Newsletter #114 - July 29, 2006
Organizing Still Pictures Before
Leap-frogging pictures in a Photo Story project one position at a
time, with small thumbnails and no file names, isn't the easiest task.
And for the many users making enhanced slide-shows in Movie Maker, the efforts
are only a tad easier.
Newsgroups are full of posts asking about how to organize pictures before
importing. Vista has a new 'Photo Gallery' app to help in the future. Google has
the Picasa app. Whatever you use, staging your pictures the right
way before importing makes your project work a lot easier... and it's the
right place to do it. We're not talking about cropping or fixing the images,
simply arranging them so they can flow into a movie or story project as a
batch... with you having confidence they're sorted your way.
Yves Alaire is a regular supporter of the
microsoft.public.windowsxp.photos newsgroup. Over time he
had developed a lengthy FAQ type response to the posters. About 6
weeks I offered to put the info into a website page, and did it
without a detailed review, just with confidence in Yves' expertise.
Here's the page as it exists today:
Hurry and check it, as it'll probably change right after you get this
newsletter. For sure I'll be adding some images to illustrate the text.
Yves recommends the Picasa software from Google. That's something
I tried a while back, but uninstalled for some reason, one of
which I remember being it was 'too virtual' for me... what the Vista
Photo Gallery will be like.
For this newsletter I'll download and install the latest version of
Picasa and go through Yves suggestions.
... before getting into it
further, a few notes...
forum post a few days ago was from someone who couldn't use one of my
custom Movie Maker profiles. I did some checking and found a
number of them for Movie Maker no longer worked on my laptop. The error message
said the codec wasn't installed.
Something behind the scenes had changed. It turned out that all of the
profiles that used the Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile video
codec had stopped. I revised them to use the standard Windows Media Video 9
codec instead.... if you find a profile not working, download a fresh copy
and try again.
don't know what caused the change. I was able to get the codec back
by reinstalling WMP10, but I'm assuming the change will happen again and
it's best not to be using the Advanced Profile codec when it
for-sale video on Google
Video... submitted May 3... still has the status of "Video
is verified; stay tuned - it will be live shortly"... it's
been almost 3 months in the queue to be online.
Vista Corner... it's time to download
another build... 5472 is on the way down.
Tech Smith offered free copies of SnagIt (screen capture - still pix),
DubIt (audio editor) and Camtasia Studio (screen capture - video
clips) to all MVPs... I've installed them and starting to put them
to good use.
.... back to the main
I thought at first I'd be using Picasa as part
of the newsletter, but it didn't turn out that way. It's for a related but
different topic, maintaining your library of files.
The first step to Picasa is to download
the 5 MB setup file. The installation
goes to a new C:\Program Files\Picasa2 folder.
Within a couple minutes, after 3 security
warnings from my Norton Antivirus software, Picasa was off and running taking an
inventory of my C drive. It used about 90 MB of my 2 GB of RAM, and about 5% of my CPU as it did the
initial inventory while I did other things...
The initial inventory didn't take as long
as I thought it would... about 15 minutes. Maybe it was too easy a
task as my library of multimedia items is mostly on external
It's easy to then get
mesmerized looking through the things it found on the hard
drive... or having fun in Picasa's timeline view.
Video files are included in the inventory but
It's great to see your
inventory in a nice layout... sharp thumbnails with drop shadows.
But the time-based sorting doesn't align with my topical thinking when it
comes to a library of info. My main interest isn't usually in the
date a picture was taken or obtained.
Let's move on to the staging of pictures
for use in a movie or story project.
Yves recommends organizing folders
with pictures by creating a new folder for each group of pictures, and
including dates and events in the folder names... with underscore
characters instead of blanks. One of his example folders is:
He says that naming folders by year, month, day
and then event will make them easy to find. Maybe... I'm not good at remembering
dates, not even the year. Most of my library of still pictures are
grouped by themes or subject. But I'll go along with the guidance to see how it
I used my digital camcorder's still picture
feature to take some snapshots as the starting point for this
exercise. They go on a memory stick, with file names shown at the
Let's assume the folder is for a particular
Organizing Photos in the
This is the key part of the guidance, as the
goal is to have the photos going into your Movie Maker and Photo Story projects
in the sequence you want.
