So this week I finally got around to making a slide show. Back in college I took a class on putting together slide shows, but that was the old-fashioned way with multiple slide projectors and fancy dissolve units and a special cassette tape player to record the syncing of the music and the timing of the slide changes. I totally loved that class. The power of images and music together was awesome.
I intended to use Photostory recommended by Stephanie. Remember her “Raising Skyler” video? When I looked at the details of Photostory it didn’t look like to would work for my needs. The slide show I need to put together was going to be show to a group of girls and their parents at our girls camp awards night. And the reviews of Photostory said you couldn’t save it in a high res or burn it to a DVD. The plan was to show it using a DVD player and a television. So I had to pick another program. My research didn’t give me an obvious favorite. But I settled on ProShow Gold. They had a free two-week trial, so I thought I could make the slide shows and then decided if I wanted to buy the software.
I tried it out and it seemed pretty easy. The one problem that I didn’t realize with the trial was that it put a big banner across the bottom of the screen. There was no way I could have that “trial” banner in my finished slide show. I figured this all out the middle of the week and the deadline was Sunday. I didn’t have time to start over with new software. So I went ahead and paid the $69 for the software.
The hardest part of putting the slide shows together was sorting through the photos to find the best ones. I actually did three slide shows. I had selected three songs that focused on three different things to do with camp. One was focused on the beauty of nature with the song “I Know” by Jenny Phillips. The second was another song by Jenny Phillips called “A Light on a Hill”. This song was the inspiration for our camp theme and I wanted it to focus on the girls and how they were an example to others. Both these songs are on her “Arise and Shine Forth” album. The last song “This Little Light of Mine” by The Lower Lights, was our actual theme song at camp. We sang it every day with verses that the girls made up. This show was all about the fun of being at girls camp.
I didn’t have time or the knowledge to really customize each slide show. I just picked out the photos, got them into a rough order and let ProShow do the rest. I let it pick the timing and the transitions. After it synced everything together I went back and adjusted the order of the photos to work with the words better. The software crashed on me multiple times, which was frustration. It did a pretty good job of recovering where I was at but it took a long time to get things back up and running after each crash. By the time I got the last slide show together it was after 5 a.m. Sunday morning. I was exhausted of course.
I got a couple of hours of sleep and then between choir practice and church I worked on figuring out how to get the slide shows onto a DVD. Well that didn’t work. I don’t know why but I could get it to even begin to cut a DVD. So I had to go to plan two. I exported each show as an mov file. This worked fine but it was a very slow process. (My computer isn’t very fast). So by the time I got all three slide shows saved as mov files I needed to go set up for the awards night. There was no more time to experiment in trying to get the slides shows on to a TV. So I just took my laptop and played them on that. Since the screen isn’t big enough to show to a whole room of people we played the slide shows before the meeting started and during the refreshments afterward.
Now I’m uploading them to the internet so that the girls can download them and have their own copies to enjoy. It was a good learning experience and I can’t wait to do another one. This time with the time to really learn how to control things and not just slap the thing together. ProShow really did a pretty good job but I’d like to see how much more it can do. Hopefully the crashing won’t be too much of a problem because I’d love to put together many more slide shows and I really don’t want to buy another piece of software.
What software have you used for putting together slide shows? I’d love to learn from your experience.