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Photo Story 3 - Saving and Distributing


It's time to think about your audience, what they have to view your story with, and how best you can get it to them.

Go down a number of different paths when distributing your stories. One size doesn't fit all viewers... and don't forget your friends who use Macs or want to watch your stories on their new phones as they walk and talk.

The easiest way might be to invite them over and show it to them on your computer, where you know it looks great.

This is the last wizard you'll need to make choices in... pressing the Next > button at the lower right will kickoff the rendering process, creating the wmv file (video). Spend some time here until your choices become easy or second nature to you.

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Save Your Project

Before doing anything else on this page, did you save your project at any point during its development? Most of the working windows have the same button, so you might have done it already. If you didn't, do it now. If you did, do it again to be sure it's your latest version.

Saving a project is optional, but required if you want to go back to it in another editing session later.

A saved project file is a self-contained package with copies of all the source files (pictures and music) used in the story, and any special files created by Photo Story 3 such as narrations, computer generated background music, and a project XML file. It's a compressed DAT file with a PS3 file extension of .wp3. With the right utility you can reach into the package and copy the files from it... edit or swap out the files and put them back into the package.

The project file has a wp3 extension. You can't play it in any video player, or import it into Movie Maker, other video editing software, or CD/DVD authoring software. It's only for use with Photo Story 3. Save the story as a WMV file to do the other things.

If you have enough geek blood in you to tackle a project file... to do such things as change the settings without having to open the project in PS3, check Mark Coffman's Project File - Advanced Topic Tutorial

Newsletter #62 is about saving projects and stories. Click the image to read it.

Newsletter 62


Save Your Story - what will you do with it? Select an activity.

'Save your story for playback on your computer' will give you a choice of any of the settings on your computer. The other choices will provide only the settings appropriate for them.

With the newer version of the image codec used by Photo Story 3, fewer players can handle them. For Windows Media Player, any version of Windows running WMP versions of 7 or higher can play them, as long as they are connected to the intenet to get the new codec when needed.

Saving

Some activities are available by default. Additional ones may be listed if compatible plug-ins are installed on your computer. I have a couple extra choices on my laptop, saving a story for playback on my Portable Media Center, and saving a story to a DVD for playback on my home DVD player.


Settings - select a quality setting from the drop-down list.

Each item in the list corresponds to a profile (prx file) in your \Photo Story 3 for Windows\Profiles\1033 subfolder. My laptop currently has 16 profiles: 2 custom widescreen ones, 13 standard ones, and 1 optional extra for my Portable Media Center. You can add more.

Settings

Here are the cross-references between the user-friendly names in the pick-list and the file names of the profiles. The widescreen custom profiles are available to download, and there's a sample clip made from each.

If you use the widescreen profiles... be sure to resize the images you use in the story before you import them, or the video shape won't look right in the Windows Media Player. See the Photo Story 3 > Import Pictures page.

  • PapaJohn-Widescreen - Audio: 320kbps, 44kHz, stereo CBR - 420x240.prx - sample story
  • PapaJohn-Widescreen - Audio: VBR Quality 98, 44kHz, stereo VBR 1280x720.prx
  • PapaJohn-Widescreen - Audio: VBR Quality 95, 44kHz, stereo VBR 864x480.prx - sample story
  • PapaJohn-Widescreen - Audio: VBR Quality 98, 44kHz, stereo VBR 1704x960.prx - sample story - needs lots of memory to render and a more powerful computer to play back smoothly

  • PapaJohn-Widescreen - Audio: VBR Quality 98, 44kHz, stereo VBR 1920x1080.prx - sample story - needs the most memory to render and a more powerful computer to play smoothly

    Caution: I don't find the 1920x1080 profile practical as the memory needed to render the story can easily exceed your system's resources. If you get an error message about not having enough disc space, that's the issue.... drop pictures from the story or fall back to a lower quality profile.

