A Multi-Program Project

Most of my digital photography classes cover Photoshop Elements pretty much exclusively. However, I teach a photo projects class that uses Photoshop Elements, Movie Maker 2, and Photo Story 3. One of the things I try to emphasize in my class is that you may want to develop your multi-media presentation using two or more programs making use of their individual strengths and features.

I was loaned a panorama photograph of my high school class taken in 1963. It showed some signs of wear and I wanted to get it into the computer and ultimately record it on a DVD that we could play back at our reunion next October. I shared my basic steps with my class, and decided it might have some value posting them here.

Since, the panorama was too large and would require it to be scanned in sections, I decided to use my Rebel XTi to capture the image. I really did not take a lot of pains taking the pictures. I leaned the photo against the back cushion of the couch, put my camera on a tripod and quickly took three overlapping images. An Example of one of the images is shown below.


I then used the Photomerge Panorama feature of Photoshop Elements 6 to stitch the pictures together. Staying with PSE 6, I cropped and straightened the picture. Then I used primarily its LEVELS  command to adjust the brightness/contrast and finally sharpened it using the UNSHARP MASK command. The final image size was 7200×1846 pixels. I had to reduce the size slightly from its original size, because 7200 pixels is the largest dimension Photo Story 3 allows.

Although, PSE 6 has a very capable slide show editor that includes a pan/zoom capability, I wanted to do my pan and zooming with Photo Story 3, because of its ability to handle large image sizes allowing me to really zoom in on the panorama. It is a bit more difficult to continue a pan/zoom from one image to the next in Photo Story 3 than in PSE 6 where you simply click to add each picture. I used eight copies of the panorama to get the zoom and pan I wanted.

About the time I was beginning to put the finishing touches on my project, I received my weekly newsletter from PapaJohn. In this issue, he discussed how to make a countdown clock you often see at the beginning of a film using PS 3. His technique also included how to add images to the spinning pinwheel. After a little bit of trouble, I succeeded making my own countdown clock customized for my project.

By the way, PapaJohn has a fabulous web site that not only covers Photo Story 3 and Movie Maker 2 extensively but has a wealth of information regarding related aspects of video production.

I then used PSE 6 to make a title slide for my project. I used Movie Maker 6 (Vista’s version of Movie Maker 2) to assemble all of the pieces, the countdown clock, title slide, the pan/zoom of the photo itself, background music, and final panorama  image, and then render the final .wmv file needed for the DVD. I used Nero to actually burn the DVD.

The final photo story is about 3-1/2 minutes long. you can see a low resolution version by clicking here. Even this small size version is approximately 3.9 Mb.

This was a fun project that was really not that hard. I do think I can do a better job on the background music and will make another version with different music and blending. Here is a small size version of the basic photo that I used for panning and zooming.

LHS Student Body - November 1959 Slight Smaller 

Until Next time,


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