How to Turn Pictures into a YouTube Video

As small businesses, we often lust after what we don’t have or can’t yet afford, right?

When it comes to online marketing, we wish we had a flashier website, more Facebook fans, a million Twitter followers, and a rockin’ YouTube channel. But those things take time, effort, cash, and in the case of video, equipment.

If you don’t own a Flip camera or an iPhone with a built-in digital video recorder, that doesn’t mean video-based social platforms like YouTube and Vimeo are out of your reach. Read on…

Gimme video!

A client said to me last week, “We need video to get our message out, but we don’t have any video footage. We don’t have a budget to make video footage. So what are we going to do?”

She was convinced that video would help reach the young-ish target audience, and that posting video on YouTube was the fastest way to find those individuals and get them to pass the message along to friends.

So I say, “Don’t you have pictures that could tell your story?”

(Pictures + PowerPoint)*MovieMaker = Video

Okay, at first glance the idea of pictures plus PowerPoint multiplied by Movie Maker probably doesn’t equal a video in your mind.

But it does, I promise (for Windows users, anyway). Here’s how I did it with a simple 8-slide presentation to accompany a recent post about branding:

  1. Use Microsoft PowerPoint to build a series of slides. You can add pictures, text (sparingly, and in big font sizes), colors, shapes, whatever elements will tell your story best. The only thing you shouldn’t add is custom animation.
  2. Click File > Save as, then select JPEG from the drop down menu. (If you want to keep a copy of the presentation in regular PowerPoint format, save it that way first.)
  3. PowerPoint will ask if you want every slide or just the current slide saved to .jpg format. Click Every Slide. Then, you’ll get a confirmation that the slides were saved to a new folder. Make a note of that location – you’ll need it in the next step.
  4. Open Microsoft MovieMaker (download it free as part of the Windows Live Essentials pack). Click Add photos and videos, then browse to where your series of .jpg files are stored. Select them all (Ctrl+A, or hold the Ctrl button while you click each one) and click Open. Now your images are in the editing pane.
  5. You can use MovieMaker to change the duration of each slide, change transitions (make images fade in/out, zoom in/out, etc.), add music, or cut in actual video footage (if you’re blessed enough to have some to use). Get details on how to use MovieMaker at Microsoft.com.
  6. Once you’re finished editing, click the Save movie button and select the Recommended for this project option. Don’t use File > Save as > Project, unless you want to re-edit this file later.
  7. MovieMaker will create a Windows Media Video (.wmv) file for you. Be patient – it will take awhile. Now log into your YouTube account and click the Upload link. Follow the prompts to select, load and tag your video.

You can see the finished result of my example here: