An Open Letter to Microsoft: Bring Back Photo Story

Dear Microsoft:

I have known about Photo Story for awhile but never really thought much of it. That is until I actually used it or better yet used it with kids. I had jumped into new media with both Movie Maker feet and thought Photo Story a rather obsolete cute program whose time had passed. Who would want to use photos when they could have full video? What an arrogant fool I've been.

Last year I attended a workshop where the presenter had participants create something using Photo Story. I had some photos I had taken of the Cowpens National Battlefield with me so I created my own narrative of the battle. When I had finished I could not believe the powerful story I had created. Way better than a Power Point I had created for a job interview.

Later, working with our school robotics team, there was a debate over how best to present the project the kids were working on for the competition. It was suggested some form of video be created to take pressure off of the kids when they had to present their research findings to a committee of judges. We actually saw other team's videos for the same purpose after an Internet search. However, time was running out so I suggested using Photo Story because it would be quicker than shooting and editing video. Our results are embedded in this blog post. The team with well researched content and photos they had taken on a field trip to the Waddell Mariculture Center and other photos gather from other sources put together a Photo Story video that took second place in the regional competition, enough to help us make the state finals. At Clemson University the team won first place in Research Presentation.

Without Photo Story and its ease of use it is doubtful we could have achieved the results at the state competition. So Microsoft, please bring back Photo Story if not in a Vista form, in Windows 7. I know it seemed like a logical thing to merge it with Movie Maker but Movier Maker can be a bit dauting for teachers and students trying to do some form of video for the first time. The ability to add photos, script, add music, and the Ken Burns effects with a few clicks of the button could benefit many classrooms. If you can should add any feature make insert video clips provided it does not complicate things. The judges privately told us after the state competition that we should consider putting our video on ETV and other media outlets. See for yourself if Photo Story is a worthy program.