  • Profile for computers - 1 - Audio: VBR Quality 75, 44kHz, stereo VBR - (320x240) > {89267A3D-45D3-44A4-8AAE-292E496CA07C}.prx
  • Profile for computers - 2 - Audio: VBR Quality 75, 44kHz, stereo VBR - (640x480) > {BF31E61D-8180-4A8C-BA32-977D64A1F36E}.prx
  • Profile for computers - 3 - Audio: VBR Quality 75, 44kHz, stereo VBR - (800x600) > {4DD8BB63-139A-41D1-965F-7CF9872F7885}.prx
  • Profile for computers - 4 - Audio: VBR Quality 98, 44kHz, stereo VBR - (1024x768) > {0CA5FD1B-55AC-4B77-85E0-C6ED498E2780}.prx
  • Profile for computers - 5 - Audio: VBR Quality 98, 44kHz, stereo VBR - (1200x900) > {2C8FEC95-B55C-486E-9472-3AAE0E3FDBBD}.prx (this additional profile comes only with Photo Story 3.1)

  • Profile for creating DVDs - Audio: VBR Quality 98, 48kHz, stereo VBR - NTSC (640x480) > {913A60D4-75A2-44EB-B559-990C2C23470B}.prx
  • Profile for creating DVDs - Audio: VBR Quality 98, 48kHz, stereo VBR - PAL (768x576) > {3E54A8AB-FE06-423B-98DA-B80710E135F3}.prx

  • Profile for creating Video CDs - Audio: VBR Quality 98, 48kHz, stereo VBR - NTSC (320x240) > {5F5DF803-2DD8-45E7-8D57-386A135CFFFC}.prx
  • Profile for creating Video CDs - Audio: VBR Quality 98, 48kHz, stereo VBR - PAL (384x288) > {8134BF79-0423-4EBE-8F00-091BB6DAEAFD}.prx

  • Profile for e-mail - 1 - Audio: 20kbps, 44kHz, mono CBR - (160x120) > {6B2F4E2A-8D29-40BF-BC9E-04510FC51D14}.prx
  • Profile for e-mail - 2 - Audio: 20kbps, 44kHz, mono CBR - (240x180) > {9C119BA7-32E0-4261-AC8F-2EAF73FA65E7}.prx
  • Profile for e-mail - 3 - Audio: 20kbps, 44kHz, mono CBR - (320x240) > {1DF0431B-3367-4DF6-9DC7-0DE1C73CFB85}.prx

  • Profile for Pocket PCs with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile - Audio: 64kbps, 44kHz, stereo CBR - (320x240) > {1B9DB7EE-4763-4114-8EB6-30EEB3E128B8}.prx
  • Profile for Portable Media Center devices - Audio: 96kbps, 44kHz, stereo CBR - (320x240) > {4A26B730-31DB-42AF-B080-4BA23258FA15}.prx
  • Profile for Smartphones with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile - Audio: 20kbps, 22kHz, stereo CBR - (160x120) > {EFF0B083-09EE-4A35-9E66-832082FEB211}.prx

    Newsletter 95


    YouTube

    If you're heading to YouTube with your story, download these custom profiles, put them in your c:\Program Files\Photo Story 3 for Windows\Profiles\1033 folder, and look for them the next time you open Photo Story 3. They'll be in your drop down list of Quality 'Settings' choices when you save a story.

    Custom Standard 4:3 Profile for Stories Heading to YouTube (Nov 08 version)

    Custom Standard Profile for Stories Heading to YouTube (Dec 06 version)

    Custom Widescreen 4:3 Profile for Stories Heading to YouTube (Nov 08 version)

    Custom Widescreen Profile for Stories Heading to YouTube(Dec 06 version)

    Don't forget to distort the images for a widescreen story... see the Photo Story 3 > Import Pictures page for details.

    YouTube - High Quality

    Here are links to the test files I made to check the new profiles for Photo Story 3. Be sure to turn on the 'watch in high quality' option, a link just under the player.

    Photo Story 3 Standard 4:3 - 'Ireland'

    Photo Story 3 Widescreen 16:9 - 'Jellyfish'

    I'd been having problems with YouTube for quite a while, not converting Photo Story 3 files successfully. In this new round of testing, it worked flawlessly with both movies and stories.

    Don't forget to distort the images for a widescreen story... see the Photo Story 3 > Import Pictures page for details.


    You can edit the standard profiles or create new ones for Photo Story 3, using the same method as for Movie Maker 2, the Profile Editor utility... see the Saving Movies > Custom WMV Profiles page of the website for more info about custom profiles. I suggest creating new ones, not revising the standard ones. PS3 and MM2 Profiles are not interchangeable.

    Newsletter #95 is about the quality setting when using a quality-based VBR profile, which includes Photo Stories. Click the image to read it.

