We’ve been teaching Photo Story 3 for several years now. It is a free program from Microsoft that was developed for Windows XP. In fact, the download page still says that it is only for Windows XP, and newer versions of Windows are not supported. We use it on Windows 7 and it works fine. The only quirk we’ve noticed is that, when you download it, it’s important to use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer to do the job rather than Chrome or Firefox.
We love teaching Photo Story 3 – it is the easiest topic we cover. People who consider themselves computer illiterate leave our class and go straight to their computer to make a professional looking movie with their pictures, music, and narration. We try to keep up with the times, so have been looking for a replacement for Photo Story. We simply haven’t found one.
We just taught the seminar last week at the FMCA convention and we thought it would be the last time we taught it, but it was so well received! One person told us afterward that it solved a dilemma for her in that she had been asked to provide videos of her Church project and she just didn’t know what to do since she had no experience with video. With Photo Story 3 she could simply use the dozens of photos she’d already taken, add motion, narration, and music. Voila! She has a video of her project.
Make a Movie with Photo Story 3
When you first open Photo Story 3, you are prompted to begin a new project and import pictures. We recommend using Picasa to prepare all the pictures you want to use and export them into one folder so they are easy to find. Then, Photo Story 3 works like a wizard, when you’re finished with the first step, you click the button to continue, and it tells you what the next step is. When you’ve run out of ‘Continue’ buttons, you’re done!
Narration is Easy
One of the steps is narration. There is a place where you can write notes for yourself about what you want to say. Each piece of narration is attached to a picture – which makes it much less intimidating than having to narrate an entire slideshow. Just add narration to the pictures that need it. The rest will just play to the music.
Let the Program Compose the Music
Lots of software, even Picasa, allow you to add a song – a music file – to a slideshow. Photo Story will do that as well, but it has another option. It will actually compose music. All you do is pick a genre (classical, country, etc.) and a tempo, Photo Story does all the rest. There are two reasons why this is so special:
- Timing: since the music is being composed to fit your slides, it has an ending at the appropriate time
- There is no copyright, so you can upload to public sharing sites like Youtube without running afoul of their terms of service.
Why settle for boring slideshows when you can direct and produce a movie for free. We have 11 tutorial videos on Photo Story 3 that show you how, step by step. Or you can just download the software and start playing! If you make a movie and upload it to somewhere that we can see, leave a link in the comments OK? Here is one that I made about my family’s early RVing experiences.