How to quickly make a video from photos

There is a really easy – and free – way to take your still photographs and turn them into a video.  The result is much like a “slideshow” type of video that you’ve seen, including nice transitions and even audio if you want.

There are good reasons to include video in your offerings:

  1. Awareness: Video helps attract new audiences and reach viewers wherever they spend their time.
  2. Interest: Video brings your products and services to life better than any other medium. Potential customers engage with video to understand your offerings.
  3. Trial: Present calls to action to motivate your audience without ever leaving the browser.
  4. Purchase: Product videos have proven to increase shopping cart size and online conversion rates by as much as 200%.
  5. Loyalty: Video helps you connect with customers and keeps them coming back for more.

A few quick tips that you want to remember:

  • Keep your videos SHORT.  You will lose a lot of viewers if your videos go much over 2 minutes.
  • Keep your videos ENGAGING.  Even if your video is short, you can lose your viewer if they don’t see content that interest them within the first 30 seconds!
  • When making the slideshow-type video that is outlined in the how-to video below, be sure to use your BEST PHOTOS, ideally ones that have been optimized for a computer screen.
  • Include a CALL TO ACTION.  Just seeing the video isn’t enough, you want to tell your viewers what to do next.

Overview for Microsoft Windows users:

  1. Click the “start” button, very bottom left of your screen
  2. Type “movie” to search.  Find Windows Live Movie Maker (may just be Windows Movie Maker on older operating systems) and click it.
  3. Click the “add photos and videos” button.  Browse to the folder that contains your photos.  (I personally suggest setting each project up with its own folder, and name the photos in the order that you want them to show in your movie, either with 01, 02 … or A, B, C … on the end.  Another tip, if you decide to use numbers and have more than 9 photos, you will want to begin numbering them 01 or 001 instead of just 1.)  If you’ve followed my tip, you can highlight and select all of the photos in this folder, and then click Open.
  4. Click cursor on first photo, and then choose “Add Title” from the menu.  Enter the information you want to include (for a house/property, consider something like the address, city and state, and quick info like 3 BR / 2 BA.  Brief info only!)
  5. Click the last photo, and then choose “Credits” from the menu.  Enter your “Call to Action”, including your name and contact information.

Even at this point, you have a movie made … but we want it to look better! So continue with these steps:

  1. Select all of the slide/photo icons (click on first one, hold your Shift key, and click on the last one).
  2. Go to Animations on the menu, and on the right side choose “auto pan and zoom” (that one looks like bubbles) and on the left side scroll down a couple to find the one that looks like two panes of glass sitting atop one another.
  3. Play the video by clicking the right-arrow icon under the preview window.  Check to see if the slides are transitioning between one another quickly enough.  (Remember, you don’t want the viewer getting bored, but you do want them to have long enough to see each one).  If you need to make an adjustment either to fix the length of each slide, or the length of the entire movie:
  •      Select all of the slides
  •      Click on “Edit” on the menu, and then click the drop-down arrow next to “duration”.  Change the number of seconds slightly (I personally like 5 or 6).

Now play the video again and see if you like the results.
If you would like to add a bit of music, follow these steps:

  1. Find royalty-free music.  You don’t want to infringe upon anyone’s copyrights.  One good source a site such as musopen.org
  2. Save the track you want to your computer.
  3. In your movie maker program, go to “Add Music”, browse to your file, select it, and click Open.
  4. Click on “Edit Volume Level” and turn it down to halfway or less – the focus of the video shouldn’t be the music but the video.

Play your movie again and see if you like the results.  If you’re satisfied, look on the top right of the menu bar and click on the “Save Movie” button.  Name it something expected (such as a property video, make the name the same as the address).  It will take your computer a bit of time to compile the video, so expect a wait.

After the video is done compiling and saved, you can close the program by clicking the red X in the upper right corner.  When you do, it will ask you if you want to save your project (which is different than saving the resulting movie).  I always say YES, because the movie  you saved isn’t editable – but the video project file is!  If you want to go back in and make a change, you will want this editable file.  Save it with a similar but different name as your movie (I usually add PROJECT to the end of mine).

Now your movie file is ready to upload to Youtube, a website, Facebook, or wherever else you choose to show it!

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