    Newsletter 74

    Newsletter #74 compares the quality of stories made with various profiles, 14 of those included in PS3 and 6 custom ones. It does the comparisons of stories after burning them to a DVD with Sonic's MyDVD 6.1. Click the image to read it.

    Custom profiles can be used to make stories as small as 16x16 pixels and as large as 2000x2000. They will playback in the Windows Media Player and on a Creative Zen at the size you specify... not constrained to a standard 4:3 or widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio as a movie from Movie Maker is.

    Newsletter 90

    Newsletter #90 is about various shapes and sizes of movies and stories. Click the image to read it.

    The only choice of video codec that works with Photo Story 3 is Windows Media Video 9 Image v2, a different version of the codec than used by Photo Story 2. Some software that plays PS2 stories can't play those from PS3... the codec difference is that significant.

    Newsletter 186

    Newsletter #186 is about finding and resolving an elusive story 'spoiler', a large segment of a picture that previewed perfectly but showed as blackness in the saved story. It happened only with profiles of certain story widths, and only with certain motion settings. Click the image to read it.

    Newsletter 94

    Newsletter #94 is about the HD 1080 VC-1 profile of Movie Maker in an early beta version of Vista (dropped in later versions)... and custom profiles for Photo Story 3 and Movie Maker 2 that align with its settings. Click the image to read it.


    Settings - review the wizard's info for your choice.

    When you pick a setting, read the rest of the window... the info changes with your choice.

    Settings

    If you're saving your story to your computer, as soon as you press the Next > button on the Save your story window, Photo Story will go into a 3 step process: (1) prepare the video using temporary files, (2) mix the audio, and (3) generate the wmv video file in your designated location.

    Once the video file is generated, a window will give you an option to view it... or begin another one. Besides these two choices you can use the Back buttons to go back into the story to make changes... save the project file if you forgot to... or render another copy of the story with a different profile.

    If you're going down the path toward a story attached to an email, there will be a slight variation. The story will be saved to a temporary file and location on your computer, and you'll be given a choice of saving a copy to your computer before starting the email process. When ready, you can opt to start the email step. Photo Story will open an email with the story already attached. You just need to address it, fill in a note and send it.


    Saving, Distribution and Playback notes:

    The rendering process for a complex story, combined with selecting a high resolution profile, can result in error messages and failure to save... if the memory needs of PS3 reach the combined maximum of your system's RAM and virtual memory file, the rendering won't finish.

    Memory Check

    If you run into such a situation, check memory usage during and after a rendering session, before turning off the computer. Use the info at the lower left of the Task Manager (see the figure at the right).

    You get to the Task Manager by right-clicking on the taskbar at the bottom of your desktop and choosing Task Manager. Select the Performance tab.

    • The Total is the combined memory/virtual memory currently in use... in KB.

    • The Limit is the combined total of your installed RAM and the maximum setting of your virtual memory swap file; it's a little tricky as the virtual setting might be specified to start with one figure and then move upwards as needed during a session... if you see that number moving upwards during a session, it's due to it being a sliding limit. The picture is from my laptop which has 512 MB of RAM and a virtual memory swap file set to start at 768 MB and slide up to 1536 MB as needed, a combined maximum Limit of 2064016 KB.

    • Most important is the Peak number, the maximum memory used so far during the computer session, since it was last turned on... the question is 'has it bumped into the limit during the session?' If it did, then you probably get an error message, or a problem such as a corrupt or incomplete story. If it bumps into the limit, either raise the limit by adding real or virtual RAM, or reduce your project/computer activites so they don't need as much memory. The snapshot of my laptop situation was during some testing of Photo Story 3, when I was getting error messages about not being able to render a story from a complex project... it confirmed what I knew about the project being too complex to save to a high resolution profile... and the story used only 4 pictures, but as high as 52 megapixels.

    If you want more memory, your options are to purchase and add more physical RAM and/or change your virtual memory setting via: Start > Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > System > Advanced tab > Performance Settings > Advanced tab > Virtual memory - Change.

    Photo Story 3 works the same on XP and Vista. Although Vista offers better memory management for things like saving movies from Movie Maker, Photo Story 3 hasn't been redone to take advantage of the improved memory management. If your PS3 project is too complex to render on XP it'll be the same on Vista.


