Movie Maker vs Photostory 3 – which editing software?

Asking around my colleagues for suggestions on a suitable piece of software on which to synchronise pictures to a sound track was interesting if only to find that no-one had much experience of the sort of digital stories I want to produce. Inevitably, several people said simply “Use a Mac”. However, as most of the students do not have access to one (and nor do I, sadly) I’ve looked at other options.

A few years ago we ran a successful project on video editing using Pinnacle Studio 8 (I could tell it was a few years ago when I looked up the latest version which seems to be Studio 12!). This currently costs about £30 which is remarkably cheap – but would deter students using it at home. So, I’m having a look at free downloads of Microsoft’s Movie Maker and Photostory 3 for Windows.

I used a series of photographs I had on file and simply tried to add them to an mp3 I’d created in Audacity.

Movie Maker operates like  most video editing suites: clips can be imported and then dragged down on to a timeline view or storyboard. Still photographs work in just the same way and have the advantage of being dragged to extend or shorten to fit.Transitions such as fades are easily dropped in too.

The advantages seem to be:

  • easy arragement of  images and sequences
  • the timeline allows you to follow the audio track closely
  • many ‘transitions’ are available

Disadvantages include:

  • synchronising images to precise moments on the sound track was quite fiddly and would need some practise
  • a black (and a white) blank image would be quite useful as the length of transition does not seem to be editable as it was in Pinnacle.
  • doesn’t have the ‘movement effect’ used in Photostory.

Photostory 3 for Windows doesn’t have the editing suit interface, but rather a series of staged instructions rather like a help wizard.

The advantages seem to be:

  • Very quick and straightforward to get a basic slideshow (default is set to give each picture 5 secs – but this can be altered)
  • Built in ‘movement effect’ so view zooms in or out or tracks across the images (these too can be altered manually.


  • You can’t see the audiotrack so synchronisation might have to be done by careful timings taken from the audio track.
  • You can’t  include moving images/video


There are several useful Tutorials to be found on You Tube for both programmes.





1 Comment

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One response to “Movie Maker vs Photostory 3 – which editing software?

  1. Lee Winik

    Great comparison of Movie Maker to Photostory! I guess it would depend on the project and time constraints. I have found that with my students Movie Maker seemed to take a long time to get a product they were happy with. With Photostory the project can be done quickly.Using Audacity to sync audio would be troublesome with Photostory.Another program worth taking a look at is Memories on TV. I believe you can add video to the slide shows as well.

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