Photo Story 3 for Windows: frequently asked questions

Get answers to some frequently asked questions about Photo Story 3 for Windows in Windows XP.

Installing Photo Story 3 for Windows

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What is Photo Story 3?

Photo Story 3 includes features that enable you to create a slide show with your digital pictures, edit your pictures, create your story with original music, add narration, and share them with your family and friends.

Create a photo story. You can create a photo story that includes motion, narration, and music. Photo Story 3 includes dramatic pan and zoom effects, picture rotation, and cropping tools to customize your photos. You can also compose an original soundtrack from directly within Photo Story 3, narrate your story and add special effects, transitions, and much more.

Edit and save your photo story. The smart touch-up features make it easy to instantly remove red eye, and correct the lighting in your pictures. There are also several different options for saving a story and its associated project so that you can edit the story later, or share it immediately.

Import pictures. If you have a collection of pictures on a camera or a website, you can import these pictures into your photo stories.

What is Windows Genuine Advantage validation?

The Windows Genuine Advantage validation process enables you to verify that your copy of Windows is licensed and supported by Microsoft. When you request a genuine Microsoft software download from the Microsoft Download Center, you will be prompted to complete the validation process.

After the validation process is complete, you'll be taken back to the initial download details page to obtain your requested download.

Why must I activate Windows XP so that I can install Photo Story 3?

Microsoft Product Activation is an anti-piracy technology designed to verify that the product has been legitimately licensed. Photo Story 3 requires that Windows XP is activated.

Importing and editing pictures

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How do I edit or add special effects to the pictures in my photo story?

You can edit and enhance your pictures in several ways by selecting any of the following options from the shortcuts on the Import and arrange your pictures page, or the Edit dialog box:

  • Correct color levels

  • Correct red eye

  • Correct contrast

  • Rotate the picture clockwise or counterclockwise

  • Manually crop the picture

  • Remove black borders and automatically crop the picture

You can also add effects, such as Black and White, which change the appearance of the picture.

Note that none of the changes you make will affect the original picture that is stored on your computer, a network folder, or the Internet.

You can also add titles to each picture in your story or to selected pictures only. On the Add a title to your pictures page, use the buttons over the title box to adjust the placement of your title and the font.

Will my original picture be affected if I edit it in Photo Story 3?

None of the changes that you make while you are editing a photo story affect the original pictures that are stored on your computer, a network folder, or the Internet.

Adding narration and music

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Can I use more than one background song in a story?

You can add songs to every picture in your story, and Photo Story 3 will play each song for as long as the pictures are displayed in your story. Only one piece of music can play for a selected picture or anchor image.

You can add multiple songs from your computer, the My Music folder, or from the prerecorded music in Photo Story 3 to your story.

How do I change the length of my story to match the length of the background music?

Photo Story 3 automatically adjusts the amount of time a piece of music will play with your story. By default, a piece of music will play for the duration of the music, to the length of the filmstrip, or to the start of the next music clip, whichever is shorter.

How do I make the narration louder so it can be heard over the background music?

If you preview your story and the narration can't be heard clearly, on the Narrate your picture and customize motion page, click the Configure Microphone and Set Recording Volume button to adjust the volume setting for recording and playback.

If the narration still can't be heard over the background music, you may need to adjust the background music volume levels to accommodate your narration. To do this, on the Add background music page, click the picture in the filmstrip, and then adjust the music volume using the volume slider bar. You may need to adjust the volume and preview your story a few times to get it the way you want.

How do I use a specific section of music from my soundtrack for my photo story?

If you want to add a middle segment of a song to your photo story, you can use Windows Movie Maker 2 to create a music file that contains only that particular segment of music. Then you can add the music file created in Movie Maker to your photo story.

To create a music file

  1. Click Start, point to All Programs, and then click Windows Movie Maker.

  2. Drag the music files that you want to add to your story from any folder or location on your computer to the Collections pane.

    Windows Movie Maker will automatically create a new project.

  3. In the Collections pane, click the music files you want to add to your project, and then drag the selected clip to the storyboard/timeline.

    The timeline lets you review and change the timing of the music clips in a project.

