How to Make a Great Slideshow

I have some experience making slideshow but most of it is from my college days. Back in the dark ages with slide projectors, dissolve units and cassette tape recorders. I loved the two classes I took. I’ve done a couple of quick slideshows in the past year but so far they have just been put in the photos and the music and let the software make all the decisions on timing and transitions. One of the things that I find most powerful about using a slideshow to tell a story is the merging of images and music. It can make a powerful impact if done right.

I found some good advice on squidoo for making great slideshows. You can read the full article here. But the basics are:

Key #1: Story

  • have a good story
  • avoid distracting transitions

Key #2: Timing

  • time transitions to the music
  • mix it up if you use zoom effects
  • sync the speed of the movement with the mood of the music

Key #3: Music

  • picking the right music for the emotions you want to invoke

The article on squidoo has a nice list of suggested music for the following topics:

  • Happy/nostalgic – any occasion
  • Sad/relief – funerals
  • Romantic – weddings & anniversaries
  • Intense/fast – Party, just for fun

Key #4: Audience

Always keep your audience in mind as you make your choices. It isn’t as important that you like the show as that your audience will relate to the show.DOABLE Sidebar D



90th Birthday Slide Show – complete

Yeah! I got the slide show done for my mom’s 90th birthday. I would have like to have played around with ProShow more but I did learn a bit more with this project. We had it playing in a loop during her party. Thank goodness that the music didn’t end up being too obnoxious. It helped that it was an instrumental without any lyrics. I hadn’t thought that through before hand, but I think I’ll do that again in a similar situation.

The slide show is about 10 minutes long.

By the way she loved the Mary Taylor book “My Grandma Mary”. We have a few tweaks to do before it will be available for general distribution.


90th Birthday Slide Show – in process

I’m working on a slide show for my mom’s 90th birthday. I love the power of images and music but I forget how long it takes to sort through 90 years of photos even when they are already scanned. I’m planning to put info like who is in each photo in the metadata but I haven’t gotten that done yet. If I had a simple search would have provided me with the photos I had to work with.

I decided to show the photos in reverse order, starting with the most recent and moving back in time. For a sound track I’m planning to use “Sentimental Journey”. I hope I don’t run into any major snags. Time is running short and the power company has a planned outage tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. I sure hope that the electricity isn’t off that long. I was so focused on the photos tonight that I was an hour late for a meeting. Opps! Hopefully I’ll have it finished by this time tomorrow.

I have to find more time in the future to do projects like this. Have you done any slide shows or videos? I’d love to see them if you are willing to share them.

50 for 50 #35 – Make a Slide Show

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug “I Know” slide show

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┬áDVD 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.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug “A Light on a Hill” slide show

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.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug “This Little Light of Mine” slide show

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.