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.wp3 to video (avoiding WVP2 step)

.wp3 to video
The following pages assume you have fully prepared your 'Story' .wp3 using MS PhotoStory 3 (and already run whatever photo 'optimisation' you require)

What's WVP2 ?

WVP2 is the (only) 'finished story' output format supported by PhotoStory 3. It is designed for a 'Photo Slide Shows' and NOT for a 'movie' - which means it comes with some built in limitations

Instead of 'extracting' ALL the required video frames from the original photos, WVP2 only extracts a 'sub set' of 'frames'. To convert this into a movie, Windows Movie Maker etc. then uses a 'morphing' process to generate the 'intermediate' frames. Worse, whist the number of frames generated during slow Story "pan and zooms" is fine, a "fast pan and zoom" at high resolution results in visible 'jumps' and 'jitters' during playback

There is also the issue of 'sharpness'. First PhotoStory 3 interpolates the original photos down to the output resolution (to get the 'frames' for the WVP2), then a second interpolation will take place when the WVP2 frames are 'morphed' into WMV etc. This reduces the 'sharpness', making the video 'smoother'.

In practice, the main cause of a 'smooth' / 'out of focus' video is when PhotStory 3 has to 'interpolate up' to the output resolution. However we can address this issue by processing the photos in the .wp3 archive prior to output (as seen in my previous QBasic scripts page)

Then there is the resolution limit - PhotoStory 3 WVP2 is 'limited to 2000 pixels wide/high'

In fact, with a hand modified Profile, output resolutions over 2000 pixels can be obtained, however (as noted above) playback of high resolution the WVP2 suffers from 'jumps' and 'glitches'

Conversion of the Project (.wp3) file into video

The PhotoStory .wp3 archive contains everything necessary to build a movie. Specifically, the 'project.xml' (which defines how the movie should be built) along with all the original (uncropped, full resolution) photos and both .wav soundtracks (music and narration).

So, 'all' you need is to do is use the data in the project.xml to 'convert' the photos into a movie :-)

Manual conversion

It is actually quite possible to write a simple script to 'morth' between two (jpg) photos. At 25 fps, each minute of the Story means 1500 frames, so for 10 minutes that's 'only' 15,000 frames. There are Open Source utilities that can take a set of frames and (unpack) them into an AVI - from which any number of 'format converters'

The most 'basic' AVI consists of uncompressed (BMP??) frames, so one thing to 'watch out' for is that each AVI file must not exceed 1Gb (XP and many 'format converters' will happily allow 2Gb, however you may well end up with an unplayable, or non-convertable result) - a frame of HD as BMP is RGB (3 bytes) x 1920x1080 = just under 6Mb .. 1G is thus 172 frames which is just under 7s of video !

More modern AVI formats suppoprt jpg frames, however 1Gb is still only 1 miniute or so.

Given the 1Gb restriction, the 'simplist' apparoach (for scripting) is to start by generating a set of frames for each photo 'transition' (i.e from the middle of 'a' to the moddle of 'b') followed by AVI 'packing' and then conversion from AVI into h264 (for HD). All the individual transitions are then manually imported into a suitable Movie edit package and assembled into a single movie (and the audio track added).

Whilst somewhat tedious, it is possible to assemble 100+ photo transitions into a 10 miniute Movie

Of course if your 'make AVI' utility cab handle jpgs, you can process 10 or so transitioons at once and the 'assembly' of a 10 miniute Movie becomes a rather more practical propsitions :-)

My QBasic script can be used generate video frames from an unpacked .wp3 archive by extracting pixels direct from each photo. The video frames thus created can then be 'built' into a movie using the MakeAVI utility (Open Source) which will use the x264 (H264) encoder (if installed) or Microsoft's 'MPEG4 V3' encoder (or others) in an .AVI 'wrapper'

the QBasic script does not handle 'transitions' - yes, Image Magik will 'merge' two photos = so the QBasic script could easily be modified to handle a simple 'fade' type transition (and I have no doubt the other effects could also be handled by various Image Magik manipulations), however the processing time for dozens of photos is already excessiveFinally, audio is not supported at all (although, chances are, you will want to use Audacity etc. to build a real 5.1 sound track rather then process the 2 channel stereo/DPLII contained in the .wp3 archive)

However this approach WILL allow you to generate almost 'any' output resolution you require (including xHD "4k" etc)

Using Windows Movie Maker XP

In theory, it should be possible to 'convert' the .wp3 Project.xml into a Windows Movie Maker 'add on function' .xml that 'operates' on the Story image set

As usual, Microsoft has removed the information needed to generate the xml control files for Movie Maker XP in favour of Movie Maker 6 (Vista). Two useful 3rd party sources are Creating custom titles

Note that, Windows Movie Maker will check 3 different locations for an 'AddOnTFX' folder and load all the .xml 'effects' found on startup (so making changes to the .xml after starting WMM has no effect). To avoid confusion, I recommend you stick to using the C:\ProgramFiles\MovieMaker\Shared\AddOnTFX\ folder.

Click 'Next >>' in the Navigation bar left for a guide to using MediaInfo to find out what's hiding inside your video 'container'

The pages in this topic are :-

  + Using Movie Maker - (to make DVDs)

  + Using Media Encoder - (and AVCHDs) == Latest changes (modified 29th May 2018 14:40.)

Next page :- Using Movie Maker - (to make DVDs)