PapaJohn Productions


Photo Story 3 - Background Music

Choose music from your library or let Photo Story 3 create some for you. Change the music from picture to picture if you want.

Use different music for each picture, or let a single tune play across all of them. You're the DJ.

... check the info below to be sure your external background music doesn't end too soon...

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Do Amazing Things

Here's a sample story (click the picture to see it) that demos a few things. I made it as follows:

Click the image of the map legend to view it. If you don't have the bandwidth or computer power to handle it smoothly, here's a link to a smaller 320x240 version.

Select or Create Music

For a more complex audio track, consider using Movie Maker 2 to mix your music and other audio files into a WMA file for use as a background music file in your story. Newsletter #67 is a tutorial about doing it. Click the image to read it.

Newsletter 67

    Tip: Draft your story in PS3, import it into Movie Maker and create the audio/music/narration track... when the audio is just right, render the movie to a .wmv file and rename it to .wma for use as the background music file in Photo Story 3. It won't accept a .wmv but it'll work fine with the renamed one.

First highlight the picture on the filmstrip that you want the music to start playing at... then either browse to the selected music file in your library or use the option of having Photo Story 3 create some high quality midi-music for the story.

Background Music

Photo Story automatically adjusts the time music plays in the story. By default, the music will play for the duration of the music or for the duration of the filmstrip segment you've selected for it, whichever is shorter.

The music will play for the duration of the filmstrip unless another picture has a different background music file linked to it. If the music ends before the picture or filmstrip, there will be silence through the rest of the story.

You can start a different music file on any picture... see in the above picture that I have 2 selected music files from my library playing before and after a segment of music created by Photo Story 3. The music will fade out as it gets to the end of the last clip that uses it, and start the selected clip with the new music file.

Be Sure Your Background Music Doesn't Stop Too Soon...

Here's an important point when using an imported audio file... the music might stop short while the visual continues, unless you ensure alignment between the durations of the pictures in the story and the audio file.

Stops Too Soon

The picture at the right shows what happens when I use a song that is 1:45.34 in length and set the duration of the 3rd clip a split second too long... see how the bar above the pictures shows the audio playing for the first 2 but not the 3rd. That's because I have the duration of the 3rd picture set to 30.4 seconds, just 0.06 seconds longer than the end of the audio file.... I wanted to hear it through the last note. But Photo Story sees that the music won't play for the full 3rd picture and stops it after the 2nd picture, clipping off a half minute of the music.

Check the audio file properties in WMP or Movie Maker so you know exactly how long it is...

Stops Too Soon

By reducing the duration of the 3rd picture to 30.3 seconds, the music plays for the entire story. See the image at the left... the colored bar above the pictures now shows the audio playing all the way.

Both of these screen shots show the 3rd picture with 30 second duration... PS3 rounds off the duration to the nearest second... in the motion settings window I have one set at 30.4 and the other at 30.3.

Check your audio file properties in WMP or Movie Maker... and be sure to pad the end of any audio file you make with a little silence so a critical ending note doesn't get prematurely clipped or faded by PS3.


Create Music...

Pick a Genre: Classical, Country, Dance, Funk, Jazz, Latin, New Age, Pop, Rock, Silence, Soundtrack, and World. You can add a silent space between pieces of music in your story by selecting Silence in the Genre list.

Select a Style... from a set that matches the Genre. Then pick a Band and Mood.

While saving a story, the computer generated music files are saved as temporary WMA files (DMusic00.WMA, DMusic10.WMA, etc.) in the temporary working folder, and deleted as Photo Story 3 cleans up after itself when closing. If you want a copy of the background music files, here's one chance to get them.

Selected Posts...

4/8/05 - PROBLEM: MP3 FILES DON'T INITIALIZE PROPERLY WITH PHOTOSTORY 3!!! (Seems to be a bug in Photo Story 3)

EASY FIX: Once I converted my MP3 files to WMA files (easy to do with Media Player 10) and linked those, it worked just fine.