PapaJohn's Newsletter #15 - Movie
Maker 2 and Photo Story 2 - August 21, 2004
About: This is a
Primer on Using Paint to Make Text Images for
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
• 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
• 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 process.
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
• 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
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:
Creative Zen 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 themselves: www.pmcplayer.com
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
• 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 site.
....on to the topic of the week
About: Text in photo stories
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
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
Mini-Tutorial: Text in
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
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.
I imported the seagull clip into MM2 and put
it on the Audio/Music track. With only audio in the project....
Ripping Audio 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 the story.
Prep the Still Pictures - Resize them to Avoid
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
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 in
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.
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 clip.
Picture with Text
Once I had the resized images
and text on some of them, it was time to....
.... 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.
together in PhotoStory
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
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
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....
Have a great week!!!