Capture One Shot from a Video

Have you ever taken a video that captured a great moment that you wanted in a still photo?  Picasa makes it very easy to capture one shot from a video.

Here is a small video clip I took at Palm Creek RV Resort when Jane Seymour made an appearance.  She had just finished ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and one of the residents of the resort, Rex,  actually danced with her.  I was taking video the whole time.  What if we wanted a still shot?  This is a good example for using Picasa’s ‘Take Snapshot’ feature.

 

With the original video clip opened in Picasa, you should see a button at the left that says, ‘Take Snapshot.’

image

Play the video until it gets near the spot with the still photo you want.  You can also drag the playhead to get in position.  Then, to move frame by frame, you can use the < (comma) key to move one frame earlier and the > (period) key to move one frame later.  When you have the image you want, just click the ‘Take Snapshot’ button.

image

What this does is creates an individual .jpg picture of that particular frame from the video.  Where is it?  It’s in the Projects collection.  Any time that Picasa creates something, like a collage, or a movie, or a capture from a video, it puts it into this collection.  If you don’t see a ‘Projects’ collection, it may be because you are in Tree View.  You need to be in Flat folder view to see this collection.  In Tree View, you would look for a Picasa folder underneath your My Pictures folder.  The Captured Videos will be there.

image

Now, your captured frame from the video is a .jpg picture just like any other.  You can crop it, use I’m Feeling Lucky, add text, and whatever other editing you desire.  One caveat: don’t expect high quality.  A frame from a video will not be high resolution.

JaneSeymour 02 1

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Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

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Need to learn the basics?  Check out our ‘Beginner’s Guide to Picasa’ complete with show-me videos

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Taking Video with your Laptop’s Camera

This week’s tip is way cool!  And, it’s so easy. We have so much capability in our laptop computers these days – like that little video camera built right in to the lid. You should see it staring at you when you’re using your computer.

webcam

But … how do you use it? Picasa makes it OH-SO-EASY, just click one button and you can start talking into the camera. Click another button to stop it, then a third to upload it to youtube. Watch the free 2 minute video below to see exactly how its done.

http://content.screencast.com/users/ChrisGuld/folders/Showme-Picasa/media/94c52976-b564-45f1-9d82-843111ffdc8f/pic340-webcam_controller.swf

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Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

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Need to learn the basics?  Check out our ‘Beginner’s Guide to Picasa’ complete with  show-me videos.

Picasa Tip: Cut thru the Haze

Our motorhome is currently parked in Salem, Massachusetts. A little city park called Winter Island. We’re using this home base to sightsee in the area, including Boston. For our day in Boston, we decided to take the ferry. Nothing better than a boat ride to start the day, and what a great way to see Boston for the first time! See our blog post on this wonderful day.

The weather was setting record highs … 95 degrees, and there was a lot of haze or smog in the air. You couldn’t even see the skyline of Boston until we were almost right on it! Not a good day for taking pictures.  I was glad I had my SLR camera with a Polarizing filter, that helps cut thru the haze a bit.  Jim has a little Nikon point and shoot (no filters) – I figured my pictures would be much better than his!

But with just a few clicks in Picasa – here’s Jim’s picture:

 

Before and after Picasa

Here’s what he did:

  1. Basic Fixes: Straighten
  2. Effects: Sharpen
  3. Tuning: Increase Shadows*
  4. Tuning: Increase Highlights*
  5. Basic Fixes: Add Text

*I’m Feeling Lucky does almost as good, with one click, as increasing shadows and highlights.

http://content.screencast.com/users/ChrisGuld/folders/Picasa%20Tips/media/419c0616-33cb-422c-86f1-f32041aa6df0/picasa-tip-cut-thru-haze_controller.swf

The ‘before’ picture I wouldn’t want to show anyone.  The ‘after’ picture proudly went on our blog!

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Picasa Tip: Make a Movie

Picasa 3 has a very easy way to take a bunch of photos, add a song you like, and create a movie.  All you do is select the photos you want in the movie and click the Movie button at the bottom of the screen.  Once in the ‘Movie Maker’ you can add a song from your computer’s music library.  It will even time the playback of the photos to match the length of the song.  You can also choose among several choices for the transition between photos.  Pan and Zoom is the default transition.

image

Show-Me-How Videos:

 

This is different from Picasa’s slideshow feature in that the end result is a single file – a .wmv movie file.  Once the movie is created, you can upload it to your Picasa Web Album, or better yet, to Youtube.  It’s a single click to create movie and upload to Youtube.  You must already have a Youtube account.  The .wmv file will playback on any computer with Windows Media Player.  If you want to play it on a TV’s DVD player, you need one more step.  In Vista there is a DVDMaker that comes with Windows.  Just open that up and add your .wmv file to it – then burn DVD.  If you’re on XP, you need some other software like MyDVD from Roxio. For Macintosh, I believe iDVD will do the trick.

The movie maker capability in Picasa is very basic.  For example, if you would like one song for the first 10 slides and another song for the remaining slides – it can’t do it – one song per movie … period.  Our favorite *free* program for making fancier slide show movies is Photo Story 3. (Tutorial video: download and install Photo Story 3).  It allows for many different songs on the sound track.  It will even create the music for you and make it end at the right place.  You can also add narration.

