Tag Archives: Movie Maker

Using Google Photos to make instant movies from your photos

If you use Google Photos to store your photos and videos, you need to try making movies! It is drop-dead easy to make short movies complete with music that you can then share with your friends. Creating custom movies is a feature of the mobile app for Google Photos – you can only view and edit the movies on the computer/web version.

Step One: Select the photos and videos you want to be in your movie.

To make a movie from photos and videos, first select the photos and videos you want. Long-Press on the first one to get into selection mode, then you can just tap on the others. The maximum number for a movie is 50, but you’ll be more successful if you keep it closer to 20. Notice the number in the upper left.

Step 2: Tap the + and choose Movie

Step 3: Save

Your movie should play for you, and you’ll hear music. If you like what you see and hear, just tap on Save and you’re done! It really is that simple. If there are things you don’t like about it, there are several simple edits you can do before saving.

Why is my movie vertical?

About a year ago, someone at Google decided that people only use their phones for photos and videos so the best way to render the movies would be in a vertical. That’s how they look best on a phone. But, I for one, take most of my photos and videos in a horizontal (landscape) orientation. I like to look at my photos and videos on a computer or big screen TV – I hate the vertical format. So I stopped using the movie feature.

Change it to horizontal: now they give us the choice but the default is still vertical (portrait.) If you want to change it like I do, you just tap the orientation button and select Landscape.

Motion Photos make your movie come to life

On the iPhone, they’re called Live Photos. On Samsung and Pixel, they’re called Motion Photos. What it means is that, when you snap a photo, the phone captures a few seconds of video as well. Usually, when you view these photos, they just look like any other photo – a single shot. But, if you tap the pause/play button using Google Photos, you’ll see the video.

In putting together this lesson on Movie Making, I made an exciting discovery. When you use motion photos in making a movie, it automatically uses the video portion, making your movie literally come to life. Contrary to what I teach in the video below, this happens on both iOS and Android. I think it is a very recent change.

If you prefer to use the still shot of any given photo in your movie, you can tap the 3-dots to the right of the clip and select “disable Live/motion photo.”

Let me show you how

Episode 218 of our Youtube show, What Does This Button Do? was all about making movies using Google Photos. If you don’t want to watch the whole 50 minutes, you can click a ‘chapter’ heading to watch just the parts you’re interesting in.

218.How to Make Movies from Your Photos Quick and Easy Using Google Photos

  • 0:0 Beginning
  • 0:41 Quick Tip Screen Shots on iPhone and Android
  • 6:31 Our location at BigMill.com
  • 11:29 Google Photos – an instant movie maker tutorial
  • 13:57 Live demo – make a movie
  • 20:34 Tutorial on editing movies
  • 29:25 Problems with Google Photos movie maker
  • 30:45 Making titles
  • 32:21 Motion photos put video into your Android-made movie
  • 36:52 Finding your movies
  • 39:22 Sharing movies
  • 40:28 What about computers?
  • 43:43 Review

Everyone can view any episode for free. Just click on the play button above, or the link to any ‘chapter’ in the video.

Scroll down to see the show notes, these will be available for Members Only.

Members get access to the extensive show-notes Chris writes up after each show. Read them online and follow links directly to the parts you’re interested in. We recommend you print them out and keep them in a notebook. It’s a great way to learn.

Not a member? Join here.

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Using Photo Story 3 to Create Music for Movie Maker

imageby Jim Guld

Photo Story 3 is a free program from Microsoft. It has been around since Windows XP. We have been using Photo Story 3 to easily create great slideshows with movement, transitions, narration, and music. It is the best free program we have found that does all that. It is also one of the easiest programs we teach about.  What it doesn’t do is work with video clips.  For that we teach Movie Maker.  But Movie Maker can’t make music.  Photo Story can actually create music on the fly.  This article shows you how to create the music in Photo Story for use in a completed video made with Movie Maker.

Photo Story is Back!

I was worried when the installation on my Windows 8 computer failed. Now, with the update to Windows 8.1 it works! I thought we would have to stop teaching it.  The program walks you through the entire process of creating a slideshow. We have a complete Learning Library set of Tutorial Videos on how to use Photo Story 3.

The end result is a .WMV file, Windows Media Video. That format can be incorporated into a Movie Maker project as a video clip, or for this example, Photo Story is used to create the music for your Movie Maker music track.

You Need Copyright Free Music Before you can Upload to Youtube

Music enhances any video project. Problems can arise if you use copyrighted music and want to upload the video to the web. Video sharing sites like YouTube will not allow that. You can find copyright-free music on the web, but it is a lot of fun to create your own music.

I have a Movie Maker project with a few still pictures and several video clips. The entire project is 5 minutes in length. I want to add a music soundtrack. You can learn how to use Movie Maker using our Tutorial Videos.

In Photo  Story 3

Make a Project to Create the Music

  • I begin a new story and import a single picture. It doesn’t really matter what picture, because it will not be part of the end result.
  • When you click Next>, you can put a title on your picture. You might want to do that to identify it as a music file, but you don’t have to.
  • Click Next and you will be on the screen to Customize Motion and add narration. This is the key screen to creating music of the proper length for your soundtrack.
  • Click the Customize Motion button under the picture. You will get another screen where you will set the number of seconds to display the picture.
    A minute is 60 seconds, so a 5 minute sound track is going to be 5 X 60 = 300 seconds. Set the number of seconds to the desired length of your soundtrack.image

Design the Music to Create

  • Click Save and then Close the window. When you click Next, you will get this screen:


  • Now you can create the music for your soundtrack. Get ready for some fun.
  • Click the Create Music… button. You will be presented with a screen to choose a Genre, Styles, Instruments, Moods, Tempo, and Intensity. You can preview your choices until you are satisfied. I will warn you, this can keep you entertained for hours!
  • Use the dropdowns to choose your music. Mix and match until you achieve your desired sound using the Play button. You can even change some settings while the music is playing.
  • You want to choose music that is appropriate to your Movie Maker project.
  • Save your Project if you ever want to go back and redesign it

Render the .WMV file with the music

  • Then click OK. When you click Next, you will save your story. I use the first choice; “Save your story for playback on your computer.”
  • Choose a filename and the location on your computer where you want it to go. I recommend saving it with the Movie Maker project. Use a descriptive filename.
  • When you click Next, Photo Story 3 will build your story and generate the custom music you created.
  • The end result will be a .WMV file in your project folder.

In Movie Maker

Now you can open your Movie Maker project and choose Add Music. Find the .WMV file you created with Photo Story 3. It is best to show “all files” to find it. It will automatically be imported to the music track of your movie.

Congratulations. You now have a music soundtrack for your Movie Maker project!

In the following example, Photo Story was used to create the first 33 seconds … the still pictures with transition and music.  Then Movie Maker was used to combine that 33 second slideshow with 4 minutes of video and the music created by Photo Story.  A third piece of music was created for the credits!  It’s really not hard … the tutorial videos will show you how to do it all.