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Fun Christmas gift tip: How to make a digital yearbook on DVD

An acquaintance of mine gives a photo album to his relatives every Christmas. Here she pastes pictures from vacations, birthday parties, the children’s soccer tournaments – and all other beautiful “Kodak moments” from the past year.

Making your own yearbook summarizing the past year in this way is an appreciated gift, especially for the elderly

But who said the yearbook has to be on paper? If you make a DVD instead, you can fill it with slideshows and videos. The clever thing is that the viewer does not need to have a computer. Since you are burning a video DVD, it can be watched in any DVD player.

Here follows a school where you learn to make a digital yearbook in Windows Vista in six simple steps. If you use Windows XP, you jump directly down here.


Step 1: Install the program
The first thing you need to do is install Windows Live Movie Maker. Note that this is a newer program than the Windows Movie Maker included with Windows Vista.

To install Windows Live Movie Maker, go to download.live.com and clicks on Retrieve. By clicking on Drive and accept the terms, you will be taken to a menu where you can choose which programs you want to install. In this school we use Movie Maker and Photo Gallery – so make sure they’re pre-bookmarked. Then click on Install and follow the instructions.

SELECTION. Make sure Movie Maker and Photo Gallery are checked.

Step 2: Prepare your images…
It is now time to collect the pictures that will be included in your digital yearbook. In our example, we put all the material in a folder that we call Annual.

Before you get started, it may be time to adjust the size of the images. If you are going to show them on a widescreen TV, they should have the proportions 16:9 and if you have a standard TV 4:3. If you have pictures in other formats, you will get black frames.

1. To change proportions and crop your photos, open Windows Live Photo Gallery. In the folder menu on the left, look up Annual (A) and click on it.

2. Now you see all images as thumbnails. If one should be the wrong way round, highlight it and use the circle button (B) to rotate.

3. To crop an image, open it and click Correct (C). Choose Crop image and make the correct setting below Proportions. The selection box has now been given the correct shape and by dragging in the middle you move the box. Dragging the edges changes the size but keeps the proportions. You can make a detail enlargement or remove some space at the edges. Then click on Execute.

4. As you can see, you can also improve the image in other ways. You can remove red-eye, adjust colors and brightness. When you’re happy with what you’ve done, click Back to the gallery.

DARKROOM. The Photo Gallery program allows you to crop and enhance your photos.

Step 3: … and movies
If you also want to include videos in your yearbook, you need to make sure they are in the right format.

Movie Maker supports Windows Media (wmv, asf and wm), Quicktime (mov and qt), avi (avi) and mpeg files (mp4, mpeg and mpg). If the film has one of those formats, you can skip to the next step. Otherwise, you have to convert. You can do that on the site Media Convert (www.media-convert.com).

1. Go to the site and select the tab Convert. click Browse and locate the movie file. Under the title Output format do you choose wmv. click OK.

2. After a few minutes the download is complete, and then a page will open that says File conversion succeeded! To save the file, click the link next to the green download arrow and select Save.

FILE CHANGE. Your videos must be in the correct format.

Step 4: Create a slideshow
Not all DVD players can display still images, so we convert them to a video file.

1. Open Windows Live Movie Maker, go to Starttab (A) click Add video files and photos (B). Select the images you want to use and click Open.

2. If you want music, click Add music file (C) and do the same as above.

3. If you want to give your slideshow text at the beginning or end, click on one of the three text buttons (D).

4. By default, each image is displayed for five seconds. You can change that by double-clicking on the image. You click on Adjust to the music (E) then the images are displayed during the entire song.

5. You can get cool transitions and filters by selecting an image and clicking Animations and Visual effects (F). Here you can also choose to pan around the images.

6. When you’re done, go to the tab Movie Maker (G) and chooses Save movie. click HD under default settings. Give it a name and press Save.

7. If you don’t want to add anything else to your DVD, choose Burn to DVD instead of Save movie. If you want to create more slideshows, of course you do the process once more with other images. The result will then be a new film.

EASY. It’s quick to create a slideshow.

Step 5: Edit a movie
In addition to pictures, you can put videos on your DVD. If you are satisfied, you can jump directly to the next page, but if necessary, you can edit the film first.

