Create a Narrated Slideshow

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Nester asked the Answer Line forum how to create a slideshow with narration.

You can use any one of a number of tools for this job, but I'm going to give you instructions using Windows Movie Maker. Why? Because if you're using Windows XP or Vista, you've already got it.

To load the program, select Start, All Programs, Accessories, Windows Movie Maker. To bring your photos into the program, click Import pictures, which you'll find on the left panel, and select the pictures of your choice in the resulting dialog box. Then drag the pictures to the Storyboard/Timeline panel at the bottom of the window.

If you organize your photos with Windows Photo Gallery or Windows Live Photo Gallery, there's a better way to start the program and load your photos. (Windows Photo Gallery comes with Vista. The Live version is a free Microsoft program that works in Vista or XP.) Select your pictures in the gallery, then click Make a Movie (Windows Photo Gallery) or Make, Make a movie (Windows Live Photo Gallery). That will launch Movie Maker, import your pictures, and put them into the Storyboard/Timeline panel.

Once the pictures are there, you can rearrange their

order, remove ones you don't want, add transition effects like wipes and dissolves, and, if you're in Timeline mode (as opposed to Storyboard mode), adjust the time that individual pictures will spend onscreen. You'll know you're in Timeline mode because there's a ruler-like timeline above the thumbnail pictures, and a button or link that can take to Storyboard mode.

You'll need a microphone plugged into your PC to record narration. With it plugged in, select Tools, Narrate Timeline. Everything is pretty obvious from there.

You can play the video in Movie Maker--either in a small window or full-screen--but you need to convert the slideshow into some other form if you want to share it. You'll find the various options in the program's left panel under the heading 'Finish Movie' (XP) and 'Publish to' in Vista. If you have XP Media Center, or Vista Home or Ultimate, you'll find an option to burn it to DVD. Movie Maker doesn't directly support Youtube, but you can click here for instructions on getting your video up on that site.

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This story, "Create a Narrated Slideshow" was originally published by PCWorld.

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