Archive for Sunday, August 29, 2010

Behind the Lens: Programs offer photographers a chance to create slideshows on the cheap

August 29, 2010


At the Journal-World’s online site we often have added content from photographers and videographers. Typically, this content takes the form of extra photographs in a photo gallery or audio and still image presentations in a video format.

Our photo staff uses a program called Final Cut Express to create these multimedia presentations. It works well, merging multiple photos together with audio from interviews or music. But FCE is primarily a video editing program, it’s fairly sophisticated, and it’ll set you back around $175.

Last week I poked around on the Internet and researched a few slideshow software applications that photo hobbyists can download for free. These programs can be a lot of fun for posting a group of vacation photos or other sets of images into a moving display set to music. Several enable you to post to sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Upgrades are available for a cost.

This week I take a peek at

After logging in, this simple program was fairly intuitive and easy to figure out. On the home page you’re presented with a blue “create new slideshow” window. You can choose to upload photos from your computer or sites like Facebook and Picasa. I selected several images from a folder on my computer and hit the “choose” button. The images upload in the same blue window, and each photo is shown as it loads. When the uploading is complete, a new page appears displaying your pictures in small boxes in a 5 over 6 row display. The free version limits you to 30 images per slide show. To create a slideshow order you simply drag and drop photos to different boxes. To delete images you drag them to another window on the right. A large NEXT arrow directs you to Step 2, where you title your slideshow, add captions if you want, set the pace for your slideshow and pick your music. The music selection is limited to 45 pieces, including random, instrumental and classical. You can also search YouTube for music.

After your slideshow is created you can share it with several social media sites or e-mail your masterpiece. You can also further edit or delete your work if you goofed up.

The only serious problem with the program is the automated effect that zooms in and out quickly on each photo during the slide show. I found no way to turn this off, and it can be pretty annoying and cheesy. But hey, it’s free. Beyond that it’s simple and quick. Three dollars a month more will get you unlimited photo uploads for your albums and slideshows and customized transition effects between photos. I would also assume you can kill the move/zoom effect.

Go to to see a sample slideshow with some demolition derby photos. I’ve made use of some of the program’s other interesting tricks that can either benefit or ruin your slide show. You be the judge.

In my next column I’ll try a fancy French and also free slideshow program with lots of extras, including hot-air balloons and cartoon animals.


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