PHOTO FILMSTRIP TO MAKE PHOTO SLIDESHOW VIDEOS
©2022 Donald R. Snow - Page last updated 2022-05-09
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ABSTRACT: PHOTO FILMSTRIP is a free program that makes
"Ken Burns"-type videos of you still photos. These videos appear to have motion which is the "Ken Burns" effect. The program allows captions,
visual effects, and sound files for background music or
narration. This class will discuss the program and how
to use it. The notes for this class and related
articles, all with active Internet links, are on Don's website
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION
- Instructor is Donald R. Snow of St. George and
Provo, Utah ( email@example.com
- These notes, with active Internet links and other
related articles, are posted on Don's website http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html
- Tips: (1) To put an icon on your desktop
for the URL for these notes, or any web page, just drag
the icon in front of the address in your browser to
your desktop. (2) To open a link while
keeping your place in the original page, hold down the
Control key while clicking the link so it opens in a
- Problem for today: What is PHOTO FILMSTRIP, where to get it, how to use it, and we will look at examples.
WHAT IS PHOTO FILMSTRIP?
- PHOTO FILMSTRIP is a free program
that makes "Ken Burns" type videos from your still photos.
- Available from -- in German: http://www.photofilmstrip.org/de/
and in English from -- https://www.photofilmstrip.org/en/
- Article about it -- https://www.ghacks.net/2011/07/13/photofilmstrip-turn-photos-into-video/
- Ken Burns is the fellow who makes historical videos
that are educational and entertaining for PBS and other
TV channels; many of his videos include still
photographs, but by panning around in them, they appear
in motion and hold your interest and you can emphasize
what you want; you set the length of time for each photo
and any background narration or music that you want
- Video tutorials are at http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=tutorial+photofilmstrip&qpvt=tutorial+photofilmstrip&FORM=VDRE
- We will look at the steps in using PHOTO FILMSTRIP.
STEP 1 - DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL PHOTO FILMSTRIP
- After downloading, install it. There is also a
portable version that runs from a flash drive, so it
doesn't need to be installed on the computer running it.
- On the website is information about the program,
including a video made with it.
STEP 2 - SELECT AND ORGANIZE THE PHOTOS TO USE
- Include as many photos as you want, b but start with just a few to learn the program.
Each slide needs to be shown for several seconds, so you can get an estimate of how many to use by dividing the total desired length by about 10 seconds. music
- he nusic/narration will also determine the total length and the times can be adjusted later in the program.
STEP 3 - BACKGROUND MUSIC OR NARRATION FILE
- PHOTO FILMSTRIP only allows the sound formats of wav or
mp3, soy ou many need to convert yo ur music or narration into one of those formats.
- if you have something in a different format, you
will have to convert it to one of these formats.
- The length of the sound track determines how long your
video will be; if it is a narration about the photos, note
the length of time for each description, so you can set
the time to show each photo; you can adjust the PHOTO
FILMSTRIP default time of 5 seconds to whatever you need
for each photo
STEP 4 - RUN THE PROGRAM
- Run PHOTO FILMSTRIP and click to start a new project.
- The setup screen asks for the aspect ratio to use, i.e., the ratio of width to height of the final
video; I usually use 4 x 3, rather than 16
- Tell it where to find the sound file and that will set
the length of the video
- If you don't use a sound file, you can let it default to
5 seconds for each photo you will use or set
the total length yourself
STEP 5 - DRAG AND DROP THE PHOTOS AND SET THEIR
- Drag and drop the photos into the program and they form
a "film strip" across the bottom of the screen
- You can rearrange the photos by dragging and dropping.
- Click on the first photo in the filmstrip and set its
parameters, i.e. how long to show it on screen, what
rectangular part of the photo to start with and what
rectangular part to end with; add a caption, if desired;
and set other options.
- The starting and ending rectangular boxes show what the
final video will show; these will be in full screen and
expand or contract and move to where the ending rectangle
is, so if you start with a small area of the photo, that
will be shown full screen at the start; it takes a little
practice to get used to how this works, but it's not hard
- The program has a default setting for the beginning and
ending rectangles of each photo that you can use to start
with and watch the video to get the idea
- Text jpg's can be included as titles in any photo
position to indicate new sections of the video; these can
be made using text art from word processors, as discussed
- There are fades and rotations and other settings that
you can also use for each photo
- Go through all the photos to set the options the way you
STEP 6 - RENDER THE VIDEO AND SAVE THE PROJECT
- "Rendering" means forming the video using the photos,
sound, and settings that you have made
- IMPORTANT NOTE 1: Before rendering, change the
default setting from PAL to NTSC, since PAL is the
European system and NTSC is the American system.
- Draft rendering takes much less time than the final High
Definition rendering, so you can see a rough copy of the
video and make changes the way you want before doing the
- When it is the way you want, Render a Medium or High
Definition video -- High Def may take 30 minutes or more,
but gives you a better final product.
- Formats for rendering: Of the several final format
options, I usually use mp4/avi format
- When finished rendering, the final video and subtitle
files will be in a folder and will be called "output.avi"
and "output.srt", respectively; you can rename "output" to
anything you want, but do it in each file so the subtitle
file will be recognized, and keep the two files in the
same folder or it won't know where to find the subtitle
- The final video can be converted to another video format
which will include the subtitles in the same file, if you
- IMPORTANT NOTE 2: Save the Project -- This means
saving all the details, sound file, photos, options, etc.,
in PHOTO FILMSTRIP, so if you ever want to change parts of
it or render it in a different format, you won't have to
start from scratch -- When we first started using PHOTO
FILMSTRIP, we didn't know this, so after making several
videos and then wanting to out in subtitles, we had to
start over from the beginning and find the photos and
sound file again, and reset all the times and boxes,
etc. We had the final videos, but hadn't saved the
STEP 7 - WATCH THE VIDEO
- VLC is a good free video player -
- Usually the avi and subtitles files
need to be in the same folder with
the same names, except for the
- This is a powerful program and it is free, but it takes some learning to use it well.
- Once you do one or two videos, others will be easier to do.
- These videos make wonderful family history presents and to post on websites.
- FamilySearch will not take videos yet, but will eventually.