DVD and More
That’s not all. For the ultimate in slide show processing, you can’t beat making a DVD. Most video-editing packages include a way to make a slide show out of still images, but our favorite is $50 MyDVD 5 from Sonic. MyDVD is a very simple video-editing program that has a complete slide show wizard built in. Just start the wizard, and it steps you through the process of picking photos, adding a soundtrack, and saving your project to DVD. (You’ll need a DVD writer installed on your PC, of course.)
Or try Ulead‘s superb DVD PictureShow 2. It’s a dedicated tool for copying pictures onto CD or DVD, complete with professional-looking titles, captions, transitions, and soundtracks. You don’t need to know anything about video editing with either program to make very sharp-looking DVD slide shows.
Once you make a slide show on DVD, you might want to make copies for friends and family. You can read about copying DVDs in “Digital Focus: Making and Copying Your Own DVD Videos.”
Don’t want to put your slide shows on DVD? Well, there are simpler solutions. The $50 ACDSee 6 is a popular photo organizer and image editor, and it has its own slide show generator built in. The great thing about ACDSee, though, is its power: Unlike the basic slide show generator in Windows XP, ACDSee lets you add text, a soundtrack, and even transitions between the images.
You could also try Photodex‘s ProShow Gold, a $60 program that lets you make slide shows that you can distribute through CD or e-mail, or play on television.
And finally, Microsoft Plus Digital Media Edition is an inexpensive add-on for Windows XP that comes with a program called Photo Story 2. The $20 program uses the same sort of filmstrip system for adding images as PhotonShow, lets you add a musical soundtrack, and even has a tool for adding narration to your slide show (you’ll need to connect a microphone to the PC). But the coolest feature is the way it lets you zoom in and pan around your images as you narrate–just the way professional documentaries animate still images to emphasize certain elements while a narrator speaks.