    Heading to a Disc

    Photo Story 3.1, released in July 2005 as part of the Digital Image Suite 2006 for 32-bit Windows, brought back the option of burning a VCD, using the Sonic disc making engine. The option was included in Photo Story 2 but isn't in version 3.

    The Sonic DVD for Photo Story 3 for Windows plug-in lets you go directly from your story project to DVD.

    The downloaded file is DVDforPhotostory.exe (16-1/2 MB)... and running it installs the software in the c:\Program Files\Sonic\PS3 DVD Plugin folder. Save your order number, password and serial number, and make a backup copy of the downloaded file unless you order the optional CD. You'll need to reboot your computer before the plug-in becomes effective.

    The plug-in results in a story saving as a 720x480 pixel (if NTSC) WMV file and then it being transcoded into the MPEG-2 files needed for the DVD. You can select from 1 to 20 copies of the disc, but it's a 'one story per disc' process.

    Newsletter45

    Newsletter #45 covered setting up and using the plugin and MyDVD 6.1. Click the image to read it.

    I received a report that the Sonic Plug-in works on Windows 7 systems.


    If you're using other disc authoring and burning software, and heading toward a VCD, SVCD, or DVD with your story, here are copies of my personal custom profiles, and those developed by others. They are specific for use with PhotoStory 3, and not for use with Movie Maker.

    After downloading, put the profile in your \Photo Story 3 for Windows\Profiles\1033 subfolder with the profiles that came with it.

    VCD Profile (NTSC)

    VCD Profile (PAL)

    SVCD Profile (NTSC)

    SVCD Profile (PAL)

    DVD Profile (NTSC) 720x480

    DVD Profile (PAL) 720x576

    ... and here are two additional profiles to try when heading toward DVDs... these were developed by JL4VIDEO (forum poster name), and have significantly larger video sizes, for even better results than the profiles with standard MPEG-2 sizes...

    DVD Profile (NTSC) 1280x960

    DVD Profile (PAL) 1280x960

    I've aligned my profile settings with those used by TMPGEnc when it makes MPEG files for discs. I'm assuming that PhotoStory 3 does a better job resizing to the appropriate pixel dimensions than most disc authoring/burning software that accept the PS3 story files.

    I'd appreciate any feedback (good and bad) about your experience with these profiles, expecially when compared to your other methods of getting from the story to disc. So far feedback about the DVD profiles has been very positive... and I've compared the NTSC results to the Sonic plug-in, and found it to be as good or better.

    TMPGEnc can use PS3 stories to create the MPEG files needed for discs. I'm using version 2.5+ to test these profiles.


    Apple Store - Chicago

    The special WMV file viewer for Macs has the Windows Media 9 codecs hard-coded into it, and it doesn't include the newer v2 image codec used by PhotoStory 3. You'll have to do a file conversion using Movie Maker 2, MM1, the Encoder or other software to get your story to a friend with a Mac.


    Some versions of Sonic's DVD authoring software accept WMV file types. It might accept files rendered with Photo Story 2, but not those with Photo Story 3.... if your version of Sonic's software doesn't accept stories from Photo Story 3, Sonic suggests you convert them to DV-AVI using Movie Maker, and use the DV-AVI files as input to the Sonic software.


    Selected Posts

    2/26/08 - Adobe Premiere Elements 3 didn't show the videos of stories made from custom profiles that had the option checked to 'allow nonsquare pixel output'... the profiles were changed.

    3/16/06 ...I'm now getting consistently good DVD's, starting in PS3 with a WMV for viewing on a computer, 1024x768, then transcoding and burning in Nero. As someone explained, the 1024x768 profile assumes that a NTSC video is going to be made, at 30 fps, while PAL calls for 25 fps. There's no option for 25 fps in Nero, but once you have selected PAL Nero transcodes as necessary, automatically.

    11/17/04 - (Microsoft) One big difference between the computer profiles and the PAL/NTSC profiles is that the computer profiles use square pixels so they can be played back on the computer display without being resized which is especially important on digital displays like LCD flat panels. The NTSC and PAL profiles use non-square pixels so they will be resized for playback on computer displays.

    11/5/04... I have a Hauppauge WinTV2000 USB video device. When I have this operating to view a TV program, the Photo Story 3 output produces horribly discolored slide show in WMP 10. If I shut the TV off, everything is fine.