PapaJohn Productions

Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story
Newsletter #82 - December 17, 2005

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
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
  • 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.
  • Clock in PaintCopy 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

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.  

Have a great week...