Categories Multimedia

Create a photographic film with Picasa 3

The new version of Picasa allows you to create real films with a sober but powerful look from your best shots. As usual, this software made by Google offers us judicious and easy-to-use features. In the end, you will get a video file in WMV format (Windows Media Video, Microsoft standard) that you can easily export to YouTube or any other video sharing service. A good way to share your best moments at the end of 2008!

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Start by downloading the latest version of Picasa:

Picasa 3 (9.2) MiB, 7,903 downloads)

Once installed, import some pictures of your Christmas holidays, the New Year’s Eve or something, of course!

Now we're ready for the rest of the operations.

Step 1 — Video editing

Start by clicking on the video icon Create a film located below the title of each photo folder. You can also use the menu Creation then Film...

Capture décran - Picasa, création dun film photographique
Screenshot — Picasa, creating a photographic film

A new tab appeared — and yes, Picasa uses a tab system, stupid but you had to think about it.

Capture décran - Picasa, création dun film photographique
Screenshot — Picasa, creation of a photographic film

The interface is available in 3 main areas:

  • The left sidebare: it brings together all the editing options under 3 separate tabs (Film, Slide, Images);
  • The central screen : displays a preview of the video;
  • The chronology : located at the bottom of the screen, it allows the various elements of the film to be arranged according to its desires;

Film tab

This tab contains most of the major options. So we're going to focus on it for a little while.

Capture décran - Picasa, création dun film photographique
Screenshot — Picasa, creating a photographic film

A first option offers us to add an audio track. So click on the button Add... then select the one you will use as a musical background. The allowed formats are MP3 and WMA.

N.B. : you can only select one single audio track for the entire movie. It’s too bad! However, Picasa’s goal is to offer a film that can be exported to YouTube. Indeed, the video upload is limited to 10 minutes, for a maximum size of 1 GB.

However, to mitigate the effect of this limitation, the software offers us the choice between 3 possibilities of adjusting the audio track:

  • Truncating the audio track : this will be automatically stopped at the end of the slideshow depending on the display time of a slide;
  • Adjust photos to audio : the display time is no longer adjustable. It is the length of the sound file that will determine the time of the film;
  • Scroll through the photos in a loop to match them to the audio : unlike the previous option, you now have the choice to set the time to display a slide. Thus, the photos will run in a loop until it ends. Useful for a long musical background — a symphonic suite, for example;

Let’s now choose the transition style between slides. Note that the following options will be accessible or not depending on the transition effect chosen.

The following 2 cursors allow us to adjust:

  • The duration of each slide;
  • The overlay effect (in %);

Let’s now set the dimensions of the video, i.e. its resolution. Think about the final medium that will be used to promote your film:

  • For the Web, do not exceed 640 x 480 ;
  • For a cathodic TV, 800 x 600 will suffice;
  • For PC screens from 15 to 19 inches, 1024 x 768 up to 1600 x 1200 ;
  • For 16:9, HD 720p and 1080p screens, all resolutions are accessible and notament 1280 x 720 and 1920 x 1080 ;

The last two options are optional and allow:

  • Display legends;
  • Crop the photo to avoid both vertical and horizontal black stripes (beware of visual deformations);

Slide tab

This tab will allow us to add text to each slide.Start by selecting a slide, then have fun typing captions, subtitles, etc.

Capture d'écran - Picasa, création d'un film photographique
Screenshot — Picasa, creating a photographic film

The tool proposes, among other things, to modify the font used, its size, to bold, etc., but also to customise the display template. Try to keep a semblance of homogeneity!

You can also add a text slide via the small icon in the chronology space.

Images tab

Thanks to this tab, we will be able to add images that do not appear in the current album. Several methods are available to add:

  • Select an album from your photo library and click on Create a film. In short, proceed in the same way as if you wanted to create a new film;
  • Select the photos of your choice, then drag and drop to the Movie Maker tab;
  • Double-click on a photo;
Capture décran - Picasa, création dun film photographique
Screenshot — Picasa, creating a photographic film

Go back to the tab Image. New Images have appeared. To add them to the timeline, click on the green icon in the shape of more or a cross after selecting them. These will be automatically added following the slideshow.

Congratulations, the editing part is now over. You can, of course, review the set of parameters to fine-tune the set. To launch a preview, click the green color play button.

Step 2 — Export of film

Now launch the process of creating the final file. It will be created in WMV format, readable by most video players including Windows Media Player, Media Player Classic or VLC.

To do this, you only have to click on the button Create a film. Wait for several minutes, the creation time depends on the performance of your computer.

Capture décran - Picasa, création dun film photographique
Screenshot — Picasa, creating a photographic film

Once the process is complete, several export options are available:

  • Transfer to YouTube : useful to promote your video on the Internet;
  • Make a Capture : allows you to generate a screenshot at the playpoint;
  • Export clip : select the beginning and end of the clip using the cursors positioned on the playbar. Then click on the above button to export the clip for the selected part;

Once the different operations have been completed, return to your photo library. Your film is now accessible and readable directly in the app. Note also the creation of a virtual folder including all the projects, entitled Films.

