September 2007 Newsletter

Photo to Movie

Welcome to the Photo to Movie Newsletter

September 2007

September is almost over, which means Autumn has arrived, and so have a myriad of photo opportunities. In last month's newsletter we showed you how Photo to Movie could be used as a valuable tool to teach children the basics of editing and commemorate important classroom moments; we hope this gave you some useful ideas. This month, however, we'd like to remind you yet again that virtually any photo opportunity -- any special event, personal project, or casual picture collection -- can easily be enhanced with Photo to Movie, now more than ever before. Also, Photo to Movie 4.1 has started beta testing, with a number of new features noted below. And for Quicktime users we've got a detailed tutorial on how the codec H.264 can meet your needs. So take a few snapshots of the leaves changing color, or the sky's blue melting away into gray. Photograph your loved ones as they bundle up and prepare for the new season with sweaters and raincoats. Load those pictures onto your computer...and save some too for next month, where we'll show how Photo to Movie is indispensible during the holiday season.

Photo to Movie 4.1 (Mac OS) Beta Testing Has Begun!

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We're very excited about the new version of Photo to Movie, which has just started beta testing. Adding additional great features has made this already-user-friendly software even more fun to work with on any project, large or small. A few notable chages and additions to 4.1 include:

  • A number of new transitions, including barn door, blinds, droplet, flip, gradient wipe, mosaic, page curl, radial wipe, reflection, and swoosh. Twenty nine in all.
  • Improved timeline. A resizable timeline and multiple audio and title tracks make for easier editing. It's also easier to manage your default timing preferences.
  • Improved rendering capabilities. Greatly expanded rendering capabilities include the ability to do multipass rendering for higher quality. Also render for Apple TV, iPod, and iPhone with built-in presets.
  • New media browser. New media browser includes support for browsing Aperture libraries.
  • Automatic Updating. Automatic updating so that you're always using the latest version.

If you're interested in participating in the testing of this new update, please visit the Photo to Movie beta web page:

Other Photo to Movie Updates Available Too


The latest versions of Photo to Movie available for download from our website solve the Quicktime Error -61 issue that appears at the end of rendering when using QuickTime 7.2. In addition, Microsoft Windows users can download Photo to Movie 3.5.2, which is compatible with both Windows XP and Vista. All of these updates are free to licensed users and can be accessed here:

We'd also like to remind you that a cross-platform box is now available through all Apple stores and online at All you need to do is buy the software and pop in the CD, regardless of your operating system!

Photo to Movie at

Photo to Movie at

Did You Know?

Using H.264 to Create Professional-Grade Slideshows


Quicktime users have a powerful codec at their disposal (a codec is the software used to compress a finished video) that's as simple to use as clicking a few extra buttons in Photo to Movie. H.264, one of the latest advances in video technology contained in Quicktime, offers clean, crisp, high-quality video that maximizes hard drive space without compromising the beauty of your vision. If you have the latest version of Quicktime 7 installed then follow these easy steps to make the most of your slideshow.

These instructions refer to the Photo to Movie 4.0.8 (Mac OS X). Other versions and Photo to Movie (Windows) will differ slightly.

  • First, create your slideshow. When you've completed your creative process, then choose the menu item File > Make Movie....
  • Next, select the QuickTime button at the top. You'll see a number of options. Under "Movie Format," select "Custom".
  • Next, enter the desired frame size in the "Width" and "Height" fields. This indicates how large the final movie will be. When you change the frame size, Photo to Movie automatically constrains proportions for you, so the video will never look stretched or squeezed. Web video is often 320x240, standard video is often 640x480, and high definition video is often 1920x1080.
  • Now, click on the "Video" button. Select "H.264" from the compression type menu.
  • Select your frame rate. Frame rate is, simply put, the number of images shown during every second of video. The Standard NTSC (North American) frame rate is 29.97. However, if you'll be showing your slideshow on a non-US TV or are exporting for use in other software such as Final Cut Pro or Flash, there are a number of other options available to meet your needs.
  • Select your key frame settings. When video is compressed, a complete version of every frame of the movie is not included in the file. Instead, most frames just record the differences from the previous frame. Key frames are the ones that are complete frames. The more key frames, the higher the video quality, but also the larger the file size. You should choose a keyframe rate that considers the visual style of your movie; lots of movement, cuts, or shifts in color and lighting will require a higher keyframe rate, since the movie will change a good deal from one frame to the next. At 30 frames per second, a good rule of thumb is to use a key frame every 24 frames. (about 0.8 seconds).
  • You can also limit the overall data rate of your movie. The H.264 codec compresses data so that the larger details in each frame of the movie are put first and the smaller details are put last. By reducing the data rate, you can essentially strip off the smaller details which ironically take up more space in the rendered file. You can determine your data rate settings according to where your movie will be played. For movies played over a phone, choose 150-200 Kbps; for the internet, choose 300-500 Kbps; for standard video, choose 1000-2000 Kbps, and for full high definition video, choose 7000-8000 Kbps. For the highest quality possible, uncheck the "Limit Data Rate to" checkbox.
  • Finally, set your compressor quality. Apple recommends, as do we, that all video be exported at the highest quality -- this really shows H.264 in action. However, if you find that your files are getting too large you could slide the the cursor to the left a bit without too much of a downgrade.
  • Now your settings are calibrated! Don't forget to configure your audio before hitting "Make Movie".

Another note: H.264, like most codecs, is highly valuable but can take some getting used to before you maximize its potential. We recommend exporting a few trial slideshows at different settings just to get you accustomed to how the slightest changes in options can have large effects on your final file. Good luck, and we hope you enjoy the life-like quality of the slideshows that H.264 can produce.

For more information on H.264 and the points discussed above please visit Apple's tutorial here.


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LQ Graphics, Inc., 7172 Regional Street #297, Dublin, CA 94568