Monday, 12 December 2016

Animating a panorama photo to an mp4 movie using freeware

Recently, rather than create photo albums, I have been creating little mp4 movies from montages and panned views of photos, film clips, and photos of trip artefacts. 

Set it to music, and you can watch it in three minutes, and show visitors... rather than boring them to death over several hours. 

I remember a colleague showing their trip away which was supposed to last ten minutes, and e-v-e-n-t-u-a-l-l-y took two hours. The travellers themselves were engrossed. Their audience had run out of endurance.

I use Microsoft MovieMaker, which works really well for putting little mp4s together. I can put music in the background, add captions, choose from a fairly simple list of transitions how I will segue between images and video. I then upload to YouTube or to my Google drive to host it, and send people the link. It is very easy.

Until you get to panoramic still photos, that is. Movie Maker shows your entire image shrunk to fit in the screen, so you get a lot of black at the top and bottom. While you can pan across the entire image, it shows the first 80% on the screen right from the start, and only pans across the final 20%.

I would like to have the panorama still image show full-screen, then pan across the rest of the panorama full-screen, until it reaches the end. Much more dramatic that way.

So I went looking. Google search turned up that other users had the same request:
Ajma posted "I'm looking for some kind of app (preferably free) that will help me take a panoramic image and make a video that is panning across. I want the image to fill the entire screen (no black bars) and the output should be HD (1080 is preferable, 720 is ok). I'm running a Windows PC. Anybody know of one?"
However, Ajma did not really get a suitable answer. Someone suggested using PowerPoint, but it was apparently of poor quality and irregular in panning. I tried a couple of software downloads, including Panolapse, and PanoramaMaker 6, none of which delivered.

I did hear about Instaspan, an Apple app that videos your panoramas for posting to Instagram. However, I can't seem to find an Android (phone) or a Windows (PC) alternative.

Adobe has lots of tools, but I don't own the suite of - expensive - software, and don't want to make an investment of thousands just to do this one simple thing.

I am now trying Google Photos, to see if I can create something using the native tools online. 

I will report back!




  1. I am able to create avi files using WPanorama, it is possible to select the resolution, e.g. 1080p or 720p.

  2. Thanks Luc: excellent! Will try WPanorama :-)

  3. Thanks again, Luc: WPanorama worked PERFECTLY!


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