Appendix B: Detailed Project How-Tos

From Photos to Codes: Making a Photo Slide Show with Picasa From Start to Finish

This is meant as a detailed guide that will walk you through all of the steps required to go from a handful of photos to a fully functioning QR code ready for installation, and once installed, capable of being monitored for user traffic. This process can be repeated with any kind of content that you like.

This guide will walk you through all the steps needed to create a photo slideshow, upload it to YouTube and create a QR code to link to it. You will need Picasa (see Appendix C) and a YouTube account.

Step 1: Select Your Photos

Screenshot depicting how to produce a slideshow using Picassa.

The first step in making a slideshow is to choose the photos you would like to use. To begin, launch Picasa and browse to the folder where the photos you want are located

  1. Clicking on the folder name in the left-hand navigation will show all of the pictures in it in the main window
  2. Clicking on a photo will highlight it in blue and add it to the selection window
  3. Multiple photos can be selected by holding down the "ctrl" button while clicking, or clicking and dragging.
Screenshot depicting the movie feature to create a slideshow in Picassa.

When you are happy with your selection as it appears in the selection window, navigate to the top menu bar and select Create > Movie > From Selection...

Step 2: Add Text Slides, Captions, and Audio

Screenshot depicting the Movie Maker window in Picassa to add text, captions and audio to your slides.

This will launch the Movie Maker window. The main components are the left navigation, which has three tabs (Movie, Slide and Clips)

  1. the preview window
  2. and the selection timeline, which allows you to see what photos are included in the slideshow and preview it
  3. By default, a black and white text slide showing the name of the originating folder and the approximate date the photos were created is added to the beginning of the slideshow.
Screenshot depicting the transition feature for audio in Picassa slideshows.

The movie tab on the left-hand navigation controls general settings for your slideshow. The "Load" and "Clear" buttons allow you to add or remove audio or narration. Transition style controls how each photo transitions to the next.

Screenshot depicting the slide tab to move within the timeline of a Picassa slideshow.

The slide tab controls settings for whatever slide is currently highlighted in the timeline. The text field controls captions and text for text slides; the template above it selects how the text is to be displayed. Captions can also be added to photo slides.

The two buttons underneath the green triangle play button in the timeline allow you to add text slides (the white button) or remove the highlighted slide (the red "x").

Screenshot depicting how to add more photos  to an existing slideshow feature in Picassa.

The clips tab allows you to add more photos to your slideshow. By default, the other photos in the originating folder which you did not select for your timeline will be displayed here. To add one, select it and press the green plus button. To add a clip that is not found here, press the "get more" button.

Screenshot depicting the return to Movie Maker after adding new photos.

Pressing the "get more" button will return you to the general library view, where you can navigate and select photos just as you did at the beginning of your project. When you have selected the photos that you want, press the "back to movie maker" button.

Your slideshow can be previewed by pressed the green arrow button.

Step 3: Create Movie & Upload to YouTube

When you are happy with your movie, press the YouTube button located in the left-hand navigation. The system will prompt you for your log-in information, and ask for a title and category for your movie. Remember to click the check box that makes the movie public. You will be notified once your movie has finished uploading.

Step 4: Generate a Short URL and a QR Code

Screenshot depicting how to find movies uploaded to your YouTube account.

Once your movie has finished uploading, go to YouTube and log in to your account. A list of all your uploaded movies can be found by clicking on your username and selecting "my videos." Find the video you have just uploaded in the list and open it.

Screenshot depicting copying a URL for a given YouTube Video.

Watch the movie through to make sure you are happy with it. If you are, highlight and copy the URL of the video, found in the address bar. Generate a short URL using this information and goo.gl (see How To > Short URLs and Tracking Codes above), and a QR code by using the Kaywa site (see How To > Making a Code with Kaywa: Step-by-step, above). Print off the code, place in the museum, and you're done!