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

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Show-Me-How Videos about photo story:

 

 

Picasa Tip:Making a Panorama

A panorama is when you have several individual photos taken in succession of a scene – usually a landscape – and you create one picture by connecting and overlapping the individual photos. So, for example, I took the 4 pictures below with the intent of putting them together into one panorama.

panorama

Picasa does not have a Panorama feature, but you can approximate the result by using the collage feature. Select all 4 photos and click the collage button, size them and position them overlapping each other to make them look like one. If one is darker than the others, you can right click on it and choose View and Edit. This takes you to the editing tools, where you can use the fill Light slider to lighten up the picture. (Member Tutorial Video:Basic Edits) Then just click on the collage tab to get back. To bring one photo on top, right-click on it and then choose ‘Bring to Top.’

Click the Create collage button and you now have one picture that is a composite of the original 4. Crop it so the edges are straight and you have something like this: (Member Tutorial Video: Crop Size Options)

panorama2

Notice that the seams between the original photos are pretty obvious. And, there’s not much you can do about this. If you want to do a lot of panoramas, this is an area where it may be worthwhile to use another software. I have a Canon camera and it came with software called ‘PhotoStitch.’ After simply selecting the pictures and setting their order, below is what I get with Photostitch. It’s really quite amazing how it perfectly aligns the photos and blends the intersection lines.

panorama3

You can save this panorama in your My Pictures folder and Picasa will then treat it like any other picture.

If you have a Canon camera, you probably already have Photostitch – it works with both Windows and Macintosh. If not, and you’re on the Windows platform, you can download Windows Live Photo Gallery – this is a download, not the Gallery that comes with Vista. It makes panoramas as easy as 1-2-3. 1)select the photos, 2) click Make – Create Panoramic Photo and 3:Save. The saved photo is now in My Pictures and can be managed by Picasa right along with all your other photos.

The problem with Live Photo Gallery is that it is a full featured photo management tool like Picasa and it may get confusing having both of them on your computer.

One other free download is Hugin. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There is a good article all about it with additional tips on making panoramas at Lifehacker.

I am usually not a proponent of Picasa adding features. One of its strengths is that it doesn’t do it all – so what it does do is nice and fast. I like software that is lean and mean. But, when it comes to Panoramas, I’m hoping that this could be added to Picasa without losing any performance. We’ll see, Google adds new features all the time.

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

 

Picasa Tip: To Save or Not to Save

This is so odd. For all of my 25 years teaching computer software, I’ve repeated over and over again to “Save your work!” “Save often.” With most software that is important. But, with Picasa I never use the Save command!

You really don’t have to. Picasa remembers everything you’ve done to a picture. As long as you use Picasa, what you see is what you get. But, if you use another program to view that picture on disk it will see the original photo without Picasa’s edits. To use a photo in another program, you must either Save, or Export. I use the Export command to create a new original. Export is the only way I can make the photo a different size as well.

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If you want to use the Save command, let me tell you how it works. I’ll use the example of a photo I took of a hay field. I think it would be more artistically pleasing as a black and white, so I use the B&W effect in Picasa, and I see it in Picasa as a B&W photo. But, the original, color photo is still what’s on the disk in My Pictures. If I use Powerpoint, for example, and import the Hayfield photo from disk, I’ll get the color one.

Edited, how it appears in Picasa
hayrolls-bw
Photo file on disk
hayrolls-color

You can save your edits to disk by using File | Save, or by right-clicking on the photo and selecting Save. Now the photo file on disk will also be B&W, and therefore, if you use Powerpoint to insert the file, you will get the B&W version.

But, what if you should change your mind sometime and want the color one back? No problem, Picasa won’t allow you to lose your original. When you use the Save command, Picasa creates a hidden folder called ‘Originals’ and puts your original, color photo in there. After you save a photo, Picasa’s ‘Undo’ button will show, “Undo Save.” If you click on that, Picasa will retrieve the original from the hidden folder and put it back in the file position.

originals

So, go ahead and Save if you want to! It doesn’t hurt anything, you can always ‘Undo’ the save. It just takes up extra space on your disk for the originals. And, it certainly is less confusing when the pictures on disk are the same as what you see in Picasa!

Picasa even provides a button to save all the edits in any given folder. Look in the upper right corner of any folder in the Library view. In the example below, Picasa tells me it will save the edits on 88 pictures if I just click the ‘Save to Disk’ button. That would also put 88 originals into the Originals folder.

saveall

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Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

 

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.

 

Picasa Tip: Use Captions

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a few words attached to a photo can say a lot too. Picasa makes writing captions so easy, you have no excuse not to identify them. Simply click in the space below the picture and type. No need to save – Picasa does that automatically when you move on or press Enter. All you need to do is just type … you’re done.(Member Tutorial Video: Add Captions to your Photos)

If you take just a moment to write a couple words with each of your important photographs, you will love yourself for it. Here are just some of the benefits of having captions written on your pictures:

  1. Every word in the caption is searchable
  2. Captions can be printed when you print the photo (new in 3)
  3. Captions appear in slide shows of your photos
  4. Captions will display with your photo when you upload them to Picasa Web Albums
  5. You can have captions display below the thumbnails of your photos in the Library view
  6. Captions are stored with the picture file itself, so are visible in many other programs.

If you like to share your life’s stories and pictures with family and friends, but writing a blog is not for you, you may find that adding captions to your photos is all you need. I generally type a caption on every photo I upload to my Picasa Web Albums. Here is a sample:

captions

If you click on the image above, it will take you to the actual web album. Then, find that picture of Jim teaching Google Earth and click on it. You will see that captions don’t have to be limited to a few words. I typed a whole paragraph on that one!

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.