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PapaJohn's Newsletter #63

Photo Story 3 - Saving Projects and Stories

Photo Story 3 is one of those software apps that strives to a achieve an elegant clean simple and easy to use interface... and for the most part it has done so.

But many users still have questions, and there are places where you might be confused. One of them is the perennial issue about the differences between a project file and a rendered story.

Movie Maker and Photo Story are two of many software apps that have project files separate from rendered outputs... Adobe PhotoShop and Premiere are others. We get so used to working with graphics and video apps that 'render' the finished products from the working project environment that we sometimes don't understand why newbies don't understand the simple concept of 'saving'... '...saving what?...'

Why don't they understand that, to save a finished story, you don't look for a button or menu choice that  says 'Save the Story' or 'Render the Story'... somehow you're supposed to know that the rendering will be done when you use the button marked ' Next >' on one of the working windows... sometimes when you press the button, it'll render the story, but at other times it won't.

I used my usual approach in this newsletter... but supplemented it with my first narrated video... a short one, but a beginning.

... before that, here are a few notes...


I added a new logo and link to the main page of my website... the DV Show... the site/radio show that I'm working with for regular podcasts about Movie Maker 2. Audience reaction has been positive because of the introduction of software available and used by the masses, when their focus had previously been on the higher priced more niche audience software.

Brian, the producer, is great to work with. The two sessions we've done so far gave me the inspiration for the narrated video for this newsletter. Brian has a professional radio host voice... I'm practicing.

It's summertime and I'm back at our usual beach taking video footage of sunsets and seagulls... and reading books about video.

Speaking of video software and books, I'm half way through my 30 day trial period with Adobe's Premiere Elements. Jan Ozer has a great Visual Quick Guide Series book on it... the software, as all of the Adobe software I've used (Photoshop, Premiere, PDF authoring), has more of a learning curve than Movie Maker, but works well. My wife Bernadette does a lot of Photoshop and Painter work... Photoshop is rock solid, while Painter can just evaporate without warning, at most anytime... no error messages to read and no way to recover your work since the last save. The stability of Adobe products is appreciated when you experience things like that.

When Movie Maker users are ready to move up to other software, they ask what they should go to... Premiere Elements seems like a good choice.

.... on to the main topic

Photo Story Projects and Stories

Opening Needs a Project

Begin a Story - or Change a Story Project

You can begin a new story or open an existing project...

You need nothing but some source files waiting in the wings to begin a new one, but to edit an existing one you need a previously saved project... a .wp3 file.  

Save Project Button

Save the New or Changed Story Project at Any Time

At any point in the process... PS3 gives you almost too many opportunities to save your project file... there's a clearly labeled 'Save Project...' button on every main window.

When you start a new story, the button is grayed out and non-functional.

All it takes to make it active is to import your first picture. At that point and anytime after it, you not only have lots of chances to save or resave a project.... Photo Story 3 will try it's best to make you save the latest changed project.... short of doing it for you.

Warnings to Save Your Project

If you haven't opted to use the Save Project.... button on any of the main pages as you build or change your story, you can't deliberately or accidentally close down Photo Story or start another story  without seeing this warning.

Warning to Save Project

The software won't automatically save it for you... if you say "No", it'll let you close down without saving the new or changed project file. A project file contains a full set of all your source pictures and music, so it can be a pretty large commitment of hard drive space to save the project. Think twice before you do, but then do it.

Saving or Rendering Your New or Changed Story

Photo Story reminds me a bit of Monopoly... where, every time you pass 'Go' you automatically collect $200.

In Photo Story, every time you pass the 'Save your story' page, you automatically get a new story. It's the only time you can get it. And, as I mentioned in the introduction, the button you press to save or render the story doesn't say 'Save' or 'Render'.... it says 'Next >'. The Save your story page doesn't have a save your story button or menu choice.

There's one difference with Monopoly... you always get it in the game. In PS3, if you've already rendered a copy of the story and haven't changed a thing in it or the saving choices on this page, then it'll go to the next page without saving or rendering again.

