as a batch and drop them into Photo Story's film strip, and they'll go on in the right order.


Create Set of Map Images -Marked


Set of Files from Paint



news.png - After last week's newsletter, a reader emailed to say you can revise the news.png file in the c:\Program Files\Movie Maker\Shared folder, and Movie Maker would use the revised image in the newspaper text effect..... you sure can!!! I wanted to demo it for you.


Before you try it, be sure to make a backup copy of the original file so you can go back to it.


I opened the news.png file in Paint and tweaked it a bit, adding some text and two pictures. I used IrfanView to open the 2 pictures and then did a copy/paste from it to Paint. In retrospect, I probably should have converted the two pictures to sepia-toned in IrfanView, to better fit with the old railroad theme.


As soon as a picture is pasted into Paint, move and resize it before doing anything else.... or you'll find it fully pasted into the wrong spot or at the wrong size. If you accidentally do that, just do an Edit > Undo in Paint, and return to IrfanView to start over.


Custom News.png file 


Customized News.png File




Step 3 - Make a Story with the series of map pictures. Drag and drop the pack from your file manager into Photo Story.


Map Pictures in Photo Story


Story from Map Pictures



I didn't do anything more in Photo Story than tell it what place on the map to zoom into - Kalamazoo, and where to pan from there. You can see from the above figure that I used 2 second durations for most of the pictures... that controls the pace that each added mark is revealed as the video plays. Looking back, I probably should have used 1 second intervals rather than 2, but you get the idea.


The saved story was 41 seconds in duration, a 2.2 MB file... no music or text because I can do those better in Movie Maker, just zooming and panning. I saved it using a 640x480 profile.



Step 4 - Make the Video Clip in Movie Maker 2.


Here's the timeline view of this tutorial project. I used a railroad clip at the beginning and end, and the Photo Story between them.


When previewing, I thought the markings on the map were going too slow, so I split the story on the timeline and overlapped the two clips a bit to help move it along. 


The Timeline in Movie Maker 2


Movie Project


I used the newspaper text animation twice. It's a new thing to play with so I wanted to show it off. If this was the intro of a real vacation movie, I'd probably use just the first one... in fact I'd do the whole thing over using the real vacation route and theme rather than a made-up one.





I want to thank those who signed up for the free subscription but opting not to continue with the paid one. Your encouragement over the past 6 months, and your responses to the poll I took in issue #10, have helped me define what the newsletter is evolving into.


For those who are continuing, I appreciate your willingness to pay for some information when there's so much of it freely available on the internet. I really enjoy doing these newsletters and haven't missed one issue in 6 months. No matter what the topic, it forces me to refresh my setup, test it some more, and learn it more fully, as I write it sitting in a big cushy chair at Barnes & Noble. With a smaller subscriber base, it'll be easier for me to cover the topics you most want.... as always, continue to send suggestions.


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 -

Photo Story 3 -



Products and Services


I'm involved in many things that support the 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.



Books and Magazines:


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 at


MaximumPC's winter quarterly special - tutorial 'Make a Killer Flick with Movie Maker 2'. The issue will be on newsstands December 7th and be there for 3 months. 






Movie Maker 2 - - 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 - - a full tutorial about using it. It's not a problem-solving site. 


PhotoStory 3 - - there's a new major branch at the bottom of it, which is only starting to be rolled out.



Online Support - Forums, Channels and Newsgroups


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



Movie Maker 2 and PhotoStory 2 forums at





Movie Maker 2 forum at


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


Photo Story 2 newsgroup


Photo Story 3 newsgroup



Weekly Newsletter:


Movie Maker 2/PhotoStory 2 newsletter. The annual subscription fee is $20 and the link to subscribe is on the main page of my Movie Maker website at:


Tentative topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):


#27 - Third party and custom special transitions and effects


#28 - Open


#29 - Follow-up on Photo Story 3... what's been learned about it since its release a month ago


Older newsletters (those more than 4 weeks old) are archived by Rob Morris at:





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:



Other fee-based services:


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 me at and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with you to plan and implement them.


Wedding website/video packages start at $2,500 + travel expenses. See for a sample.


About John 'PapaJohn' Buechler from
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 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



Download more Movie Maker Effects!

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