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From photos to DVD – webDotWiz Column June 4, 2009 (updated August 16 with screenshots)

This week we’ll look at how easy it is to create a movie from a collection of photos and play it on your TV’s DVD player.

Vista Home Premium

If your computer is running Vista Home Premium, you have all the tools you need to create a movie and burn a DVD which you can then play on your TV set using a DVD player that is built-in to your TV or is hooked up to it. The software we’ll use consists of Windows Live Movie Maker Beta (update: currently a trial version and a full version is expected towards the end of 2009) and Windows DVD Maker.

For those running Windows XP, you can download Photo Story for Windows (it’s a free download from the link at the end of this post) and use it to create your movie. To burn the DVD so it runs on a TV DVD player, you’ll need to purchase extra software.

Before moving on, a word or several about different versions of Windows Vista.

Windows Vista versions

<begin rant>

Regardless of Microsoft’s marketing policies, Windows Vista is sold in different versions, each with or without features, for specific sections of the market. So, for example, Windows Vista Business is aimed at business users on a company network where features such as Windows Media Center, Windows Media Player, Movie Maker and DVD Maker are not required. Vista Home is aimed at desktop and laptop computers which don’t have the power to run multimedia applications very well so they don’t include Media Player, for example.

Most of us at home (and sometimes at work) will need to have Windows Vista Home Premium so we can work with photos and movies without requiring any extra software.

If you’re looking at the purchase of a new desktop PC or laptop, the first task is to check that you’ll be getting Vista Home Premium. If not, go somewhere else.

One reason that there are so many laptops being offered at discount prices is that they’re not installed with Windows Vista Home Premium. If you still want to purchase one of these products then only do so if you’re prepared to pay the extra money to purchase a legitimate copy of Microsoft Windows Home Premium and install it over the top of whatever is on the machine you plan to purchase.

For heaven’s sake don’t purchase a computer that has Windows XP installed. The life cycle of free support for Windows XP concluded on April 14 2009. In other words Windows XP is ten years old and Microsoft won’t be supplying any more free updates. As well, applications won’t be developed for XP since programmers can’t get free support from Microsoft if they run into problems.

If you’re looking at purchasing a new computer or laptop, take advantage of the expertise at Rushworth Community House and come along to ask any questions you have.

</end rant>

From Live Photo Gallery to Live Movie Maker

The first step is to load your photos from Live Photo Gallery into Live Movie Maker and all that’s needed in this step is to open both program, choose your photos and drag and drop them into Live Movie Maker.

At the time of writing, webDotWiz can assure you that you can use as many as 680 (update: 780 works but 1000 seems to be the limit) photos in Live Movie Maker. However, if you’re going to create a movie from that many photos, it’s best to drag and drop your photos in groups because you’ll want to order them – and that’s a simple job in Live Movie Maker – just drag your photos around until you’ve got them as you want.

clip_image001

Hint: when dragging and dropping from one Windows program to another, place the “From” window (the source) on the left of your computer screen and the “To” window (the destination) on the right. Position the windows by dragging the window with your mouse placed on the window’s title bar (at the top of the window).

In the screenshot on the right, just enough of the Live Photo Gallery window is visible so you can drag on one of the photos that have been selected. The Live Movie Maker window has been placed so enough can be seen so as to drop the photos.

Live Movie Maker

 image You can add text over a photo so use this feature to include some information to your viewers as you see fit. It’s a good way to split up your photos into sections on a specific topic. Click the Edit tab to insert text, change font, font size and style.

Transitions are available on the Visual Effects tab. Don’t overdo them and perhaps only apply a transition to a photo that begins a new section in your movie.

Music can be added, too. Use tracks you’ve got available in Windows Media Player. Just note that you can’t publish one of your movies online to MSN Video Soapbox if it contains copyrighted material (update 16-Aug-2009: MSN Video Soapbox is shutting down at the end of August; YouTube is an option but videos are limited to 10 minute running time).

Once you’ve got your photos in the order you want and added some transitions and music, it’s time to create your DVD.

image In Live Movie Maker, click on the Home tab and choose the Output button.  Now select the first option, Windows Media DVD Quality. You’ll be prompted for a name for your movie and once you’ve entered this information, Live Move Maker begins creating the movie. Depending on how many photos you’re using, this step can take a reasonable amount of time so be patient.

Windows DVD Maker

Start Windows DVD Maker from the Windows Start button/All programs and click Add to bring in your movie or movies that you want to burn onto a DVD.

image Note at the bottom left of the screen that you’re informed how many minutes out of the 150 minutes available on the DVD you’ve used. In other words, you can add several movies to DVD Maker and have them all burnt onto the DVD but keep an eye on how much time is remaining. After you’ve added all the movies you want to burn, you can re-order them by dragging and dropping so everything is organised as you want.

Click the Next button at the bottom right of DVD Maker’s screen to choose a menu style from those on the right-hand side of the screen, change the menu text or customise the menu. The latter enables you to use external videos as a foreground and background to your menu.

image Use the menu text button so you can enter your own disc title for your DVD movie (it’s set as the day of creation) and change the font and font size to your needs. As well you can change the text that’s on the Play, Next and Notes links on your DVD’s menu. The notes box enables you to enter a description of the contents of the DVD. Once you’ve made your change, remember to click on Change Text at the bottom of the screen.

Once you’ve got your menu style and menu organised, it’s time to Burn your movie to a DVD. Click Burn at the bottom of the screen and you’ll be prompted to insert a blank DVD (a DVD-R is recommended) and the burn process begins.

Be aware that burning a DVD is a complicated and slow process so once the burn starts, either carry on with other work on your computer or have a very long cuppa.

After burning, you can try your DVD on your TV’s DVD player. At time of writing, various webDotWizards have found that movies they’ve burned onto DVDs have all worked on their TV DVD player so you should find the same if you burn onto blank DVD-R discs.

Quicklinks

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Posted using the 2009 version of Windows Live Writer.

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