PapaJohn Productions

PapaJohn's Newsletter #26 - November 6, 2004

Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3


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:

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, Tim Bartel 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 what Tim found.
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.

Have a great week...