Home How-To Sharing Digital Slideshows Made Easy: Computer Slideshows
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

Yet another wonderful benefit of the computer-generated slideshow is the ability to add captions or titles to your images. In the past, I used reversal film to make title slides for my shows, a complicated and expensive process. Now, I can easily insert text anywhere I choose. A myriad of fonts and text sizes may be used. This option opens the door for doing a greater variety of slideshows.

There are new options for playing these shows back, too. My program allows me to make an autorun CD that will automatically play when inserted into a computer. I also can create an MPEG video file that can be viewed on any computer with video playback software, or create a VCD or DVD that can be played back on a TV using a compatible DVD player. A more common "slideshow device" is now the laptop. People travel with laptops all the time, and it's not uncommon for someone to transition from business traveler to proud parent showing off a little slideshow of the kids. These options, along with the ability to e-mail or post the slideshow online, allow you to share your show with an infinite number of people without having to set up a projector, sound system and screen.

However, a slideshow can be projected in the more traditional way, using an LCD projector with a computer or laptop (again, a lot simpler than the old way). I was amazed at how good the first slideshow I produced looked on screen, especially since I had chosen a rather low 640x480 resolution and the projector I was using allowed for twice that resolution.

One drawback with computer-generated slideshows is that the transition between horizontal and vertical images can be more distracting. Whereas the horizontal images will fill the frame of a computer or television set, a vertical image will not. In the past, I've used a combination of vertical and horizontal slides in my programs. In the future, I'll look to do more programs limited to one or the other format.

As with any good slide program, it's still important to look for images that work well in transition with one another. Here, colors, shapes, mood or themes might dictate what image will look best next to another. Choosing music that works well with your images also remains a critical element in slideshow production. I typically work as hard on finding music that "fits" as I do on finding the right images for the show.



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