From time to time I come across a really cool piece of software that is absolutely free. I like to highlight them here because most of us have spent a considerable amount of money on our computers and it's nice to be able to do more with them while not having to spend more money.
The software I am talking about is Microsoft Photo Story. It's easy to use and makes great looking videos from your digital pictures. Unfortunately, this software will not run on every computer. You must have a 700MHz or faster computer. If you do not, you need a new computer anyway. Also, you must be running Windows XP and have at least 256MB of memory, though more is better. To download it, go to http://www.microsoft.com/photostory. When you get to the site, click on the "Download Photo Story 3" link. Once you have downloaded and installed Microsoft Photo Story, there will be a shortcut to it in your Start menu. Click the shortcut to run it.
When the program opens, click "Begin a new story", then click next. On this next screen, you choose the photos that you want to include in your video. Click the "Import Pictures" button and select the photos to add. You can easily add multiple photos from the same folder and you can click the "Import Pictures" button over and over to add photos from different location. Thumbnails of all the photos you have added appear at the bottom of the screen along with a horizontal scroll bar to slide left and right through them. You can rearrange the order of the photos by highlighting a thumbnail and clicking the left or right arrow at the right end of the screen. You can also drag and drop the thumbnails to rearrange them. If you click the X button on the right end of the screen, the selected thumbnail will be removed. Once you have your photos in order, click next. On this screen, you can add titles to each of the photos, then click next. Now you can record your voice and narrate each photo, then click next. Here, you can add background music by selecting music you have on your computer or creating music from many predefined styles. Click next again and you can save your video or even email it.
Microsoft Photo Story has several features that we did not touch on, but you can read much more about it online at http://www.microsoft.com/photostory.