This third version of the photo manager by Google has seen real progress over the previous version. The trademark is required with a successful integration of all Google services. Definitely, Picasa is really indispensable!


Leave a Reply to Maigret Cancel reply

  • @XEA : thank you very much!

    @Ouguiliang : yes that is true but it would have slightly increased the time to load the page, require more time to create the video... but in the end, would it have brought added value to the article, I don't know.
    Then it’s up to Google to promote Picasa 3!

  • Clear

    Very nice indeed..but how to then expatriate the attached piece and send it by mail, the video is too heavy and does not pass!
    for success once (how? I don't know!) I know that it is possible to reduce the film so that it can then be sent but how do we do it?
    Could you help me?
    Thank you very much!

  • @Clear : sending by attachment seems to me impossible because the size of an attachment is usually limited to 20 MB. So unless you compress the file with a compression software in the style of WinZip, I don't see how you could do otherwise...

    The best thing is to burn the movie to a DVD, upload it to a video-sharing site (e.g. with private access), use a file-sharing site (rapidshare or megaupload) or send it to an FTP server.

    The only way to send videos by e-mail is not to send a screenshot of the movie.

    Finally, if you have a Google account then use the web albums to share your video.

  • @Buzzer : it is true that Picasa is quite limited for that. And yet, many users have already asked me. Apart from being able to view photos on a musical background or create a film with a single track.

    However, you can still use the Creating Windows DVDs — exclusive to Vista, to do so. If you‘re interested, I’ll do a tutorial on the matter.

  • BIETH christiane

    Good morning,

    No problem with making movies except that the soundtrack has failures in the film (which are not in the original audio file) which settings should be used to fix them, thank you for your help

  • guy

    good morning,
    G 2 questions:
    1/My transfer to YOU TUBE does not result? it starts and plant after a few minutes, how to check, from Picassa, if the formats used are correct?
    2/1 times the film creates, can we delete the virtual folder projects that created ds Picassa?
    Thank you for your advice

  • @guy : YouTube and Picasa being perfectly compatible, I doubt a format problem. That said, do you have an error message? Is your Internet connection stable? Did you search online help or in dedicated Google groups?

    For the virtual folder, if your project is finished, I see no objection to it being deleted.

  • Eric

    Good morning,
    I just made a little movie... so thank you for these very clear explanations.
    A few pieces of music end-to-end with audacity (which eliminates the fact that picasa3 only supports one piece).
    On the other hand, always the same problem for me: the format is wmv.
    How to finally have a format that reads on a living room reader: not all people to whom I was to send this film have a computer (or prefer the living room!)?
    Every time I get lost in the jungle of software... To finally have something that crashes...
    I really need a hand.

    Thank you in advance.

  • @Eric : the WMV format is often compatible with most living room DVD players. Generally, a sort of explorer allows you to read the file of your choice — just as this is possible for images.

    However, to create a real DVD — like the ones you find in commerce, the best is to use Creation of Windows DVD provided in Vista, which here is a tutorial applied to the photo slideshow that you can easily adapt to your case:

    When adding files to the DVD, you'll only need to integrate your WMV movie and set the various options afterwards. Everything is very easy to use, you shouldn't have any problems!

    And to go further, here’s an article titled Save, edit and burn your videos to DVD to know everything from A to Z — from recording to DVD box.

    Good luck!

  • Tania

    I created a movie with slides on Picasa 3. I selected it, I clicked on “Send on youtube”. The operation is normally done, but on Youtube there are only 0 images out of 53. How do I do this? I made this movie with a web album that I uploaded to Picasa on my computer, is that why there is no slide? The Youtube window displays the title of the slideshow as well as the title of the film that is not the same. What should I do? Redo an album on Picasa with the pictures I used to make the film?

  • @Tania : first of all, does the movie work well on Windows? Does the video file match what you're waiting for? If not, start again or change software — for example by opting to Create Windows DVD (DVD Maker) that is provided in Vista and following this tutorial Create a photo slideshow with Windows DVD Creation Tool.

    If the video is correct then pass directly via Youtube to upload it online. The problem may be inherent to Picasa and, if it is a recognised bug, will probably be solved for a future update.

    If this answer doesn't solve anything, could you give me the link of your video on Youtube to better understand the problem? If you prefer to keep it confidential, contact me via the page Contact.

  • Oceanide

    thank you for your explanation
    I have a problem; when I click on create the film the following error message appears "error when creating movie(error-1) I have done several trials without results; however, I can read the film I'm preparing!
    with movi-maker of vista I have no creative problem and can record my created videos
    thank you for your reply cordially Claude


    Hello, I‘ve followed all your tips, but when I launch the movie, the audio track doesn’t read. Yet it’s in mp3 format... please help me thanks in advance

  • @MMMMEEEERRRCCIIIII! : if no particular error message appears, I can't do much.

    You're sure you didn't cut off the Picasa app’s sound via the mixer in the notification area — if you're on Vista, for example?

    Did you try another soundtrack?

    Did you try to export everything and then play the video with Windows Media Player to see if it wasn't a preview bug?

