November 2007 Newsletter


Welcome to the Photo to Movie Newsletter

November 2007

Happy November from Photo to Movie! We hope your Thanksgiving was as fun and full of photo opportunities as ours was -- trust us, you'll marvel at the size of the turkey you cooked later in the year! With Thanksgiving over, the holiday season is finally here, with only a few weeks left to put up ornaments and shop for special gifts to give your loved ones. During this busy time of year we'd like to remind you to save just a little time to savor the moments you have with your family and friends. Don't forget to immortalize all your favorite traditions with photographs, either; the wonderful pictures you take can be used to create heart-warming and hilarious slideshows, viewable during the holidays for years to come. Last month we provided some more tips on creating your perfect slideshow, with a user profile on a Southwestern photographer and a tutorial on making movies with a transparant background. For November, we have a user profile with a quirky twist, and a little more info for our iMovie editors! And don't forget that beta testing for Photo to Movie 4.1 is still active, allowing you hands-on experience with new features that enhance your pictures like never before.

Photo to Movie also makes the perfect gift for home photo enthusiasts, and provides an easy and fun way to prepare your pictures for TV or internet viewing. It's a program that anyone can use, making it an excellent present for hard-to-shop-for family members. Show them how Photo to Movie can bring their family vacations, school events, and holiday traditions to life! The cross-platform Photo to Movie is available at both Amazon and Apple Stores.

Photo to Movie: Microsoft Vista and Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) Compatible

2007 has been an exciting year for computer software. Windows users everywhere are updating their operating systems to Vista, while Mac computers have a wealth of new features to enjoy with Leopard. Operating system updates invariably cause compatibility issues, however, rest assured that Photo to Movie will work just as well on your new OS. No downloads or updates needed!

Photo to Movie 4.1 (Mac OS) -- There's still time to Beta Test!

Beta testing for Photo to Movie Version 4.1 is well underway. The response from our users has been tremendous, but we still want you to give it a try and offer your thoughts. This is your opportunity to participate in an official update that makes this already-user-friendly software even more fun to work with on any project, large or small. A few notable changes and additions to 4.1 include:

  • Several 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:

Photo to Movie User Profile -- Jeffrey White


See the Nature with a Twist movie sample.

Jeff is a multimedia artist who struck up a partnership with comic Bruce Garrabrandt. Together, the two used Photo to Movie to create wry, witty slideshows of Bruce's drawings -- sometimes slowly zooming out to reveal the perfect punchline. We interviewed Jeff on his background, his work, his passions, and how Photo to Movie aids his and Bruce's comic vision.

LQ Graphics: What kind of work do you do?

Jeffrey White: For years I'd helped friends and family with photo retouching, video editing and multimedia DVD creation. My background is in Graphic Arts and Printing, but I have a lot of skill sets that are in-demand more than ever since the advent of digital photography. What began as a hobby is slowly turning into a small, but exciting side business.

LQ: How did you get involved with Bruce Garrabrandt? What drew you to his work?

JW: My parents owned a printing company when I was growing up and they worked very closely with Bruce producing lithographs of his art. I recall how fun it was each quarter that he came into town with new piece. One day I asked my parents whatever happened to Bruce and they said that he and his wife had purchased a bed and breakfast in Pennsylvania. As far as they knew, he was still adding to his library of whimsical, colored-pencil drawings. Having tried numerous trials of various motion effects software up to that point, I really liked what I was doing with Photo to Movie so I mustered the courage and reached out to Bruce and said that I had the experience to bring his art to life in ways never available to him at that point. Intrigued, we began talking and came up with a neat idea for a DVD. Bruce is also a prolific writer and does well in front of a camera, so we quickly partnered and came up with theme for "Nature With a Twist, A Playful Look at Life, Art and other Turmoil."

LQ: How do you use Photo to Movie?

JW: After photographing nearly 80 of Bruce's drawings, we bundled them into sets that had common themes. We then used Photo to Movie to show a portion of the art, slowly revealing the entire piece, and then revealing the "ironic" title of the art. This was all set to music that I arranged with the help of Apple's Garageband. There were 12 slideshows in all, and each acted as an intermission between comedic storytelling segments featuring Bruce telling funny stories injected with self-deprecating humor.

LQ: How has Photo to Movie benefited you in your work? Has it allowed you to do anything you couldn't do before?

JW: Photo to Movie is a major player in this DVD. There are only 5 hardware and software companies mentioned in the credits. In addition, Bruce and I are the are the only human beings involved in the creation of this DVD, along with a talented graphic designer friend who helped with the cover art. While we clearly have not produced a "Hollywood scale" production, I would say that Photo to Movie holds a 50% position from a software standpoint as the 12 slideshows play a substantial role in the DVD. In addition, the titles of many of Bruce's drawings are obscure, so Photo to Movie also trains the viewer to look for the irony in each piece as they're only displayed for 10-12 seconds each. In fact many people have commented that they really liked the slideshow portion because it became somewhat of game to try and figure out what each piece was called.

LQ: What feature(s) in Photo to Movie do you use most often?

JW: Simple pan and zoom were used mostly. But Photo to Movie's ability to help me keep timing was huge. I needed to maintain a rhythm and that was a great feature of Photo to Movie.

