DS Software

Desktop and Laptop

Apple iMovie

iMovie is Apple's alternative to Photo Story 3 and is a good choice for Mac users who want to create digital stories. This digital movie creation and editing program has most of the same features as Photo Story 3, however, it also supports the use of full-motion video clips. Like Photo Story 3, iMovie lets users add titles, effects, and transitions to their digital story projects. And like Photo Story, iMovie has some limitations too, including: it generally just supports video clips in the .MOV format, and it is not free, although it often comes installed on new Macintosh computers.




Audacity is a digital audio editing program availalbe for Mac and PC that lets you record, edit and mix narration and music. It is recommended for those just starting out with audio editing and best of all, it's available for free.



Microsoft Photo Story 3

Photo Story 3 is a free, easy-to-use software application from Microsoft that lets you create slideshows using your own digital photos and images you download from the web or scan from old photographs, documents, books, magazines or newspapers. You can touch-up, crop, or rotate pictures, add special effects, music, and your own narration to your photo stories. Photo Story 3 does have some limitations: it is only available for computers running the Windows operating system, the stories created with the program can only be played back with Windows Media Player on PCs running Windows, and it only supports the used of still images, so full-motion video clips cannot be added to a digital story using this program.

Because it is free and easy to use, this program is a great choice if you use a Windows PC and are just beginning to create your own digital stories. It's extremely simple to use, has many useful features and is easy for even novice computer users to learn. It's also easy to teach others to use this program, from young children to senior citizens.

Please be aware that there has been a great deal of confusion about whether or not Photo Story 3 will work on PCs running the recent Windows operating systems since it was originally developed for the Windows XP operating system. In our experience, the program works fine on most desktop PCs running Windows Vista, Windows 7. However, we have seen cases on some Windows 7 PCs where the customize motion feature that lets you pan and zoom around images (also known as the Ken Burns effect)  sticks and is difficult to use.

Also, please note that Photo Story 3 is a Windows only application and there is no Macintosh version of the Photo Story software application.



Photoshop Elements

Photoshop Elements 11

Adobe Photoshop Elements contains an easy-to-use slide show creation module that works very much like Photo Story 3, allowing you to create slide shows that can contain zooms and pans, recorded narration, added text and transitions, such as fade in and out. However, unlike Photo Story 3, Photoshop Elements also allows you to add video clips to the slide show, and does not confine you to just using still images.

But, there is one very significant problem with this program that may affect many users: the project file cannot be saved easily as with Photo Story 3's .WP3 file. With Photoshop Elements' slide show too, you cannot begin working on a digital story on one computer, save the project file on a thumb drive or external hard drive and then transport it to another computer to continue working on the story.

However, if you are able to confine your work with Photoshop Elements to the same computer, such as a home desktop or laptop, this program may be a good choice for creating digital stories that contain video clips.



PhotoStage Slideshow Software

PhotoStage Slideshow Producer is available in both a home version that includes basic features and a pro version that offers added functionality. The program is a good choice for digital storytellers who liked liked the interface of Microsoft Photo Story 3, a popular tool for Windows which is no longer supported by Microsoft, and who are willing to pay for full-featured software.

PhotoStage Slideshow Producer contains many of the same features of Photo Story 3, but unlike PS3, PhotoStage Producer lets users add full-motion video clips and the software is available for both Windows and Mac..



Premiere Elements

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Premiere Elements video editing software from Adobe is a scaled-down version of the more expensive and more feature-filled Adobe Premiere, a a software application that is used by many digital video professionals. The Elements version of the program is filled with just about all of the features that digital storytellers could want, however, be aware that the learning curve for Premiere Elements can be greater than for many of the other applications that can be used to create digital stories. Premiere Elements is not free, although it often comes with the purchase of some digital video camcorders and discount pricing is available for students, teachers and staff at educational institutions through Adobe's online education store and other software resellers.

In addition, Adobe Premiere Elements and Adobe Photoshop Elements are often available in a packaged bundle at a discounted price that is less expensive than purchasing the two programs separately.



Windows Live Movie Maker

This version of Windows Movie Maker was released in 2011 and was designed to replace the earlier version, Windows Movie Maker 2.6.  Unlike Photo Story 3, which was designed for Windows XP but still works under newer Windows operating systems, Windows Live Movie Maker is only compatible with Windows Vista and Windows 7. 

Although many users of this program like its simple interface and the variety of features it offers, many users are frustrated that both the timeline and the ability to record audio narration, two key features for many digital storytellers, have been removed from this version of Movie Maker. It is for these reasons that many users still prefer to use Windows Movie Maker 2.6 instead of this more current version.



Windows Movie Maker

Windows Movie Maker is a video editing software application that has been included as part of the Windows operating system since 2000. This program is used by many educators and students because it is readily available and generally supported by school technology services. One limitation of Movie Maker is that it only outputs files in the AVI and WMV formats.

Windows Movie Maker 2.6 was released in 2007 but is still a good choice for Windows users who want to use a basic timeline-based video editing program.