  4. To trim the unwanted portions of songs, select a clip on the storyboard/timeline to display the trim handles, click one of the trim handles, and then drag it to a new point on the storyboard/timeline.

  5. To save the edited music clip, on the File menu, click Save Movie File.

    The Save Movie Wizard will walk you through the process of saving the movie with the edited music clips. You will need to remember the file name and location where you saved the clip.

  6. On the Add background music page, select the picture that you want the music to begin on, and then click Select Music.

  7. Browse to the location where you saved the music clip, and then click Open.

Why does the music change when I edit my photo story?

When using the Create Music option, Photo Story automatically adjusts the length of the music to match the length of time the pictures are shown. Therefore, if you add or delete a picture, the music will also change so that it ends with the last picture.

Why won't the songs I bought online work with Photo Story 3?

Copy protected music cannot be added to a photo story. The license that was purchased with the music does not allow for republication.

Viewing your photo stories

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What is required to playback a photo story?

To playback a photo story, all you need is a media player that can play Windows Media Video (WMV) files, such as Windows Media Player 10.

Is Photo Story 3 for Windows required to playback a photo story?

Photo Story 3 is not needed to playback a photo story. To playback a photo story, all you need is a media player that can play a Windows Media Video (WMV) file, such as Windows Media Player 10.

How do I view my photo story in Media Center?

To launch Media Center, in Windows XP Media Center Edition, on the Start menu, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, and click Media Center. In My Videos, select the photo story that you want to play. The My Videos folder contains all your videos and photo stories by default.

How do I view my photo story on other computers?

To playback a photo story, all you need is a media player that can play a Windows Media Video file. Windows Media Player 10 is recommended.

How do I view my photo story on mobile devices?

Windows Media Player 10 Mobile can play files created by Photo Story 3.

Windows Media Player 9 Series for Pocket PC and Smartphone can only play the audio portion of files, and not the video portion, created by Photo Story 3.

If necessary, you can use Windows Movie Maker to convert Photo Story 3 files into files that will play in Windows Media Player 9 Series for Pocket PC and Smartphone, and some earlier versions of Windows Media Player Mobile.

To import Photo Story 3 files into Windows Movie Maker

  1. In Windows Movie Maker, click the File menu, click Save Movie File, and then click My computer.

  2. Enter a file name, and then choose a location to save your movie.

  3. On the Movie Setting page, click Show more choices, and then choose one of the following Video for Pocket PC movie settings:

    • Video for Pocket PC (218 Kbps)

    • Video for Pocket PC (143 Kbps)

    • Video for Pocket PC (Full screen 218 Kbps)

  4. After the movie is saved, click Finish.

  5. With your mobile device connected to your computer, open Microsoft ActiveSync, and then click Sync.

How do I prevent my pictures from looking grainy in the final photo story video?

Saving your photo story using a profile with a higher resolution can help prevent the grainy effect. You can change the resolution by choosing Settings on the Save your story page. The higher profiles contain better resolution of the pictures. The higher the resolution, the more system resources required to play the story. This can make the story appear jerky if the computer does not have enough system resources to handle high resolution video.

Why do I hear audio but cannot see the video when I play my photo story?

This can occur when a computer does not have the correct Windows Media Video Image codecs installed. To install the necessary codecs, do one of the following:

  • Connect to the Internet before you open a photo story in Windows Media Player 9 series or earlier, so that the Player can download the codecs.

  • On the computer where you are attempting to view the story, download and install Windows Media Player 10, which includes the necessary codecs.

Why does my photo story flicker when I play it in Windows Media Player?

If flickering occurs, you may need to reduce the hardware acceleration of your video card.

To reduce hardware acceleration

  1. In Windows Media Player, click Tools, click Options, and then click Performance.

  2. Move the Video acceleration slider bar to the left until your photo stories or video files do not flicker when you play them.

Sharing your photo stories

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How do I send a photo story by e‑mail?

After you create your photo story, on the Save your story page, click Send this story in an e‑mail message. On the Completing Photo Story 3 for Windows page, click Continue to e-mail your story.

