How to Make a Video Slideshow

If you have Windows XP (which most people do at the time of this article), then you have the Windows Movie Maker. It has probably been sitting on your computer for years without you really knowing it’s potential. Especially for Real Estate agents, this will become a very handy feature to put videos of your listings onto YouTube.com and Realtor.com

I will now walk through the basic steps required to make a simple movie file out of photos on your computer. For my example I will use family photos that I have from my daughter’s first birthday party earlier this August. This simple slideshow took me about 10 min to complete. Once you have done it yourself for the first time, you will be making video sideshows in no time at all. Then you can start to play around with the other features available like adding transitions, video effects, title screens, and audio tracks.

Step 1: Open Windows Movie Maker

Step 1: Open Windows Movie MakerOK, before we can do anything you need to open up the Movie Maker program, it is located in the programs list in your start menu. NOTE: You should also have the photos you would like to use already stored somewhere on your computer at this point.

Step 2: Select “Import Pictures”

Step 2: Import Pictures

The first thing we need to do is import some pictures into Movie Maker so that we can use them in our slideshow. We do this simply by selecting Import Pictures from the task menu on the left. If for some reason this menu does not appear for you, you can click on “Tasks” in the top menu to turn it back on.

Step 3: Select the Pictures & click “Import”

Step 3

When you are presented with the file selection box like show here, navigate to the folder that your pictures are stored in, select all of them by dragging a selection rectangle around them, and then click the Import button. All these photos will then be added to Movie Maker and they will be available for you to use in any way you like in your video sideshow. It is also important to note that you should probably save your project after this point. Go to the “File” menu at the top and select “Save Project”. This will save all the work you have done in creating this movie so far, it should default automatically to your “My Videos” folder for easy access later on.

Step 4: Arrange the Pictures

Step 4

Now, here is where we really see the simplicity of this program come into action. All the photos you imported in the prior step are located in the top middle area of the program, this area is called a “Collection”. At the bottom of the program is a “Storyboard” layout with empty spots for each of your photos to go. All you have to do, is drag and drop each of your photos into the large rectangle storyboard slots in the order you want them to show up in your video. This is a very user friendly way to arrange your photos. You can also switch the photos around by dragging them to the spot you want or delete the photo from the storyboard if you decide to not use one.

Step 5: Add Video Transitions

Step 5

Although this step is not required for all video sideshows, it does add significantly to the viewers experience. Video transitions are effects that take place as the slideshow progresses from on photo to the next. Now, you always want to go with the “Less IS More” theory with all your effects. We want the viewer to remember the photos, not just the cool effects they saw. For this reason, I chose to use the simple, yet professionally elegant “Fade” transition as shown in the screenshot. You can insert these transitions just like you did the photos earlier, although you will be inserting transitions into the smaller rectangles that are located in-between the Storyboard photos.

Step 6: Create the Movie File

Step 6Ok, now it is time to actually create the video itself! You do this by selecting “Save Movie File…” from the File menu at the top. This is the only technical part of the whole process, just take it step by step…

Step 7: (Saving) Movie Location

Step 7

For the movie location, just select “My Computer” at the top and then click the Next button. There are other options that may seem more appropriate at first glance, but they do not work as well since Microsoft never fully completed development on the other options. If you tried to select “The Web”, you would eventually get an error.

Step 8: (Saving) Movie File Name

Step 7In this step you will tell Movie Maker what you want your movie file to be called and also where to save it on your computer. In my example I just left the default movie file name of “Movie_0003″ but you should change this name to be more descriptive so that you can find it easier later on. As for where to save your movie file, my example shows that my movie will be saved into the “My Videos” folder. This is a good location to use since it is easy to remember and makes the most sense.

Step 9: (Saving) Movie Quality Settings

Step 9Now, to make this part as simple as possible, just click on the circle next to “Other Settings” and then select “Video for broadband (512Kbps)” from the drop-down list. This is the simple way, if you want to play around with the quality settings more and get it perfect, then skip to the next step.

Step 10: (OPTIONAL) Movie Quality Settings

Step 10

If you want to tweak your quality settings so that you get the best possible quality while keeping the smallest possible file size, then follow this step. We want the file to be small since it will be on the Internet. Small video files mean less time waiting for the video to start playing.

OK, the rule of thumb here is to keep your “Display Size” no smaller than 640×480 and your “Frames per second” no less than 30. This will make sure that your video is not too small for people to see and also make sure that it will play smoothly during the transitions. Now, while keeping your eye on these two settings that I mentioned, click “Best fit to file size” and adjust the number up and down. (my example is at “2″) You will be finished when you have the lowest number for the file size (“2″) that meets the quality guidelines I mentioned above (640×480 and 30 frames per second)

That’s It, You Are Done!

You have now seen every step involved in creating a simple video sideshow from a collection of photos on your computer. There are many other things you can do with the video file to enhance it, but this walk-through just covers the basics to get you going. I will later on write another article that shows you how to add audio tracks, more video effects, and also how to upload onto YouTube.com for those of you who want to explore this popular type of media.

I have posted the final product of my example movie on this website also so that you can get a feel for what you will be creating in the end. You can watch the video by clicking on the following link:


About the author

RJ Ponzio

RJ founded Shore Web Tech LLC in 2011. The mission of Shore Web Tech (SWT) is to help small and medium local businesses take advantage of today's affordable technology solutions. RJ currently holds Google's "AdWords Qualified Individual" certification.


1 ping

  1. carol

    Dearest RJ, how in the heck do I view Miss Sophia’s B-Day Pics??? I’ve seen everything but those…….love, NAN (never a nerd)

  2. RJ Ponzio

    Our friend that took the pictures was a bit excessive so we are still sorting through the 800 photos (literally). They are not on the website yet, once we are able to organize them all, I will upload them.

  3. Patricia Burness

    Going to look into this on Thursday as my daughter the computer person is coming for a visit she will walk me thur this.

    Thanks for the information

  4. Sharon Asay

    Pretty cool RJ and easy to use. And you’re right, it’s been available this whole time and I didn’t realize it. I miss the left to right pan of the picture but like all the features this program has. Thanks for keeping all of us on top of things !

  5. Marc Williams

    You are the best!! I will be showing my agents in Barnegat how to do this on Wed, thanks

  6. bonnyfrombrum

    Hi RJ. i followed through with the instructions, like you said, and it works great, thankyou. But can you please tell me how to add music to my slideshow, to put on utube. Bonny

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