I love taking photos and short videos, especially when we are out and about town, at the theme park or anywhere having fun. While I don’t always have a video camera with me, I always have my cell phone, at least. I have a Palm Pre, which, currently, does not do video. However, if you hold down the space bar, it takes photos in quick succession. On a recent visit to the Kings Dominion theme park, I took a dozen or so photos of one of the newest rides, El Dorado. El Dorado is a ‘magic carpet’ type ride, but themed to a fifties El Dorado Cadillac. The ‘car’ sits a platform that is then moved in a circle, fairly quickly.
Anyway, once we got back, I thought it would be interesting to stitch those photos together into a short video. But, how to do this? Well, it turns out to be very easy and can be done on the cheap. I actually did it two different ways: once using Microsoft Movie Maker and once using Picasa 3. Picasa 3 makes this a really easy thing to do. Read on to see just how easy this is.
Once you import your photos into Picasa, select the photos you wish to turn into the video clip. They will be placed in the tray. Next, click the ‘make movie’ button. The Movie Maker interface will appear. On the left pane, select ‘Time Lapse’ as the transition style. This is important and is the key to the effect. Next, slide the duration to the desired setting. 1/6 Sec seems to be the most realistic. Of course, if you have LOTS of photos that were taken closer together, you could back the setting down. You will have to play with the setting to reach the desired effect. Since I had so few, I had to slow it down a bit.
You can add a title page or closing title if you wish. Once you have got your video the way want, click Create Movie. If you are using Windows, Picasa will create a WMV file. You can also create a YouTube clip and upload directly to your YouTube page.
Since the resulting file is a WMV file, you can import the clip into Windows Movie Maker and create a longer video by adding to the timeline several times. For something like my El Dorado clip, I could put several instances of it on the timeline to make it look like a longer video. You could also use several clips made this way to simulate an old silent movie, much like a Laurel and Hardy type clip. All kinds of interesting possibilities are available using these simple free tools.
Again, more photos that were taken in quick succession will give you a better effect. This method, by the way, has been used by movie makers. One of Tim Burton’s animated films was, supposedly, shot using a Canon DSLR camera and stitched together much like I did here. Now, I’m not saying this will make you the next Tim Burton, but it could liven up those vacation slide shows or videos and the tools are free.
Download Picasa 3
Windows Movie Maker ships with Windows XP and Windows Vista.