How to Convert Your Photo Library to Video

Whenever I am back from a family trip, the first thing I do is connect my Digital camera to the computer and copy all the photos to my hard drive. But the one problem which I regularly face regarding these photos is when the rest of the family members request to see the same on my computer. It kills my time as I have to sit down and open the photos one by one while others view them.

Another problem is that other members of my family do not know how to operate my laptop and whenever I am away from home, they are unable to view the photos.

Then I thought – “Wait, why not burn these photos on a DVD drive as a video so that my family members can watch them on the Television. They can watch all the photos in my absence and there is no need to use the computer at all.”

So basically there are two steps involved:

1. Use a software application to create a video from a bunch of pictures.
2. Burn the video on a CD or DVD drive.

Here are two free programs which can be used to create a video from a large collection of photos:

PhotoFilmStrip

PhotoFilmstrip is the easiest program which can be used to create a video from a collection of photos. After the application is installed, open the program and hit “Control + I” to import all the pictures, as shown below:

PhotoFilmStrip - Import a Collection of Pictures

2. This will open the editing pane where you can adjust the position of the images in the video. Simply drag and drop the images to position them in the sequence you want:

PhotoFilmStrip - Create Video Sequence

In the preview pane, you can adjust the output resolution of the video by dragging the cursor on the border of the selected image. The editing can be done on the left pane while the preview is shown on the right.

Next you can add subtitles and captions to a picture and specify the duration of the image in the video, as shown below:

PhotoFIlmStrip - Enter Video Caption

When you are done with all the settings, make sure to save the combination as a project file from File > Save as. This will be handy when you want to add more pictures to the project later and may want to render the video from scratch.

To render the video, click the small “Right” icon and choose the project settings as VCD. Then specify the output directory and hit the “Start” button.

PhotoFilmStrip - Render Video

All done, the pictures will be combined into a video file and saved on the location you have specified. When the rendering is complete, double click the video file and you can view the video in Windows Media Player or any other media player of your choice.

PhotoFilmStrip Video Output

Windows Movie Maker

If you want to add more effects to the movie, another great program worth trying is Windows Movie maker. Windows Movie Maker is available on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 by default, you can also download the latest version from the Windows Live essentials website.

The advantage of using movie maker is that apart from images, you can also add video files, background music, add title effects, sounds and transition effects to individual clips. Here are the steps to create the movie using Windows Movie Maker:

1. Click the “Add Videos and Photos” button and import all the media files in movie maker, as shown below:

Import Media Files Windows Movie Maker

2. Next, you can import a wav or MP3 file which will be played as the movie background:

Add Music Windows Movie Maker Project

3. To add custom animations to the individual image clips, switch to the “Animation” tab and apply an animation effect. There are different effects to choose from – default, dissolve, cinematic and reveals.

Set Animation duration Windows Movie Maker

You can choose to apply the animation to one clip or to all of the clips added to the project.

4. Next switch to the “Visual effects” tab and here you can add various color effects to the clips. The options are – Black and White, sepia, cinematic, dissolve and so on.

Add Color Effects Windows Movie Maker

5. When you are done adding all the visual effects and image transitions, go to the “Project” tab and select the output format as either wide screen (16:9) or standard(4:3) format.

Choose Project Format Windows Movie Maker

6. Almost done, now you have three options:

  • Publish the movie to your YouTube, Facebook, Skydrive or Flickr account
  • Save the movie in your computer.
  • Burn the movie in a CD/DVD.

Save Movie Windows Movie Maker

After the movie has finished rendering, you can use Nero or other programs to burn the movie in a CD or DVD drive.

Have you uses any other tool to create a movie using a set of pictures? Please share your ideas in the comments.