Personal History in a Face Movie

It wasn’t so long ago that making a movie like the one below would takes hours, days, maybe even weeks to put together.  It would also take some very expensive and specialized equipment.  Now, with Picasa’s face recognition feature, it’s just a single click on a button called Face Movie!

Just select the pictures, click the Face Movie button, add music, and voila! Here’s a movie of my Mom’s beautiful smile thru the years!

Select Pictures from a People Album

You need to have Face Detection turned on and some faces identified in People Albums in order to use this feature.  If, at some time in the past you decided you didn’t want Face detection, you can turn it back on with Tools –> Options –> Name Tags –> Enable Face Detection.

Assuming you do have a few People Albums, take a look at the buttons next to the thumbnail of that person, you will see 4 buttons. 

  1. imagePlay – to play a slideshow of all the pictures of that person,
  2. imageCollage – to make a photo collage using all the pictures of that person
  3. imageMovie – to create a regular movie of the pictures of this person
  4. imageFace Movie – to create a special movie where the person’s face appears in the same spot when transitioning from one picture to the next


So, just click that button and you will be taken to the Movie Making page, with all the pictures of that person selected (or whatever pictures you pre-selected.)  Here is where you will see a few options also.  All the pictures have been placed on a timeline.  First you’ll want to click the green play arrow and take a look at the movie, then you might try playing with a few of the settings. 


Add Music

You’ll definitely want to find a piece of music and ‘Load…’ it into the Audio Track.  Notice the audio options to truncate the music, Fit Photos into Audio, or Loop Photos to Match Audio.  They each have their place.  If you have an audio clip that is the right length for your number of pictures, then Fit Photos into Audio is great, your pictures will end exactly when the music ends.

If you intend to upload your movie to Youtube, you’ll need to be careful to choose a copyright free track.  I found mine at

Arrange Pictures

You can drag pictures around on the timeline, you can even remove them by clicking the X at the left.  You can also create title slides by clicking the icon above the red X.

The Finished Movie

When your movie looks good, finish it by clicking the Create Movie button.  This will produce a .wmv file completely independent of the original pictures.  You can copy that .wmv file to any computer device, or you can burn it to a DVD movie using something like DVD Maker.  You can even upload it to Youtube, with the handy button provided.

Geeks on Tour Members should watch the following videos for more info:

  1. People Albums: Viewing Faces or Entire Picture
  2. Naming Faces
  3. Make a Movie

Picasa and Video Files

We just returned from a Scuba Diving trip to Cozumel, Mexico and Jim bought an underwater video camera – the GoPro Hero to take along.  We had lots of fun taking underwater video.  Here’s a sample:

Chris swimming thru Coral canyons, Jim taking the video

Many of today’s cameras take both pictures and videos.  Did you know that Picasa can show you the videos as well as the pictures?  If you took any movies with your camera, they will be imported right along with your pictures when you import the contents of your camera’s card to your computer.  If that is not happening for you, then check your settings in Picasa:  Tools –> Options –> File Types and be sure all of the ‘Movie’ file types are checked.


filmstripYou can identify a video file in your Picasa Library view by looking for the little filmstrip icon in the lower left corner.

The easiest way to see if you have any video files is to use Picasa’s filter for movies.  You should recognize the icon.  It’s the fourth one in the filters group.   filter  As soon as you click it, your library of thousands of pictures will only be showing you the movie files.  Remember to click the Back to View All button! (Geeks on Tour Member Tutorial Video: Movies from your Camera)

Movies in My Videos

If you have a special video camera – like the GoPro that we use – and you’ve put those video files in the My Videos area of your computer, Picasa can view them also.  Just go into Tools –> Folder Manager and make sure to set the desired folders to ‘Scan Always.’  Now you will see them in Picasa’s Library view. (See free tutorial video on Folder Manager)


Movie Files are BIG

It’s important to understand that any video will be a large file.  Even a 30 second movie taken with a low resolution camera will be dozens of megabytes, and a 2 minute high resolution video will be several hundred megabytes!  To see how big any file is, just select it and look at the status line in Picasa – the blue line below the picture or library.  This large size makes them difficult, sometimes impossible to upload or even just to play.  Be aware of the size of your file.

What Can You Do with Movie Files?

  1. First of all, you can play them using Picasa – just double-click like you would to open a picture.  They might play a little rough and jerky – Picasa is not the best video playback software around, but it does work.  You can also pause by clicking the button with the two vertical bars, and play by clicking the green arrow.
  2. You can shorten them by setting a new Starting Point and Ending Point.  Just position the playhead at either end and click one of the triangles to the right of the video.  When you hover over them, you’ll see ‘Create a new starting/ending point.’   Now when you play it, it will start at your designated starting point and end at your designated ending point.
  3. You can Upload to Youtube.  All you need is an account – it’s free.  Youtube is owned by Google, if you already have a google account – you’re all set.
  4. You can capture a snapshot.  Just position the video at the frame with the shot you want as a picture and click the ‘Take Snapshot’ button.  You will now find the .jpg file of that shot in the ‘Captured Videos’ folder of the Projects collection.
  5. You can Export a clip.  If you have set a new start or end point, clicking on Export a Clip will create a new video file that starts and ends at your points.


Other than setting new start and end points, you cannot do any further editing of video files.  There is no color correction or cropping etc. available for movie files.

Learn at http://www.GeeksOnTour.TV

If you want to learn how to do all of these editing techniques – “There’s a video on that!”  Take a look at ourLearning Library for Picasa – the first 3 videos in the list are free for anyone to watch, the rest require a Geeks on Tour Membership.