I followed the guidance on the website page
and renamed the folder to add the date... and elaborated on the
pictures being for newsletter 114. The revised folder name is:
Yves suggests copying the photos you want to use
into a new folder... I agree with doing the copying if the pictures for a
project are coming from your library of pictures, ones you want to keep
long-term. When the project is finished you can delete the folder without
effecting the longer-term library.
My exercise is with a batch of pix with no
long-term redeeming value, so I didn't move them from the camcorder memory stick
to my library, and then copy them to the project folder. They went right
into the project folder.
Here's a pretty neat step... my old habit
of using Total Commander for renaming files didn't support this kind
Windows Explorer did it the way Yves
says... using (1) Control-A to select all files in a folder, (2) right click the
first one and opt to rename, (3) add the name and
numeric suffix, (4) press Enter. The renamed files cascade down.
With just this short list, I tried renaming with
the suffix being (1), then (01)... nope, they almost worked but not good
enough.... using a 3 digit number such as 101, 201, etc. worked best. You
can see from the list at the left that starting with any 3 digit number works
The brackets in the name are the key to XP
treating the list as a sequential one... if it wasn't it would have done
something like starting with 114 and going from there when it saw the newsletter
It's vital to have a space before the opening
bracket, or it'll just rename the first file...
You can't rename the group at the left to
start with (309) because there's already a file in the group that uses that
number. If you really wanted to have the group start with (309) rename them
to something like (101) and then back to starting with (309). Each renaming is
quick and easy... give it a whirl.
easily done using either of two views
view looks like you're in Photo Story, but works better.
It lets you drag a picture by skipping over multiple ones, not one at
The filmstrip view might be better
to work with when you want to see a larger image of a selected
picture... most of the time you don't need it, and you can see lots more
thumbnails at the same time by using the Thumbnails
view, shown below.
You can drag and drop the thumbnails
wherever you like.
Once they are sequenced how you
like them, do the batch renaming/numbering process before changing views, and
they'll be numbered appropriately.
And if that's not enough... and it never is when
new situations warrant more.
Go to the detail view,
right click on the header for the first column... the Name... and choose more
columns to see in the view.
Click the header for any column to sort it in
one direction, and click it again to sort it the opposite way.
The Final Step... Into a Movie Maker or
Photo Story Project
With the pictures sorted the way you want them
in a project, select them all in a file manager (Control-A keys in Windows
Explorer or Total Commander) and drag/drop them as a batch into a Movie
Maker collection or a Photo Story project. They'll be sorted in the
sequence you want.
Conclusions and Closing
I knew from reading all the posts on
the microsoft.public.windowsxp.photos newsgroup that Yves Alaire had lots
more experience than I did when it comes to naming and organizing still
pictures. His suggestions are top notch.
There's more guidance on the
website page than I included here. I'm going over just enough to help you
appreciate the sorting you can do in XP, if you're not already using
it as your primary sorting and sequencing utility.
This exercise was great... and as
often happens I learn a lot more than I expected to when I started. I'll be
updating the website page with some images to illustrate
I started this newsletter with
Picasa but never really got back to it... it's on my laptop but not yet
part of my routine way of handling images or video files.
I have 3 USB2 external drives connected to my laptop, with my
multimedia library of pictures, video clips, music, etc. After writing the
newsletter using a folder on my C drive, I tried to use Windows Explorer to
browse the folders on the external drives, and it automatically
crashed/closed each time.
The message included something about
'Data Execution Prevention' DEP.... which led me to exploring
the window at the left. You get to it via Control Panel > System >
Advanced > Performance Settings > Data Execution Prevention.
The default setting was the first
option of using DEP for essential Windows programs and services.
I changed it to the next option which
allowed me to select Windows Explorer as an app that won't use DEP.
That resolved the issue. Now I can do
the same kind of browsing and organizing of the folders on my external
I checked another computer that has a
number of external drives. It had the DEP feature but didn't exhibit any issues
when working with a folder on one.... I wonder why the difference!!
With our vacation to
Europe less than a month away, I'm phasing out of newsgroup and
forum postings for a while... and I won't be issuing newsletters
But Movie Maker and Photo Story will
be on my mind as I shoot video on the 40 mini-DV tapes I'll be bringing... and
using the 2 megapixel snapshot feature of the camcorder to put still pix on its
Have a great week...