Still photos serve a variety of purposes in movie creation. Photos make good backgrounds for title slides. Series of images make great digital slideshows. Pan and zoom effects added to stills create simulated movement. Windows Movie Maker supports the use of stills in all of these ways.
Movie Maker supports most of the common image types, including .GIF, .JPG, and .PNG. These images are added to your Movie Maker project from the hard drive, from a digital camera’s memory card, by downloading them from the Internet, or from removable media like CDs and floppies.
Movie Maker includes many effects designed to be used with moving video clips. Pixelan, a third-party developer, complements the Movie Maker effects with a huge selection of effects optimized for use with still images, including a very comprehensive set of pan and zoom effects. These effects are available in the SpiceFX packs from the Pixelan Web site (http:/ /www.pixelan . com/mm/ intro. htm).
This part of the topic demonstrates various uses for stills in movies, combining Windows Movie Maker and several effects from the Pixelan SpiceFX Pack.
Working With Still Photos
Connecting Your DV Camera via USB
1 Turn the DV Camera on in Play mode. (This is usually designated by VCR or VTR.)
2 Locate the USB port on the DV camera and connect the small end of the USB cable.
3 Connect the other end of the USB cable to your PC.
Every PC built in the last five years has two or more USB ports. To extract images from the flash memory card in your DV camera, you need to connect the USB port on the camera to a USB port on the PC. DV cameras typically ship with a USB cable specially designed for this purpose.
HINT USB Photo Transfer
USB connections for transferring still photos are standard across most DV camera types. Consult the manual for the DV camera to verify your camera connections, if necessary.
Using a Flash Card Reader
1 Remove the memory from your DV camera or digital camera.
2 Insert the memory in the appropriate slot in the reader.
3 Open My Computer or Windows Explorer and click the drive that represents your removable media. Browse folders on the memory card, just as you would any other hard drive.
Card readers are an alternative to connecting cables to your camera for extracting images. Card readers come in a variety of styles with support for one or many flash card types.
TIP External Card Readers
The card reader pictured here comes built-in on many HP computers. A variety of external card readers are available, most of which connect to the computer via USB.
Importing Still Photos
1 From the File menu select Import into Collections.
2 Click the drop-down list in the Look in field to locate the folder where your picture is located.
3 Select the picture.
4 Click the Import button.
Before adding still images to a movie, the images must be imported into Windows Movie Maker by adding them to a collection. Images may be added to Movie Maker from your hard drive, digital camera flash cards, or other removable media.
To keep still images separate from your video files in the Collections, create a separate collection named Photos. Remember, right click the collections pane to add a new collection.
Creating a Still Photo from Video
1 In the Collection pane, choose the video clip you want to take a picture from.
2 Drag the playback slider under the video monitor until you can see the frame of the video you want to save as a picture.
3 Click the Take Picture button.
4 Type a name for the picture and then click the Save button.
Extracting still photos from video allows you to grab individual movie frames from a video clip. Find the frame in your video clip you want to capture and then extract a picture of it using the Movie Maker monitor pane.
You can also save still photos from video files on the Timeline by moving the slider to the frame you want to capture and clicking the Take Picture button under the preview monitor. The still photos are automatically added to your collection when the image is saved.
Make a Photo Slideshow
1 Click the Collections button on the toolbar.
2 Select the collection containing photos.
3 Drag photos from the collection to the Storyboard.
Adding a series of still images to the Windows Movie Maker Storyboard allows you to create a slideshow. This is useful for creating a chronological narrative of a series of events or for making an album of the family vacation.
Movie Maker’s AutoMovie feature will automatically arrange all your pictures for you on the Storyboard. It will also add titles and allow you to choose one audio track for the sound-track. This is covered in more detail in Part 6, "Editing Video with Windows Movie Maker.
4Click the Video Transitions collection.
5 Drag and drop transitions from the Video Transitions window to the video transition cell between each picture on the Storyboard.
6 Open the File menu and click Save Movie File. Choose My Computer.
7 Click Next.
8 After adding all the transitional elements to your slideshow, it’s time to save it as a movie. Depending on who your audience is, you might opt to save multiple versions in different output formats by repeating the save steps.
Narrate Your Slideshow
Transitions aren’t the only things you can add to a slideshow. Audio narration and soundtrack audio can also be used to describe each picture. Consult Part 8 on adding audio to your movie for more on these options.
9 Type a name for the slideshow.
10 Click Next.
11 Accept the default Best Quality for playback on my computer (recommended) and click Next.
12 Click Finish.
Adjusting Picture Display Duration
To extend or reduce the display time for each picture, switch to Timeline view and manually stretch the time each picture is onscreen. By default, Movie Maker sets the display time of still images to five seconds.
Changing Default Duration
To change the default duration for displaying pictures, click Tools, Options. Click the Advanced tab, and then adjust the Picture duration up or down depending on your needs.
Adding Motion to a Still Image
1 Click the Collections button on the toolbar.
2 Select the collection containing the photo you want to animate from the left Collections pane.
3 Choose the photo and drag it to the Storyboard.
The Pixelan SpiceFX Packs for Windows Movie Maker includes a number of pan and zoom effects that create the illusion of movement when applied to a still image.
Applying the Same Effect to Multiple Images
To apply the same effect to all images on the Storyboard, first select the effect from the effects collection. Copy the effect using the Ctrl+C keyboard shortcut. Select all pictures on the Storyboard by selecting one and using the Ctrl+A keyboard shortcut, and then Ctrl+P to paste the effect to all images.
4 Click the Video Effects collection in the left Collections pane.
5 Choose a Pan/Zoom effect from the center Collections pane and drag it to the Storyboard.
6 Click the Play button on the Monitor to test the Pan/Zoom effect.
Multiple effects may be applied to the same photo for a more complex image manipulation. Drag each effect onto the picture to apply additional effects.
Video Pan and Zoom
Pan and Zoom effects are most effective when used with still images. While they will technically work with video clips too, the result is generally not desirable.