    If your problem persists, try to contact Google or post on one of their help forum.

    Definitely, Picasa poses a problem to a lot of people...

  • MCH

    Good morning,
    I want to put in a film photos in vertical format and when I take the option “frame the images” they are truncated at the top and bottom. When I remove this option, I have inesthetic black strips.
    How do I do this?
    On the other hand, my soundtrack often trespasses in the movie while the mp3 file is correct.
    Thanks for your help

  • @MCH : when you say vertical mode, you probably want to talk about the portrait format? If this is the case, then it is normal to have black stripes on the left and right edges.

    When it comes to the sound problem, I don't see where the problem can come from. Have you tried another sound file?

  • Néné

    Following the creation of a DVD RW..... it is impossible for me to read it on my plasma screen via my DVD player
    Is there incompatibility or something to set

  • @Belen : para grabar el vídeo in a DVD, puede utilizar la Creación de DVD de Windows — en Vista, para añadir un menú. In caso contrario, se pueden grabar con cualquier software de grabación, pero tenga cuidado de que el reproduor de DVD es capaz deabrir archivos codificados in formato DVD — que permite a la herramienta de Windows.

  • Marina

    Good evening, I followed well as you need your description to make a film editing, at the end to watch what it gives, I have the song that scrolls but not my images! It’s a purple screen! I don't know why... can you help me please?

    Thank you

  • @jefblog : thank you for coming back!

    @Marina : a purple screen:?:

    Does this problem occur in other applications? Are your video drivers up to date?
    Diagnosing a problem like this is very hard on the Internet...

  • SEB

    with the help, I absolutely cannot find a solution to the sound problem relating to the creation of a photo montage with picasa 3.

    My mp3 file is good but impossible to create a montage with audio....

    Any idea?

  • hugorms590

    Hello, actually I made my video and just ahead what does end, it marks me sketch, I made several attempts but I always get to the same problem
    can you help me? Thank you.

    • @Merlin : normally, you need to be able to access the file created on Windows via the context menu. Then, a simple copy/paste will allow you to duplicate it on any type of device.

  • Charline

    good morning!
    I managed to create movies with my photos, I recorded them but losrque that I read them with vlc or Windows media player or meme picasa, the sound of my video is hashed by time. How to do? I even export it to you tube and the same problem persists.
    thank you for your answer

  • Astridou

    Hello, I have created a film with picassa3 and I can't transfer it to you tube after fulfilling all the required conditions I can not click transfer, otherwise I would like to put my movie on facebook directly and the format is not suitable. I tried to go through you tube and the still format is not suitable help me please

    • Definitely, many people encounter problems with this Picasa feature.

      Unfortunately, I can't help you any further, as the method indicated below has worked for me.

      However, try to find out about the Picasa Help Site.

  • angel

    Good morning,

    Can you tell me how to read a photographic film create in picasa on my TV...? I'm trying to put the clip on a usb key... knowing that I have an external hard drive connected to my TV, so I can plug my key onto it and play the files.

    Thank you in advance

  • DR.

    Good morning to all
    For my part, the problem is that it is totally impossible for me to play the video I created, other than on picasa, I can't open it when it’s on my desktop. I tried to transfer it to You tube, use software to convert it... and it didn't work.
    Is there a solution?

  • Laura

    Hello, I made my film with my photos and my music in the background and I'm all back in photo library for if it’s there, yes it’s good but not in my documents.
    How to export it from picasa to my documents?
    Thank you


    Good morning. I just created a photo movie with Picassa, including music. On my PC, no problem but when I burn everything on a DVD to play it on my DVD player, the music is well present but not the images. Does this have anything to do with the fact that the film is in WMV? Thank you


    Hello Aurélien,
    No unfortunately my drive does not decode WMV. So I was thinking about converting the film to an avi but how to do it or maybe you have another solution. Thank you

  • Laura

    Hello, I have a problem with Picasa 3. In fact I would like to make a movie (not with pictures) but a message tells me that it is impossible to establish the connection.I have a Microsoft LifeCame webcam. Can you help me please?

    Cordially mrc d’avence


    Thanks for the tuto. It’s really a pity that we don't know that adding a piece of music to the whole film is Picassa’s only drawback.

  • gisele.braunshausen

    I‘m 74 years old, so not very comfortable,although I create photo books, and that...there, I created a film on picasa with 384 photos and comments without a sound (I don’t know how to do it) and, problem, I returned the film in my documents, and then put it on USB stick and on my TV, nothing neither photos, nor slideshow, nor comments... while I spend all my other photos in slideshow, it works, but without written comments...Thank you in advance,


    • Aurélien Denis Post author

      Um, it will be very difficult for me to help you. Since the writing of the article I no longer use Picasa and the latter regularly evolves. It is possible that you have followed the steps correctly, but it may jam elsewhere. You should be helped by a loved one who knows it.

  • Nicole

    What I want to do is transfer my picassa film 3 to USB stick to watch it on my phone. Please help... I‘ve taken a lot of hours into this job and I’m proud of it. Thank you in advance