Create Your Story's Audio
Track in Movie Maker
of the goals of my website is to use the synergy between Photo Story and Movie Maker
to do amazing things, doing more with both than you can do with either one by itself.. This newsletter
is an example of that... using a 3-step process to create the audio track of a story:
1 - Create the
visual track for a story in Photo Story 3
2 - Take the visual
into Movie Maker and create the audio track for it
3 - Back in Photo
Story 3, render the visual and audio together into the final story
I'll use camcorder footage and camera pictures from the medieval festival
we went to in the spring.. Bernadette was taking pictures with our 5 megapixel camera, and I was taking
video, as usual. I'll use the high quality pictures to make the video track, and the audio from the camcorder
Here's the link to the
I made for this newsletter. It plays for almost 5 minutes and has a number of different topical segments...
each marked by a lead-in title picture and with different and appropriate audio. The audio, being mixed
in Movie Maker, flows across the transitions between scenes in a way that you can't achieve in Photo
With just a couple exceptions I used the default motion settings of Photo
Story 3. I didn't use any special transitions, and didn't take great care to fix the audio issues such
as wind noise. It's more of a rough draft than a polished video, simply to illustrate the subject of
... before getting into the tutorial,
here are a few notes...
The president of neptune sent a positive note about last
week's newsletter about
neptune and mydeo... no comment yet from mydeo.
I bought a polarizing filter for my camcorder this week... on a trip to Chicago last weekend, we passed by the Tribune building, where the WGN radio was being broadcast
live from the studio room at street level. With it being daytime, the reflections of the street scenes
in the windows prevented me from capturing video through the window. The polarizing filter should eliminate
MVP Summit meeting at Microsoft is about a month away. One of the things the MVPs in the digital media
area are doing this time is introducing ourselves at the meetings with a Photo Story instead of the usual
standing up and saying something. We're going to practice what we preach. Here's a
link to my intro story ... it's another one made by doing
the visual in Photo Story 3 and the audio in Movie Maker. For this one, I made the audio first and then
fit the visual to it. The goal was a 30 second story... note that it's a widescreen story, using the
custom widescreen profile on my website.
My Toshiba laptop is in the CompUSA repair center in Texas for the 4th time
in less than a year... they tell me it needs a new TV Tuner and DVD/CD combo... both were replaced 3
months ago and the TV Tuner didn't work since I got the computer back from it's last visit there. I'm
about ready to write a long letter about my ongoing issues with CompUSA's support.
.... on to the main topic
create the video track in
Photo Story 3
I first sorted the pictures into sub-folders with topical themes...
bawdiness, children, classes of people, dining, fashion, fighting, horses, housing, love, music, religion,
and singing... moving each picture into the appropriate topical sub-folder.
Then I looked though each group to select interesting ones. I didn't
resize any, as Photo Story 3 does such a great job with 5 megapixel pictures.
For the topic of religion, there was only one picture of the nun, so I took
a snapshot in Movie Maker to get a second one... you can tell which one it is in the story... the only
low quality one with lots of pixilation. A snapshot from a DV-AVI file is 1/3 of a megapixel, 15 times
fewer pixels than pictures from our digicam.
For a background image for text overlays I went to Paint,
set the canvas size to 640x480 pixels, painted it red, and placed a cropped section from one of the pictures
on it... the text will be added in Photo Story. I used the same picture for the opening title and between
each topical segment of the story... with different text on each.
I used my file manager to drag and drop the pictures into the story in topical
I didn't do much in the way of editing the visual track of the story. The
purpose was to spend any extra time on editing the audio track in Movie Maker.
At this point, I saved the project, and rendered a low quality story WMV
file. The project file let me go back for more editing after the audio track was ready. The rendered
story was an aid to working on the audio in Movie Maker.
create the audio track in
To prepare for the audio project in Movie Maker, I captured footage of the
event from my camcorder tape, imported it into Movie Maker as a single clip, put it on the audio/music
track of the timeline, and saved it to a high quality audio WMA file. That was to get an audio-only file.
I could have gotten a WAV file instead by ripping it from the file using TMPGEnc... either one - WMA
or WAV - works well.
