Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Digital Slideshows Made Easy: Computer Slideshows
The old slideshow with music and titles has been reborn in the computer—it’s easier and faster to create with more possibilities
Most programs allow you to click and drag desired images into a "slideshow list." With the program I'm using (Photodex ProShow Gold), I can view five frames at a time. The software also allows you to set the transition time between images. Here, you have far more time options than are found on any dissolve unit. You can have very quick changes among a group of images to fit an interesting passage of music, then change to a slower pace in another section.
An added benefit is the choice of a vast number of transition effects: fades, distortions, wipes, shapes, pushes, etc. ProShow Gold, for example, has more than 170 different transition effects! I'll likely never use many of these special effects transitions, but it's wonderful having so many different options from which to choose.
Since I'm a newcomer to the world of digital photography, my biggest challenge was scanning slides I wanted for the show (digital camera images are much simpler to work with, obviously). As I worked on the show, a preview option allowed me to see how the images would look in transition with one another. As I moved through production of the program, I could see how images flowed and easily switch the order of photos whenever I felt a change was desirable. Changes are just drag-and-drop to new locations.
After creating a good visual flow with my photos, I then had to find an appropriate piece of music to use with the show. This requires making a digital file of the song. If you're doing this strictly for friends and family, you can record a song from a CD placed in your CD drive. If you're doing any shows "for hire" (where people pay money for it), you must use royalty-free music (there's a lot available on the Internet; just type "royalty-free music" in Google or another search engine).
In the past, the most difficult part of putting a slideshow together was making my slides and music begin and end at the proper time. This process could literally take hours. That's no longer the case. You actually can sync the music with one click! There may well be times when you'll want to sync the music manually for dramatic effect, but the automatic sync feature is an incredible tool.
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