Vacation. A time to play, relax, spend time with your family and take photos and video. Most people, upon vacation end, want to assemble those photos and videos into something they can then share with others. So, what you do need to create something that looks better than something you’d see on America’s Funniest Home Videos? Well, you are in luck. There are several freebies you can obtain that will do the trick.
For Mac users, you have iMovie and that’s pretty much all you will need. iMovie has several nice templates for assembling the parts of your video as well as licensed music for you to include.
For Windows users, you also have several choices including Microsoft’s Movie Maker. Movie Maker has come a long way since its debut with Windows ME. With each release, it has gotten better and better. Microsoft recently released an update to the application.
The update is not earth shattering, but it includes several features found in applications you would pay real money for, including video stabilization and audio control.
Video stabilization is the biggie. It works very much like the feature in packages from Adobe in that it does crop the video a bit, which is achieves the illusion of stabilizing the picture. While it is not as dramatic as I have seen in other packages, it does work and works surprisingly well.
Other features include audio dubbing, better audio mixing, and the ability to emphasize the music track or the video track. You can also speed up the video. Oh, there’s also more options available to export your video to…including Android and Apple devices like iPhone and iPad. Of course, Microsoft’s own devices are there, including support for Zune and Windows Phone.
Another tool that is still available, again from Microsoft, is Photostory 3. Photostory works strictly with still photos. It allows you to stitch together photos to make a video. You can take the resultant video and incorporate them into your Movie Maker projects. There’s a great site you can go to for PhotoStory 3, click here to go there. Microsoft has a great site about PhotoStory 3. Click here to visit that page.
PhotoStory 3 has three really nice features that will make your video look more professional: ‘Ken Burns effect’ which allows you to ‘pan and zoom’ on a photo to emphasize parts of the photo; auto music generation so you won’t need to worry music rights if you upload your creation to YouTube and the ability remove the bars from the left or right or top and bottom.
Finally, Picasa from Google has several features to help with cleaning up your photos as well as a crude video slide show. I like Picasa mostly for its ability to clean up a photo. Windows Photo Gallery works well, but Picasa has a bit more control and options for cleaning them up, including white balance features.
You can burn the resultant to video to DVD using the Windows DVD Maker included with Vista and Windows 7.
These free tools will work well together and, with a little effort, your video can look and sound great and your cost will be in time, not money.