If you're looking to create a more personal greeting card and the thought of glue sticks and glitter scares you, try your hand at a video card. With Windows Movie Maker you can create and share a great-looking video card out of your favorite photos in just a few simple steps.
You can make cards for birthdays, to share vacation pics, or to say “thank you.” Then take advantage of the easy-to-use tools that make it a snap to edit, add transitions, and music. When you're done, upload it straight to Microsoft SkyDrive, YouTube, or Facebook. Sound good? Let's get started!
Your own photos or videos
An Internet connection
Now, it's time to add the photos you want to share. Just click the white box on the right where it says Click here to browse for videos and photos. Select all your files by holding down the Ctrl key and pressing A, or select just certain files by holding down the Ctrl key while clicking the photos and videos you want to include. Or just drag your photos into the box. When you've selected the images you want, click OK.
In the Home tab, click Title to add a title slide to your video card. Name your card whatever you want. Get creative!
Now that your title and credit slides have been added, it's time to make sure everything is in the right order. Move the title slide to the very beginning of the movie and the credit slide to the end (if it's not already there) by dragging it to the right place. This will frame up the beginning and end of your video card. And if you want your photos to appear in a particular order, you can arrange them in the same way.
Be sure to take advantage of the Movie Maker AutoMovie themes, which automatically build in fun visual effects and transitions. To change your theme, go to the Home tab and select a different theme in the AutoMovie theme section. (Point to a theme for a preview.) After you click a new theme, you'll be prompted to add music.
Tip: As you play around with themes, you might notice that a black screen or extra title screen sometimes appears in your picture sequence. Go ahead and delete any slides you don't want.
Adding text to your video card is a snap (and you don't have to worry about penmanship). Click the photo you want to add text to, and then click Caption on the Home tab. You'll see a text box appear on the photo—just type in your caption. Then, if you want, you can change your font style, adjust size and color, and move the text box.
Rolling credits can put the finishing touches on your card—so if you want credits to appear, make sure you choose a theme that includes them. Then, simply double-click the little pink box that appears under each credit slide and fill out the text box that appears in the picture.
You're done—that was easy, right? Sharing your video is just as simple. To upload to sites like Facebook, SkyDrive, and YouTube, just click the appropriate icon in the Share group on the Home tab, and then follow the instructions. To burn your masterpiece onto a DVD that you can send in the mail, click Save movie, and then Burn a DVD.
So there you have it: a fun, digital alternative to the traditional greeting card.
Zia Munshi is a freelance writer and copywriter who has written for a wide variety of publications and companies, including Microsoft and MSN. She especially loves writing about technology because it gives her an excuse to buy all the latest gadgetry and software. She lives in Seattle with her husband and her dog.
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