If your e‑mail program is configured, Photo Story will open an e‑mail message with your story attached. If your e‑mail program is not configured, on the Completing Photo Story 3 for Windows page, click Save your story, and then send the story in an e‑mail message after you configure your e‑mail program.

How do I get my photo story onto a device?

You can synchronize (or copy) videos, including the photo story videos, from the desktop version of Windows Media Player 10 to a Windows Mobile-based device.

To synchronize a photo story to your device, you must have Windows Media Player 10 and ActiveSync 3.7.1 or later installed on your desktop computer. Then you can connect your device to the computer and establish a partnership. The ActiveSync wizard will let you choose a synchronization method (automatic or manual) the first time you use ActiveSync.

The photo story videos will appear in the Windows Media Player 10 Mobile library on your device.

How do I create a Video CD of my photo story?

There are three ways to create a Video CD (VCD) that contains your photo stories:

  1. You can obtain Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition, view the Photo Story 3-authored Windows Media Video (WMV) file in Photo Story 2, and create a VCD using the Photo Story 2 Video CD-burning feature.

  2. You can obtain Microsoft Digital Image Suite 10 or above and view the Photo Story 3-authored WMV file in the photo story that comes with Microsoft Digital Image Library, and save and burn it to VCD.

  3. You can obtain VCD-authoring products that convert Photo Story 3 WMV files into files that can be copied to a DVD and played in a DVD player.

Note

  • VCD and DVD-authoring software is not included with Photo Story 3.

How do I create a DVD of my photo story?

DVD authoring software is not included with Photo Story 3. However, using third-party software, there are two ways to save a photo story to a DVD.

  • You can obtain Sonic DVD for Photo Story 3 from Sonic Solutions. With this plug-in, you can save to a DVD profile and burn to a DVD all within the Photo Story 3 wizard.

  • You can obtain DVD-authoring products that work with Photo Story files, such as MyDVD version 5 or later by Sonic Solutions or InstantCD\DVD by Pinnacle Systems. You can use this software to convert the Windows Media Video (WMV) files into files that can be copied to a DVD and played in a DVD player.

Adding video to your photo stories

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How do I add video to a photo story?

Photo Story 3 cannot import video, but does save it in the Windows Media Video (WMV) file format. The WMV file format can be imported by many programs that import video. One recommended way to add other video to your photo story is to import your photo story into Windows Movie Maker 2, and then edit or add additional videos as necessary.

What is the difference between Photo Story 3 and Windows Movie Maker?

Microsoft Photo Story 3 for Windows creates video from still pictures only. Windows Movie Maker can create a video from both a video source and still pictures. The advantage of Photo Story is that you can pan and zoom each image and easily create an entire photo album movie in just a few steps. Windows Movie Maker does not offer the same pan and zoom effects.

Another difference is that the Windows Media Video (WMV) file created by Photo Story 3 uses a special program that is highly optimized for saving videos that are generated from images with pan and zoom. This special program allows compressing the video to very small file sizes while maintaining high video quality. Windows Movie Maker is optimized for general purpose video files. If a photo story WMV file is opened and saved in Windows Movie Maker, the file sizes will be much larger for the corresponding video quality.

Using Digital Image Library

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What is Digital Image Library, and where is it?

Microsoft Digital Image Library helps you to organize and archive your pictures. If you have Digital Image Library, Photo Story 3 will have a tab listed on the File Browser page when you select Import Pictures. If you do not have Digital Image Library, this tab will not exist in Photo Story 3.

Why does Digital Image Library 9 and 10 launch Photo Story 2 instead of Photo Story 3?

Digital Image 9 and 10 both include previous versions of Photo Story. Since there are features in Photo Story 2 that are not included in Photo Story 3, such as a license for Video CD-burning, Photo Story 3 does not replace the older versions of Photo Story. If you want to use Photo Story 3, you can do so, but not from within Digital Image 9 and 10. This gives you the opportunity to create a photo story in Photo Story 3 using all the features and advantages of Photo Story 3, then save it and open it in the older version of Photo Story that was shipped with Digital Image 9 or 10 to burn it to a Video CD (VCD).