1. Click on the tab Movie Maker (A) and choose New project. Then click on Add video files and photos (B)highlight your movie and select Open. Now you see it as a film strip (C). If you want to combine several videos, click again Add video files and photos (B) and brings in another one. To change the order, swap the filmstrips with drag and drop.

2. For easy editing, select the tab Edit (D). If you want to cut off pieces at the beginning or end, click Trim. By moving the start cursor to the right or the end cursor to the left, you crop. Then click on Save trimming.

3. To make changes in the middle of a clip, you need to split it in two. You do this by moving to the point where you want to split and clicking Share.

4. Just like in your slideshows (see above) you can use Animations and Visual effects (E)and you can enter text via Title, Text, Postscripts (F).

5. When you are satisfied, save in the same way as you did with your slideshow (see step 4).

LIKE. Movie editing is similar to creating a slideshow.

Step 6: Burn your movie
When you’re done with the slideshows and movies you want to include in your yearbook, it’s time to burn them. You do this by opening the Windows DVD burning program.

1. Open the program via Start, All programs, Windows DVD burning.

2. click Select photos and videos, Add object. Keep in mind that all materials are now movies, so also the slideshows you created. Select the videos and click add. You can of course add more movies.

3. When you’re done, click Next to create your DVD menu. You do that by choosing Menu styles and select one that fits. You can then click on Menu text to specify what should be on the menu. During Customize menu can you change the layout.

click Preview to see the result. When you are satisfied, click on Burn. Now the burning of your DVD begins.

FLAMMABLE. The Windows DVD burning program can handle regular DVDs.

One of the disadvantages of the seven-year-old Windows XP is that there is no built-in program for burning DVDs. In other words, if you are still running Windows XP, you must obtain a separate program yourself. There are, of course, free alternatives, but they cannot burn DVD-Video, i.e. the format required for the disc to be played in the DVD players we have under the TV.

Therefore, the best option is to get the program Nero 9. In addition to burning DVD-Video, it has built-in tools for editing videos and making slideshows. The program costs 80 dollars (about 550 kroner), but you can also download a free trial version that works for two weeks.

To create a digital yearbook in Nero, you do roughly as we have described in steps 1-6 above, but there are a few differences:

Step 1: Install the program
Enter into www.nero.com and click on Free Trial. Choose 15-day full functionality trial version and click on Download. Enter your email address and click again Download. Choose Drive to start the installation and follow the instructions.

Step 2-3: Fix photos and videos
Both the Windows Photo Gallery program and the Media Convert web service work for Windows XP, so you can simply follow the instructions in steps 2 and 3 above.

Step 4: Create a slideshow
Open Nero and select Create and edit, Make a slideshow. To decide how long each image should be displayed, click Viewing times (A). Once you’ve done that, select images with the button Browse (B). Choose Browsehighlight the images you want to use and select Open. If you want to add sound to your slideshow, do the same with the mp3 file. Now you see your photos and songs under the title My media files (C). Select all the images you want to include and click the plus sign (D).

Now click on the tab Show audio (E)highlight your song and click the plus button (D). When you’re done, click Export (F) and chooses Export. If you want to make your video directly instead, click on Next and follow the instructions.

GAME. Here you create a slide show in Nero.

Step 5: Edit a movie
You can also insert a video. If you want to edit it, go to Create, Edit and record video, Create movie. Add the movie in the same way as above. To trim the film, i.e. cut cleanly at the beginning and end, you move the arrow Starting position (A) to the right and End position (B) to the left.

When you are satisfied, click the scissors (C). If you want to make a clip in the middle of the movie, you have to split it up. You do this by playing your way to the place where you want to split and then clicking the button Share mail (D).

EASY CUT. Editing a video footage is quickly done.

Step 6: Create your DVD
When you’re done, choose Create, Edit and record video, Create DVD, DVD video. click Import, Import files to add the movies/slideshows you’ve made.

When you’re done, click Next to create your menu. As you can see, you have different templates. Choose the one you like best and edit the text by double clicking and changing. You also have a chance to change the appearance of the menu. When you are satisfied, click on Next, Next, Burn. Now the burning starts, and this can be quite time consuming.

MENU SELECTION. You decide yourself how your menus should look.

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