March 2010 Newsletter


Welcome to the Photo to Movie Newsletter

March 2010

Welcome to the March 2010 Photo to Movie newsletter. Spring is here and it's time now to pull out the camera again and get all those nature shots you missed last year.

Outdoor Photography

In this newsletter, we include some quick tips for outdoor photography. Photo to Movie is a wonderful tool for displaying your outdoor photos.

Using Adaptive Blur and Motion Blur

Photo to Movie has always included the ability to perform adaptive blurring to minimize flickering and aliasing. Photo to Movie 4.5 adds more control over the processing and also adds optional motion blur. Read more details below.

Photo to Movie 4.5 Beta Testing

We are finishing beta testing Photo to Movie 4.5 for both Windows and Mac OS. Photo to Movie 4.5 is a major upgrade for Windows users, and brings some great new functionality for Mac users too. Read about it below.

Outdoor Photography

Spring is a great time to get your camera outside for some outdoor photography. A hike is a relaxing way to try out your photography skills and when you return, you can use Photo to Movie to put together a slideshow of your photos.

Here are some brief tips to remember when doing outdoor photography:

  • Take your photos in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the harsh mid-day sun.
  • Use a tripod for the sharpest photos possible.
  • Use your flash to fill-in the shadows on close-in shots.
  • Mix close-ups with wide shots, and include a variety of colors.
  • Cloudy skies generally make better photos.
  • Wind can add action. Rain can add texture.
  • Take more photos since small changes might make a good shot into a great shot.

Please also check out our user profile on Alain Briot who has used Photo to Movie to produce beautiful slideshows of his photography.

Alain Briot - Navajoland

Using Adaptive Blur and Motion Blur

Photo to Movie has always included a feature called adaptive blurring for reducing flickering/flashing in your movie due to aliasing effects.

Slow motion on photos with lots of detail such as a photo of a tree or water from a distance exhibit this problem most severely.

In the past, adaptive blur processing had to be enabled on a document-wide basis. Photo to Movie 4.5 will include the ability to control this processing on a photo by photo basis.

In addition, Photo to Movie 4.5 will introduce a feature called motion blurring.

Scaling Photos

When Photo to Movie scales down a photo from it's full size, it must choose which pixels from the original image to use in the final scaled image. As Photo to Movie creates motion by smoothly moving and scaling the key frames, it is possible that a bright pixel in the source image will be chosen on one frame but not on the next frame. This leads to a flickering/flashing effect (the bright pixel will be included every other frame, leading to flashing).

The solution in Photo to Movie is to perform processing to make the selection of pixels in the original image consistent from frame to frame. It does this by blurring the original photo just enough to blur out a pesky bright pixel, but (ideally) not enough to make the photo look blurry.

The processing does come at a cost, however. Even though Photo to Movie is only doing a slight (approximately 1/2 pixel) blurring in the photo, it "softens" the photo. Some users would like to retain the original sharpness of their photo.

The flickering problem is most pronounced on slow movement; photos displayed with fast motion (i.e. key frames are wide apart) do not have as much of a problem since the problematic bright pixel will be separated by several pixels in the final movie, so the eye won't pick out any flickering.

Adaptive Blur

In versions prior to Photo to Movie 4.5, adaptive blur had to be enabled on a document-wide basis. You changed it in the Make Movie dialog with the 'Higher Quality' vs. 'Faster Export' menu item.

In Photo to Movie 4.5, you can control the adaptive blur for each photo. If a photo needs to be sharper and the motion is fast enough, you can completely disable it for just that particular photo.

The default setting is still Medium (which corresponds to the setting in earlier versions). But you have the option of setting the adaptive blur processing to None, Light, Medium, or Heavy on a photo by photo basis.

In Photo to Movie 4.5, you can access this setting by clicking on your photo in the timeline. Then in the inspector, choose the 'Photo' tab and select your desired adaptive blur setting. The individual photo setting is not available in versions prior to Photo to Movie 4.5.


The image above is a great example of a problem image. Try downloading the original image, putting two large key frames on the photo (I used 3118x1753 for each). Then render using a high quality codec such as QuickTime/Animation to a video sized 852x480. Try it with adaptive blur enabled and disabled. You'll spot the difference right away.

Link to original photo on

Motion Blur

In addition to adaptive blur, Photo to Movie 4.5 also includes a document-wide setting (in Make Movie) for adding motion blur to your movie.

Motion blur is done by taking every movie frame and splitting it into several shorter (time) frames and then adding all of those frames together. The effect is that in areas with a lot of motion, you get a blurring effect similar to what you would get with a physical movie camera. In areas with little motion, there is little or no blurring. It gives a more natural look to the motion in your slideshow.

The effect is enabled in the Make Movie dialog and it defaults to 'disabled'.

Here is a sample frame from a movie with motion blur enabled on a fast rotation. Notice the center of the image is not blurred; but the edges, where the most motion is occurring, are blurred.


Photo to Movie 4.5 Beta Testing

Photo to Movie 4.5 is a major upgrade for Windows users, and brings some great new functionality for Mac users too. Some of the major new features for Windows users:

  • Multiple audio and title tracks
  • A bunch of new transitions
  • Title effects
  • Integrated media browser
  • Automatic updating

Photo to Movie 4.5 is (or will be) localized to Danish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Spanish, and Swedish.

If you're interested in being a beta tester, getting access to the latest features, improvements, and bug fixes, please sign up on the beta testing emailing list here:

Photo to Movie Beta Testing

We send out an email approximately every two weeks during beta testing with instructions for testing, release notes, and other beta testing information.

Special Deals Mailing List

Due to numerous requests, LQ Graphics now has a special mailing list for special deals, offers, and discounts on LQ Graphics products and 3rd party products.

This is a great way to SAVE MONEY on software. We're negotiating with several other companies to offer special DISCOUNTS to our customers on their products. We expect the first special offer to be available in early December -- SIGN UP NOW.

This special deals mailing list is opt-in only. You must click on the link below and check the appropriate box to be included.

Sign Up for Discounts

Newsletter Archive

All of our previous newsletters are available on our website. Check them out for tips, news, and information items.

Browse through the Photo to Movie newsletter archive


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