Pictures to Videos – A Short How-to Guide

Some people are gifted article writers. One-a-day is not a serious challenge for them. However, let’s surmise that you are ‘challenged’ in this regard and can only manage one a week. Now that is still acceptable, since you can ‘spin’ the content and submit it all over with an automatic submission software, hence you still get a reasonable ‘mileage’ out of the exercise. I go one step further and post it on my blogs, Scribd and Hubpages. If you got this far, you might as well do a decent job.

Now wouldn’t it be nice if you could take that same content and turn it into a video as well? Most of the hard work has already been done! For some people it’s easy to switch on the video camera and record a two-minute video. But what do you do if you don’t like doing videos, or can’t stand the look of your own face, or simply dislike ‘talking head’ videos in general?

Let’s do it without a video camera! One solution is to use purpose-made software such as Online Video Story or MemoriesOnWeb. You do, however, have much more control over the procedure if you use a dedicated video editing suite such as those by AVS, Pinnacle, Sony or Corel. Or even Microsoft Movie Maker, if you can get it to work! I use Pinnacle; eighty dollars or so is a good investment as you will use it for years to come, even for your vacation videos.

This is what you do.

– Edit your article down to about one sentence per paragraph. I prefer between 5 and 15 sentences. Sentences should consist of only a few words and should ideally be no longer than around 10 words each. Short sentences are better since they are easier to read.

– Create a PowerPoint slideshow. Copy and paste your sentences, in sequence, onto plain backgrounds. Keep it simple, white on black is easier to read than the fancy stuff; I use white Arial 44pt bold on black. Don’t forget to put a URL and a call to action on the last slide. When done, ‘Save As’ individual JPEG files (just confirm when prompted) so that you end up with slide1.jpg, slide2.jpg and so on.

– Now you need a still image (also in JPG format) between each two text slides. Use your own, or check out MorgueFile or Stock.xchng for royalty-free pictures. Be aware of copyright issues if you use other sources. Save your pictures as picture1.jpg, picture2.jpg and so on in the same folder as the text files.

– Fire up your video editor, and drag the text and picture files onto the story line, in the correct sequence. Following that, adjust the length of each clip against the time line to suit your own taste. Play the video to see if you like it, and adjust the duration of each clip time-wise. We are almost done!

– Pick a nice transition effect and drag it on to each junction between text and image. Don’t waste time here, any transition will do.

– Now it is time to add the music. My video editor (Pinnacle Studio Plus 12) has a music library built-in. You could also do an online search for royalty-free music. Jamendo could serve as a starting point. Do not use tracks off CDs as you could be sued for copyright infringement. You need to copy and paste, or drag, the music clip onto the sound track, then cut off any surplus, and add fade-in and fade-out at the ends. It should not take you more than a minute to do this.

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