Photo Story 3 to DVD



I noticed that after a photo story is created in Photo Story 3, the pictures
are not as clear as the original. This is even noticeable on my 19" computer
screen. If I burn them to DVD, will they have the same lousy quality? I'd
hate to spend money for the upgrade and then burn them to DVD and have the
poor quality be especially noticeable on my 52" tv! Does anyone know? Has
anyone spent money for the upgrade? Also, is it possible to burn the story
to CD for playback on a DVD player as some programs allow? Thanks for any



Mark Coffman

By upgrade, do you mean Sonic's new plugin for burning to DVD? Photo Story
3 is free for Genuine copies of Windows XP.

PhotoStory 3 allows very high quality output. Simply select a profile that
has a higher quality setting (both in resolution, and quality setting). If
you're unsure about what to use, see the Saving Your PhotoStory section of
PapaJohn's website. He has some very good profiles that will work great for
outputting to DVD, along with instructions on adding the profile to



Yes, I meant the Sonic plugin. I hadn't realized it was by Sonic, but I went
back and checked and it is.

Can the quality of the picture be changed even on the computer? I just
followed along the outline as I was forming the "story" and I don't recall
it asking for a setting for picture "quality".

Have you ever tried to burn the story to DVD to see the quality on TV?
Also, can it be burned to a CD for playback on DVD like other programs allow?

Yves Alarie

Mark, (and Papajohn) the thing is this.

We make a story and play it on the computer screen.
Works fine, quality is great (if you start with pictures from 3 MP camera or
above) and Photo Story is a fun thing to do. I have no problem with this.

Now we make a copy to a VCD. Quality is poor on TV. Just forget it.

Now we make a copy to a DVD. Quality is better, but still, we have seen it
on the computer screen and it looked so good, and so we are disappointed
when we see it on a TV.

Am I wrong?

PapaJohn \(MVP\)

Hi Yves,

No, you're not wrong... my last newsletter was all about that subject.

Home made DVDs are lower in quality than commercial DVDs... and DVDs playing
on TVs are lower in quality that on computer monitors...

As high definition TVs come into the picture, the differences will be even
more apparent... when you step up to higher quality in most anything,
somehow the older high quality isn't good enough anymore.

DVDs have a fixed MPEG-2 size of 720x480 pixels... about 1/3 of a megapixel
as compared to your 3 megapixel camera.... you can't change the size as it
won't play on a DVD disc unless it's 720x480 (NTSC - PAL is different but

I purchased and tested the Sonic plug-in last week... it results in a story
being saved to a 720x480 pixel profile and then transcoded into the MPEG-2
files for the DVD.... before the plug-in was released I had developed a
custom 720x480 profile for PS3 and made it available for download...
feedback from those using it has been very positive... using either one
yields similar results but I still give my profile the edge.

Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 -
Photo Story 2 -

yves alarie

Thanks for your reply Papajohn.

I think that part of the problem is "expectation".
We see the story on the computer screen and we like it.
So now we want to see it on TV and using the tools we have to do so,
including all the facts you mentionned in the translation from PC to TV, we
are not so enthusiastic.

But as long as the "complaints" are legitimate (not user error),
improvements will come along.




I still think that I can make much better quality DVDs using TMPGenc or CCE
in multipass mode as the encoder.

One crucial point where the quality may be getting lost is stretching of a
4:3 image to fit into 720x480 frame which is not 4:3. Essentially an image
is resized to 640x480 and then the pixels are stretched in horizontal
direction to fit this frame into 720x480. This is not a trivial step as a
single source pixel from the source may end up crossing a pixel boundary in
the destination. There exist several complicated algorithms to do such
resampling. If done trivially this would cause quality issues.

Rehan - get more effects and transitions for Windows Movie Maker

PapaJohn \(MVP\)

To follow through on that expectation, maybe it's time to find a way to
connect the computer to the big screen and display it directly, without
going through a DVD disc.... which limits the quality to that of home-burned

I've been working with a photographer who presents her work on a projection
system to highly discriminating photo buffs.... using a custom 800x600
profile with Movie Maker has been all she has needed to bump up the quality
to a sufficient level. PhotoStory and Movie Maker can go even higher... but
you can then run into the power of the computer needed to play it smoothly.

Movie Maker 2 and Photo Story 3 -
Photo Story 2 -

Yves Alarie

Then, it should be possible to simply crop the 4:3 image to 3:2. This would
fit exactly the 720x480 frame and avoid the distortion.


Then, it should be possible to simply crop the 4:3 image to 3:2. This
fit exactly the 720x480 frame and avoid the distortion.

You would think so.. wont you.... But unfortunately it is not as simple as
that. The specifications for MPEG2 encoding for DVD have very specific
requirements and one of their requirements is to use non-square pixel
encoding. The NTSC standard for example specifies thin rectangular pixels of
ratio 8:9. This means the 640 square pixels make up 720 of the NTSC pixels.
Similarly for PAL standard the pixels have to be slightly rectangular on the
fat side (of ratio 16:15).

It all seems very silly and essentially there is no work aorund for this.
The standards were specfied well before the square pixels of a computer
screen were popular enough. Luckily some sane people have now made sure that
High Definition standard wont take up such strange ratios.

Further reading:




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