Save Your Story

The change to the story could be as minor as fixing a typo in one word of a title... you'll automatically be set to render the new story when you press the Next > button.

A Possible Confusion Point

There are 2 working windows with special features that could cause confusion: the picture editing window for special effects, and the motion settings window shown below are just slightly smaller than the main PS3 working windows... and have a Save button on them.

Saving Motion Settings

This is to save the picture or motion/transition changes you make in the window, not to save or re-save the project file or the story.

A Little Narrated Video...

With the first two radio/podcast sessions under my belt, I thought I'd try narrating a captured video session to illustrate the points covered in this newsletter.

I found the radio sessions easier, probably because the main commentator was with me in a two way dialogue... this narrating a video thing has you all alone talking to your computer. Here's the link...

it's a 4-1/3 minute video on the neptune hosting service... Newsletter #62 Narrated Video

Conclusions and Closing

I used the Windows Media Encoder to capture the Photo Story 3 video, and imported it into Movie Maker to add narration... with another pass to add background music.

I'm starting to think of other places where similar narrated videos might be much better than text and pictures, or a great supplement to it... like a Picture-in-Picture tutorial, the most looked at newsletters... or using xml files to add a logo or overlying picture. Maybe using a utility like TMPGEnc.

Let me know what you think about the approach and any suggested topics.

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

Windows Movie

Have a great weekend...


Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 -
Photo Story 2 -

Products and Services

I'm involved in many things that support users of Movie Maker and Photo Story, and adding more regularly. Here's a list of what's available. 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 the downloadable podcast files. The June 19th podcast included the first of 'semi-monthly' segments about Movie Maker 2.

Do Amazing ThingsBooks 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

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.

Virtual DubPackt Publishing of Birmingham, U.K. issued the first book about VirtualDub. The last word I got on it was this Yahoo press release, along with a note that my copy is 'in the mail'.

My contribution was the introductory chapter... I'm happy to b e part of any effort that helps join the worlds of Movie Maker and open source software.


Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 - - the site's 3 goals are: an online companion to the Do Amazing Things book, a detailed tutorial for PhotoStory 3, and helping you solve Movie Maker 2 problems.

PhotoStory 2 - - a detailed tutorial about using it. It's not a problem-solving site.

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 W indows Movie Makers

Movie Maker 2 forum at

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 -

Photo Story 3 newsgroup -

Weekly Newsletters

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

Topics for upcoming newsletters (always subject to change):

#63 - July 23 - Utility Review - Audacity

#64 - July 30 - open

#65 - August 6 - open

Older newsletters (more than 6 issues ago) are posted by Rob Morris to an Archive Site at his Windows Movie Makers website. Links from website pages to specific newsletters make it easier for the website viewer to see the content of both while browsing a topic.

Drop an email to suggest a newsletter topic...


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. Version 2 was released a week ago and I'm still working on updating the online tutorial.

I routinely beta test the  Pixelan packages and think very highly of their people and products.


ProDAD's Adorage package for Movie Maker 2 provides an additional source of professionally developed transitions and effects.

Personal Database

Managing your personal information is more of a challenge as hard drives get bigger and the internet more robust. 

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

It's available free to regular newsletter subscribers... send an email request.

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

Online Gallery Neptune Gallery

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

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


in conjunction with the Portage, Michigan library, I offer two free training sessions about Movie Maker, an intro session and a workshop.  The upcoming scheduled sessions are:

Monday - July 18 - 6-7:30 - Workshop

Monday - August 15 - 6-7:30

Monday - September 18 - 6-7:30

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 - for details, see the sidebar on the Problem Solving > Can't Save a Movie page of

Movie Maker 2/Photo Story training and support services start at $50 per hour - send an email -  and I'll help you determine your needs, and work with you to plan and implement them.

Wedding combo website/video packages - starting at $2,500 + travel expenses. See  Jill-MarkWedding or the bottom branch of the Movie Maker 2 website for a sample of what you can expect for the online portion of the package.

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

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



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