PhotoStory 3

Photo Story 3 for Windows (not Mac) is made by Microsoft and has been around for a few years, but through its use in various school districts, it has acquired quite a following among computer teachers and anyone looking for a quick, free, good-looking slideshow builder. That's exactly what it is. For those who have still not seen PhotoStory in action, I always get oohs and ahhhs when I show how easy it is to use, and how amazingly quick professional-looking slideshow results can be. Here is a quick tutorial link from Microsoft to guide you through the basic steps. "Experience your photos in amazing new ways" is the slogan used on the Microsoft PhotoStory 3 site, and that is what this program allows you to do. Add the Ken Burns movement effect to each photo, and turn the whole thing into a portable movie file. It downloads quickly, is extremely easy to use, and the whole process involves only 5 steps! Just upload your images, add titles to the slides if you want, arrange them in the order that you choose, then add your background music (which includes a library of sound effects and basic music in various styles to fit your story's mood), or you can simply import a song that you created (any .mp3 will do) and share your movie in a number of nicely-compressed formats. My favorite is .wmv, which is a video format that is small enough that it works nicely on a Web site.

Important Caveat: Despite its relatively small file size (for a movie), I have found that many people still are not satisfied with the .wmv format. It won't play your home DVD player. Folks often want to distribute their photo stories to others on DVD, such as Grandma and Grandpa. To do that, you will have to pay $19.99 and download the PhotoStory DVD Plugin, made by Sonic. You can get that from
this site. Add this plug-in to Photo Story 3 and burn your slideshows to DVD. Just install it, create your slideshow, and an option to create a DVD appears. The plug-in allows you to import old slideshows and burn those to DVD, too. For a complete step-by-step tutorial entitled "Burn a Photo Story to DVD and Watch It on Your TV," click here.

One more tip: If you save your photo story as a Project, you can go back later and add more pictures and even photo editing effects, or even change the music. Take a look at the video sample I created below. It took me less than 10 minutes from start to finish. Honest. Click
here to download PhotoStory.


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