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PapaJohn's Newsletter #82

From Scanner to Story or Movie

A scanner is a great way to get high quality images for stories and movies. Let's explore the process a bit by scanning something and using it in 3 videos... a story, a video clip in a movie, and finally a custom image overlay in another movie.

I looked around my office for something to scan, picking a small clock set in decorative wood. The overall piece is a fairly small 5-1/2" wide by 2-1/2" high.

I wiped some of the dust from it, as it'll show up in a high quality scan... but left some for the scanner, so we'll have some to deal with if we need to. To make it more interesting than the usual map or picture, I went with something 3 dimensional, which scans just as well.

... before getting into it, here are a few notes...


GalleryWith this issue in the mail, I'm off to the gallery in New York City. Stop in to say hello if you're passing by. Saturday between 1 and 4 pm for sure... other times maybe.

My website pages grow kind of haphazardly... and attempts to make them easier to understand often end up making them longer... and perhaps more confusing. A few days ago I re-arranged and tried to clarify the page that started the whole site: Problem Solving > Crashes and Hangs. I'll be working on the Problem Solving > Can't Save a Movie page also. Of all pages, they should be the ones.

.... on to the main topic...

Scanning a clock...

My scanner is an older HP ScanJet 4P, a flatbed type with a glass surface that measures 8-1/2" x 14".

The item...

I usually scan at 100% size, but I did the clock 7 times to get a higher quality one for a Photo Story, and some others for comparisons. This might be the first time I tried it at the maximum of 400%. The file sizes and pixel dimensions are...


100% - file size of 5 MB - 1793x885 pixels = 1.6 megapixels

110% - (didn't note the info before deleting)

  • 120% - 7 MB - 2152x1062 pixels = 2.3 megapixels

  • 150% - 11 MB - 2690x1328 pixels = 3.6 megapixels

  • 200% - 19 MB - 3586x1770 pixels = 6.3 megapixels

  • 300% - 43 MB - 5377x2653 pixels = 14.3 megapixels

  • 400% - 73 MB - 7169x3537 pixels = 25.4 megapixels

I scan to BMP files...

Use it in a story...

Photo Story 3 handles images with lots of pixels extremely well, and there's no need to crop or resize the image before importing. We'll use the largest 25.4 megapixel one.

Open the image with Paint.NET and add some text...

  • create a new layer to add the text to

  • work in 100% size, add text - Verdana, size 16, pick one of the colors from a clock dial digit... change the working layer to pick the color, and then change back to use it for the text

  • the text looks too sharp... change the transparency setting for the layer from 255 (not at all transparent) to 133 (about 50% see-through)... double-click on the layer to change the setting... it'll blend more into the clock background

  • save it as a pdn file... the project file type for Paint.NET... in case you want to do some more work on it layers

  • 'flatten' it by saving as a jpg file. Flattening means putting all the layers together into a single image, the kind we need for Photo Story 3

Used Photo Story 3 to create a story...

  • use the same image 3 times... the 25.4 megapixel JPG file

  • pan and zoom to suit... in the motion settings, make the beginning of each image the same point as the ending of the previous one, and remove the transition between them to make it smooth

  • for background music, use Classical: Amadeus, Clockwork, Sentimental, at the slowest tempo

  • render to an 800x600 pixel story file (wmv)

Here's the link to the story

Use it as a video clip in a movie...

Crop and resize an image to be used as a video clip to appropriately fit the movie's pixel dimensions, unless you don't mind black borders. 

Use an image size of 856x480 pixels for widescreen... crop and resize using IrfanView.

One such project that can use a scanned clock image is a countdown clock... add the same one second image over and over, with an Adorage transition between each... top with a Sound Dogs sound effect, and some text overlays to help with the countdown.

Scanned Clock - Video Clip Project
Click here for larger view


Here's the link to the rendered video snippet

Use it as an image overlay in a movie...

Overlay images automatically expand or contract to fit the video size. A round clock face would be less round if the image didn't align. To keep its proportions, use 640x480 images for standard 4:3, and 856x480 for widescreen 16:9.

Extract just the clock and set it into an image canvas size of 856x480

Clock in Paint

  • Use IrfanView to roughly crop a squarish section of the clock image, and resize it to 450 pixels high... something less than the 480 height of the finished picture.

  • Open Paint.NET and set the Image > Canvas Size to 856 pixels wide and 480 high.

  • Copy the cropped/resized image of the clock from the still open IrfanView window and paste it into the Paint.NET canvas.

  • Use the magic wand with the tolerance slider adjusted left or right as needed to change the feature's sensitivity... extract the white pixels of the canvas... and the wooden pixels of the clock's base. Leave just the round clock face.

  • Clean up stray pixels left by the wanding... increase the size of the view to see the pixels easier and use the eraser set to a brush width of 50.

  • Save the image as a PNG... the type needed to preserve the transparent pixels and use it as an overlay.

  • Save it a couple times... first with the full face, and to another file with the black part of the face removed.

The checkerboard pattern in Paint.NET shows the areas that are transparent.

Use the Title Overlay Starter Kit (see the Editing > Text > Custom Overlays page of my website), and place these two new images into the Overlay1 and Overlay2 positions.

Here's the sample video snippet with the two partially transparent images used as overlays.

Some Comparisons...

With the same image scanned at 7 different resolutions, let's compare them to see if the higher percentage scans are actually higher quality. Is the extra magnification done optically or digitally? Does the extra file size really get you more quality?

Here's a composite of the same area of each, with the 6 lower resolution ones cropped and resized to align with the 400% scan. Yes the higher percentage scan is done optically, producing a truly higher quality image. Look at the differences in pixelization between the 100% and the 400% images.

Collage of Scanned Images
Click here for larger view


Conclusions and Closing

High quality copyright free images are all around you... easy to get into a story or movie via your scanner. A theatre ticket, a seashell from the beach, a car key... lots of little things are highly suitable for scanning and using as opening or closing clips.

A very high quality image in Photo Story 3 lets you add a WOW effect just by zooming and panning. In a movie project, creatively using effects and transitions, and custom image overlays, can set the stage. You just have to follow through with appropriate content in the rest of the video.  

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

Windows Movie

Have a great week...


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. 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, 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.

Learning VirtualDub - published by Virtual DubPackt Publishing, is the first book about VirtualDub software. I wrote the first chapter about downloading and setting up the software: VirtualDub, VDubMod and AVISynth.


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):

#83 - December 24 - open

#84 - December 31 - open

#85 - December 17 - open

Newsletters that were distributed more than 6 issues ago are posted by Rob Morris to an Archive Site at 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.


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've beta tested some of 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. 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 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 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 and Photo Story, an intro session and a workshop. The upcoming scheduled sessions are:

Monday - January 30 - 7-8:30 pm - Intro to Movie Maker and Photo Story

Monday - February 13 - 7-8:30 pm - Workshop

Monday - March 13 - 7-8:30 pm - Intro to Movie Maker and Photo Story

Monday - April 10 - 7-8:30 pm - Workshop

Monday - May 8 - 7-8:30 pm - Intro to Movie Maker and Photo Story

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

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 - 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.

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.