Tips for Shooting Video

Know your equipment

Some of the first video we shot was done using my iPhone. While the quality is great, at the time I didn't realize that I was shooting the wrong way. As a result, all of the video we got from that day is sideways, and turning it is a major technical hassle. The lesson to take away from this? Before you're planning on recording anything, take a few test shots with your camera and upload them to your computer. Spend time familiarizing yourself with how everything works: how to record, stop, playback, and how long your camera will let you record for. Then, when you're shooting for real, you won't risk making small errors that will cost you lots of time later on.

Be Consistent

It's a lot easier to learn how to deal with just one set of equipment, file formats and software than to have to deal in multiples. Find one camera and stick with it.

Test Before You Delete

This might seem obvious, but keeping it in mind can save you major headaches down the road. Never delete anything off of your camera without making sure it's properly uploaded to your computer. Video files are big and prone to file corruption when you're moving them from your card to your desktop. Use the software that came with the camera, or if you're directly moving things from the SD card or other media, be sure to copy and paste rather than drag and drop. Then, watch the file all the way through to make sure that both the audio and video have transferred properly. If not, play back the file in your camera to make sure it's not a problem with the video itself, and then try again.

Back Up Your Files

It's much easier to burn a CD or DVD than it is to try and recover something that's been deleted, and you never know when you'll want to revisit something that you shot previously. This is especially true for things like oral history interviews, which become a part of your collection.

Bring Extra Everything

Make sure you have extra batteries and memory cards, and that your batteries are fully charged and your cards are empty BEFORE you start to shoot. Nothing is worse than a camera going dead right in the middle of something exciting.

Shoot with a Story in Mind

Have an idea of what you want the finished video to look like before you start shooting. Make a list of the shots you need and how they will fit together. This will save you headaches when you're editing and also help make sure you don't miss anything or need to do re-shoots.

Editing Video in Windows Movie Maker

Windows Movie Maker (WMM) is not the best or most efficient video editing software out there. However, it comes pre-installed on all computers with Windows XP and Vista, meaning that it is already available to most museums. It can be found under Programs > Entertainment in the Windows Start menu.

Understanding the Timeline View

(Screenshots are from WMM for Windows XP)

Screenshot depicting the timeline view in Movie Maker.
Collections Drop Down Menu
Allows you to navigate between different "collections" - ie, video files—that you have imported into WMM.
Clips Window
Shows all the clips available in a collection. This window is where you cut down larger files into smaller chunks. Any supplemental photos and audio you import will also appear here.
Preview Window
Previews photos, video clips, audio files and your edited movie.
Playback Controls
Play, stop, rewind, fast forward, and frame-by-frame advance.
Split Clip
Splits the previewed clip into two at the selected point.
Zoom Buttons
Zooms in and out of the timeline.
Show Storyboard / Show Timeline Button
Toggles between storyboard and timeline view. Storyboard is simpler, but timeline provides more control.
Timeline
Clips from the clip window are dragged here to begin constructing a movie.
Loading Files to Edit
The first step of editing video in WMM is to load the raw files that you have shot with your camera. To do this, press ctrl+I or select File > Import into Collections... from the top menu.

WMM cannot edit every type of video file. For instance, it cannot load .mov files, which are a common format in which many cameras shoot. If you are having problems loading files into WMM, you must use a video conversion program to translate you files into something that WMM can read, such as an .AVI or .WMV. Some free suggestions for file conversion software can be found in Appendix C: Web and Software Resources.

Turning Files into Clips

In most cases, the video you have shot will need to be edited to take out parts that you do not want or need or to reorder and combine different scenes. To do this, the files you have imported need to be cut down into a series of clips.

To make a clip, double-click on the file you have imported. It will begin playing in the preview window. When it has reached a point where you would like to split the video file—for example, right before a new question is asked in an oral history interview—pause the video by pressing the stop button or the spacebar and click on the "split clip" button. Continue doing this until your video is transformed into a more manageable series of chunks. A good tip is to give each clip a name which reflects its contents—you can rename a clip by right clicking on it. This is especially helpful when editing down a very long or complex file.