LQ: Do you use any additional software with Photo to Movie? Talk about the process between Photo to Movie and other photo, video-editing or DVD-authoring programs (such as Aperture, Final Cut, DVD Studio Pro, etc), as well as music programs (such as Garageband).

JW: Photo to Movie for the slideshows, Final Cut Express for final editing, Garageband for music, and in this case, iDVD for final burning of the master. They worked seamlessly together. While most of the software was Apple-based, the basic motion effect in iPhoto didn't cut it. Photo to Movie stepped it up a notch which is exactly what I needed.

LQ: In many cases it seems your editing style determines the pacing and the cadence of the comedy on Bruce's DVD (such as the zoom outs which slowly reveal his artwork). Do you have a background in humor at all?

JW: No, but I have a very good sense for what makes people laugh and what doesn't.

LQ: How has Photo to Movie helped you communicate Bruce's humor to a home viewing audience?

JW: Total Control was really our key to success here. While this is my first foray into formal video and DVD production. My role was different in that, I was the photographer, lighting guy, sound guy, videographer, collaborator, director, producer, post production, and sales guy. We began shooting pictures and working in Photo to Movie well before we began filming, so we already knew how things were going to look by the time we started filming. Couple this with Bruce's immense creative genius and it was a perfect match. We never once had an argument or major disagreement while producing this piece. We simply fed off of each other's creative energy all the while learning as we went along. Two things to note for anyone kind enough to purchase our DVD, no script, screenplay, production notes or tele-prompter were ever used, and what's more fascinating is that the entire 52 minutes were done in one take on a rainy Spring afternoon in a quaint town in Lancaster County, PA. It took longer for me to setup and breakdown the equipment than it did to film the piece. Bruce has no formal on screen experience, he's simply a disciplined, highly-creative individual filled with very large library of content waiting to be freed from his brain. Our partnership was somewhat serendipitous and Photo To Movie was clearly the software that gave me confidence to propose this idea to Bruce in the first place.

LQ: On that note, what have been some notable reactions to your work?

JW: Virtually everyone really likes the DVD. As I mentioned, it's clearly not of "Hollywood Scale," but that's precisely what we were looking to avoid. This is simply good, wholesome, humor that is sure to please most audiences and we're working hard to gain national exposure for it. Bruce's work has been compared by some as a cross between Norman Rockwell and Gary Larson's "Far Side," so we know we have a much larger audience out there.

LQ: Do you have any future plans for using Photo to Movie?

JW: Absolutely, DVD #2 is in the works and Photo to Movie will play the same powerful role it did in Nature With A Twist! Photo to Movie has taken decades of expensive mechanical still motion studio effects and bundled it into an easy-to-use software that caters to people of all skill levels. You'll see a lot more of us using Photo to Movie in the future!

Thanks for sharing your work with us, Jeff. If you'd like to learn more about Jeffrey White and Bruce Garrabrandt, visit the movie's official website here:

Did You Know?

Using Photo to Movie with iMovie


Last month we showed you how you could create a movie with a transparant background for use in programs like iMovie and Final Cut Pro. There's a little bit more to say about the relationship between Photo to Movie and iMovie, however, so this month we've decided to give a full overview of how to use both programs to bring your vision to life.

In essence, the two programs work seamlessly together. After creating your movie in Photo to Movie, you'll render to your desired file format and either drag the file to the "clips" section of iMovie (we recommend saving the movie exported from Photo to Movie in your Movies folder) or importing in (required in iLife '08). These few simple steps will often have excellent results.

It is important, however, to choose your Photo to Movie video format to match the iMovie video format. If you choose the wrong format, iMovie may transcode your video; in other words, change its format.

By choosing the right video format, you avoid the following:

  • Changing the video resolution, resulting in lower quality
  • Stretching or squishing your movie, resulting in distorted video
  • Applying additional color correction, resulting in incorrect colors

So what video format should you use?

If you are using an iMovie project with the format 'DV', you should export your movie from Photo to Movie using the 'DV Stream' file format and a Standard (4:3) aspect ratio.

If you are using an iMovie project with the format 'DV Widescreen', you should export your movie from Photo to Movie using the 'DV Stream' file format and a Widescreen (16:9) aspect ratio.

If you are using an iMovie project with the format 'HDV 1080i', you should export your movie from Photo to Movie using the 'HD-1080i-30' file format and a Widescreen (16:9) aspect ratio. The 'HD-1080i-30' file format will not be available unless you select Widescreen (16:9) aspect ratio.

If you are using an iMovie project with the format 'HDV 720p', you should export your movie from Photo to Movie using the 'HD-720p-30' file format and a Widescreen (16:9) aspect ratio. The 'HD-720p-30' file format will not be available unless you select Widescreen (16:9) aspect ratio.

For versions of iMovie before iMovie '05, you should export your movie from Photo to Movie using the 'DV Stream' file format and a Standard (4:3) aspect ratio.

The table below summarizes this information.

iMovie Photo to Movie
iMovie (DV format) Standard (4:3), DV Stream
iMovie (DV widescreen format) Widescreen (16:9), DV Stream
iMovie (HDV 1080i format) Widescreen (16:9), HDV 1080i
iMovie (HDV 720p format) Widescreen (16:9), HDV 720p
iMovie (older versions 2,3,4) Standard (4:3), DV Stream

These instructions apply to iMovie '06 and iMovie '08.


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