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
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...
With 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
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".
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
100% - file size of 5 MB -
1793x885 pixels = 1.6 megapixels
110% - (didn't note the info before
120% - 7 MB - 2152x1062 pixels = 2.3
150% - 11 MB - 2690x1328 pixels =
200% - 19 MB - 3586x1770 pixels =
300% - 43 MB - 5377x2653 pixels =
400% - 73 MB - 7169x3537 pixels
= 25.4 megapixels
I scan to BMP files...
Use it in a
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
Open the image with
Paint.NET and add some text...
create a new layer to add the text
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 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
'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
render to an 800x600 pixel 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Have a great week...