A reader writes asking for advice on buying a camera. He specifically mentions the fact that he likes “converting photos and video into slideshows for my family.”
Any camera will produce the source images for a slideshow, but it so happens that we are engaged in this very process of slideshow creation when the email arrives and that got us fiddling with different ways of doing the job without using bought software.
By far the easiest way to share photos with family and friends is via Flickr, the amazingly generous service that gives you 1TB of free space for photo storing. Sending a link to a Flickr album is the easiest way to share a photo collection, and it is possible to make an automated slideshow for inclusion in a personal blog. Type “slideshow” into the Flickr search query box for the instructions.
With high definition televisions now ubiquitous it makes sense to make the slideshow in the form of a movie that can be saved to a USB memory stick or burned to a DVD. iPhoto on the Mac does this easily and well – and Windows Photo Gallery will do the same.
In iPhoto the starting point is to create a new Album and to populate it with the photos for the show. Click on the Album name and go File/New Slideshow.
Under Themes (on the bottom toolbar) there are varieties of appearance and transition options. At the top is the famous (infamous?) Ken Burns pan-and-zoom effect and down the bottom/right is the plain display-and-change image. The Music icon opens a box to choose either from presets, which are generally awful, or music of your own. Next to Music are settings for control of display time, transition effect and time, captions and aspect ratio. Check the effects as you go using the Preview button.
When the show is running as you want it hit the Export button and you get three choices for output, depending on the viewing device. For HD TV choose 1080. Or choose Share on the toolbar and select one of the options from the drop-down list. Easy!
Windows Photo Gallery works in much the same way as iPhoto except that there is no button for Slideshow. After selecting the photos for inclusion in the show from the pictures automatically loaded click on Create/Movie after which all the options of theme, transition (under animation), music, slide duration, titles and credits are available.
One word of warning about Photo Gallery: only the latest version gives the same output options as iPhoto. (download from tinyurl.com/m2xvc2l ) The important difference between the old and new versions is the ability to output a 1080 video in mpeg4-H.264 which will play on all devices.
THIS DEMONSTRATION SLIDESHOW WAS CREATED IN iPHOTO AND EXPORTED AS A 420 LINE VIDEO. WINDOWS PHOTO GALLERY, AS LONG AS THE LATEST VERSION IS USED, WILL OUTPUT THE SAME FINISHED SHOW.