Additional still images or audio files can be brought into the clips window by using the same "Import into Collections..." dialogue you used to import your video file. These files will also show up as clips.

Turning Clips into a Movie

To begin building a movie, drag the desired clips from the clip window into the timeline. Transitions between clips and special effects can be added by right-clicking a clip and choosing "Video Effects". Captions and text slides can be added by selecting Tools > Titles and Credits from the top menu bar.

Sound on clips can be muted or have its volume adjusted by right-clicking on the sound track. If you would like to use only the sound from a particular clip—for instance, to use as narration over a still image—click on the clip in the timeline and drag it down into the Audio/Music bar. This will remove the video component.

Close-up of the Audio/Music bar of the timeline view in Windows Movie Maker.

The timeline view in WMM. Note that the leftmost clip is a combination of a still photo and sound taken from another clip by dragging it into the Audio/Music bar.

To preview your movie, click on the beginning of the time line and press play in the preview window or press the space bar.

Saving Your Movie

Clicking the "save" button only saves your timeline. This is helpful for when you wish to come back and finish editing a project later; however, in order to save a full movie file that can be uploaded to the web, you must select File > Save Movie File from the top menu bar. Choose to save the file to your computer. The file will be saved in .wmv format.

Audio Editing Tips & Tricks

  1. Like with video, it pays to know your equipment. While microphones come in all shapes, sizes and price ranges the quality of a mid-range USB mic or stand-alone recorder should do the job for most voice recordings. Make test recordings. Many things can negatively affect sound quality, including room acoustics, ambient noise, voice levels, and even humidity. Try recording in different parts of the room and play with the distance between the microphone and the subject until you are happy with the sound quality. Listen to test runs with headphones to better hear what they sound like.
    Be aware of wind when outside and try to aim for calm weather, or conduct the recording in a shelter. Some noise attributed to wind is almost inescapable in outdoor settings, but mic covers and "blimps" can be used to help deaden the sound.
  2. Make sure to save your audio in an appropriate file type. .Wav files are high quality and represent the full spectrum of sound. However, they are very large, and not suitable for online use. Mp3 files are the usual Internet standard. Some quality will be lost, but the file size will be much smaller, and more programs are able to play back the files.
  3. When outputting your audio it is important to note the decibel level of your master volume. A decibel (dB, db) is a unit used to express the intensity of a sound wave. dB is a measure of amplification not volume, so 0dBmeans that the signal is in its original, unaltered state. Get as loud a level as you can when recording. If you are seeing red then back the volume off or move the mic further from the sound source.

Editing Audio with GarageBand

This guide will cover basic techniques for recording and editing sound in GarageBand, an audio editing program that comes pre-loaded on Mac computers. However, most of the basic principles apply to any audio editing program that you have access to. If you require a free program which is compatible with both Window and Apple machines, please see Appendix C: Web and Software Resources.

Screenshot of 'Garage Band' software, used to edit audio.
Individual Track
This panel shows the track name, effect applied, panning parameter and a volume slider. You don't want the signal to go from green to red. This means you are "peaking" and the signal strength will cause distortion in your sound. Try to aim as close to this without crossing into the red for the fullest sound.
Waveform
This is a visual representation of the recording along a timeline, or a waveform. It is shown below in the editing screen. This allows you to zoom into areas for fine tuning of your audio file.
Recording Button
Clicking this will begin recording, using whatever device you have installed on your computer.
Basic Control Buttons
From left to right: Back to the start, rewind, fast-forward, play, and loop.
Clock
Shows where in the track your cursor is located.
Master volume
This effects all tracks you may have in a session. The green bars show the amplification of the sound as it plays. Your individual tracks will all contribute to this, so if you are seeing red try and tone down the loudest tracks in your session.
Effects panel
Because this track was a voice recording and my subject was male, I chose the setting Male Speech. Most programs will have a few simple effects that will improve sound without having to do a lot of manual tweaking.

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