I imported the audio file and split it into segments in the collection.
From there it was a matter of dragging the clips to the timeline and working them there so they worked
well with the visual...
Here's what the timeline looked like when I finished the arrangement...
with a few notes about it:
few things about the Movie Maker project:
- The audio needs to finish a bit after the video
or Photo Story 3 won't play the sound during the last picture in the film strip. We had learned that
in an earlier newsletter.
The picture at the right shows the timeline zoomed all the way in to
better see where the tracks end. The audio (the track with the wave patterns) continues beyond the
video, just a bit... less than a second... use a quiet or muted clip there if you don't want to hear
audio after the video finishes... but have some extra frames of audio.
- I split the video track into the 6 topical segments on
the timeline... as a job aid to more easily see the topical break points during
the audio editing. I didn't need to do it. Be careful not to instinctively add any transitions that
can change the overall duration of the story. Any transitions need to be done in Photo Story.
- Again for some visual feedback during editing, I
added titles... one for each segment. They aren't needed when looking at the zoomed
out view above, but when fully zoomed into the timeline and in the middle of a segment, the title
with the name of the segment is handy as a reference point.
When the audio editing is finished and ready to render... strip away the
video and text overlay tracks so the rendering will be to an audio-only WMA file.
To strip the tracks, my usual is to select a clip on the video track, use
the Control-A keys to expand the selection to include all of the clips on that track... and press the
Delete key. Do it again on the title overlay track, and you're left with only the audio/music, arranged
and positioned as you want it.
Here's the timeline just before rendering a high quality WMA audio file
for the story.
With the new WMA audio file, we're ready to take it to the story project.
combine the video and audio
in Photo Story 3
Reopen the Photo Story 3 project. It already has the video track, so all
you need to do is go to the Add Background Music window and select the WMA audio file
( Select Music...), with the first picture of the film strip selected so the audio plays
throughout the story.
We never had to do any calculations about the story's duration... by saving
the story and using it in Movie Maker, we only needed to check that the last audio clip ends a little
past the end of the video clip. We didn't have to know how long the overall story plays.
You're ready to render the final story to a high quality file for viewing
and distribution... for online viewing I picked a 640x480 size.
Conclusions and Closing
Almost all of the Photo Stories I see have background music... and some
have a little narration. I haven't seen any with an audio track that uses various sources such as camcorder
tapes. Even if you want music from your CDs, mixing it with some personal audio clips would add a lot
to a story.
In addition to the audio that is automatically recorded with the visual
scenes, I often use the camcorder simply as an audio recorder... sometimes not even removing the lens
cap. I collect audio clips as I do video.
It's much easier to find some good audio from my library of camcorder tapes
than it is to search the internet for royalty free files... and the audio is much more personal.
I look forward to comments and discussion about this and other newsletters on the forums at:
Windows Movie Makers.net
Have a great week...
Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 -
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
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
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 included the first 'bi-weekly' show with a segment about Movie
Movie Maker 2 - Do Amazing Things (with its online companion on
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
my website as a file download.
Learning VirtualDub - published by Packt Publishing, it's the first book about VirtualDub
software. I wrote the first chapter about downloading and setting up the software: VirtualDub, VDubMod
Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 - www.papajohn.org
- 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.
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
Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup -
Photo Story 3 newsgroup -
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):
#68 - September 3 - open (stay tuned to the WindowsMovieMakers forum)
Older newsletters (more than 6 issues ago) are posted by Rob Morris to an
at his WindowsMovieMakers 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... I can use more requests rather than fewer.
Add-On Transitions and Effects
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.
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.
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.
An online gallery that fully aligns with the main goal of the website is the
'PapaJohn Expert Zone'
Check it at Neptune
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 - September 19 - 6-7:30 - Intro to Movie Maker
Monday - October 10 - 6-7:30 - Workshop
Other fee-based services
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
Movie Maker 2/Photo Story training and support services start at $50 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 - starting at $2,500 + travel expenses. See
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.
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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 in the
Windows XP Movie Maker newsgroup and in the Windows
Movie Makers Forums.
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