How to Convert a JPEG to a Movie

By Christina Hamlett

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • Windows XP Movie Maker

  • Digital photo

  • Photo-editing software

If you ever made a flip book as a child in which a bouncing ball or a stick person seemed to "move" as you flipped through the pages, you're already primed to become an armchair film producer and transform JPEG images into a documentary or a short that you can share with your friends via email or YouTube. For the purposes of this article, you're going to use a single digital photo and manipulate it into a series of separate shots that will then be "stitched" together and enhanced with sound and music. Each of the steps listed applies to Windows XP Movie Maker (which may already be loaded on your computer if it's fairly new and is Windows-based). If you don't have it, you'll need to purchase a film software program; product suggestions are listed in the Tips portion.

Choose a horizontal image you want to use for your movie. Ideally this should be a long shot as opposed to a close-up. To demonstrate how this works, the accompanying images are of a building in New York. Using photo-editing software, the original color print was duplicated as a series of black and white images with varying degrees of saturation as well as a series of cropped color shots. These will be used for a spooky storyline that starts out during a thunderstorm in the 1950s, segues to the present-day, and then zooms in on a single window where the sound of typing can be heard.

Create a file folder for all of your versions of the JPEG image and number them so you can keep track of which ones you have used. You may want to use multiple times. Example: If you want to create the look of a lightning storm, you'd alternate back and forth between a dark image of the building and a near-white version of exactly the same shot.

Open Windows Movie Maker on your computer. In the list of tasks on the left side of the screen, click on "Pictures." This will take you to an import screen. Locate the file you have created of your JPEG images for this movie. Click on the first image you want to use in the sequence and drag it to the storyboard at the bottom of your screen. Repeat this for all of the images.

Select the "Edit" button in the left-hand task tool bar. Experiment with the different effects and transitions that will "stitch" your storyboard content together. You'll also notice that there is an option to insert your own title and credits in this tableau. The playback screen on the right side lets you view your masterpiece in progress as well as regulate the amount of time you want to elapse between individual frames.

Return to the Task toolbar and click on the audio/music button. This is where you'll import sound effects and music into your film. Just as you did with creating a storyboard, the audio/music button will let you open a directory where you keep your music. If you don't have a sound-effects library yet, there are lots of sources on the Internet, such as Partners in Rhyme and SoundSnap, that let you upload free noises.

Preview your film and make sure everything looks just the way you want it. If you want to rearrange anything or insert additional images, just repeat the instructions in Step 3 and add them to your storyboard.

Publish your finished product on your computer or to a multimedia CD-ROM. There's a button for this in the Task toolbar.


Software programs for making your own online movies are available for Windows and Mac computers. Some of the most user-friendly brands are Apple iMovie, Pinnacle Studio 12, Roxio, Muvee and Paint.Net. All of these also allow you to try-before-you-buy and employ the same principles as Windows Movie Maker for uploading images into a sequence.


If you're strictly making a movie for your own entertainment and that of your friends, you don't have to worry about copyright infringement. If, however, you're planning to sell this gem to the public, make sure you have permission to use someone else's material.