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Hello Chuck C
First, to make DVDs of your photos, you will need photo slideshow software. This software may have come packaged with your camera. You will also need Video editing software; if your OEM Nero has Nero Vision with it, it will work for the video editing software requirement.
There is an excellent set of instructions and a tutorial on Microsoft's site that will walk you through the process. The link to that site is: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/powerpoint/HA100597371033.aspx?pid=CL100626991033#Video. The instructions, naturally, focus on PowerPoint and Microsoft products, but it gives instruction as to what is needed to make it possible to transition your slide show in PowerPoint to a video presentation. It also provides information on two free Microsoft products that can be used to create your DVD Photo Story 3 and Movie Maker (both for Windows XP). The links to these products are in the article. I would suggest that if your end goal is a DVD that you check these instructions out first. You can then build your slide show in such a way that it can be turned into a DVD with fewer frustrations on your part!
You don't indicate whether you have Nero Vision or the light version of Nero PhotoShow Express so I will just cover what I have found using these products. Nero Vision would make a good vehicle to convert your slide show to a video DVD presentation. Once you have your story board laid out, you can drag you photos to the film reel and apply transitions, sounds, etc. As to the photo editing software, I think you would be better off working with either your camera software or Photo Story 3 as I have found PhotoShow Express to be very limited on what can be done with it. PhotoShow Express seems to be designed more for quick, down-and-dirty presentations rather than sophisticated presentations.
I would recommend first building a slide show in PowerPoint, as you can build a stunning presentation in this product, share that with your friends and family through e-mail and the internet, and also use it as the foundation for your video DVD. With PowerPoint, you can put together a slide show that is quite professional in appearance, using transitions, sound, and effects for either individual slides or groups of slides. PowerPoint makes it very easy for you to lay out your pictures and manipulate them as needed in order to create the mood and follow the theme you have established.
Using either the Outline or the Slides view, you can visually lay out your slides and move them by simply click-hold-drag. In Outline view, you add your text, headlines, and other textual features while viewing the results in the viewing pane. In Slides view, you see a large view of the current slide, while seeing thumbnail views of your slides to the left of the viewing pane. This gives you a clear feel for your visual transitions and what your actual slide looks like with text and other effects. Finally, you can view up to 20-25 slides in the Slide Sorter view. What I like about this view is this: you can see the progression of your slides, and easily move them around if you find you need to make a change. It is also in this view that you can set, view and change transitions, animation schemes, and timings. This view is like a story board view, so it would be an easy transition for you to create your slide show for viewing in PowerPoint, and then use it to break your show up into the individual elements needed to convert to video DVD.
Depending on the version of PowerPoint that you have, you can apply a wide variety of transitions between each slide or groups of slides, you can record your own narrations for each slide, and you can control the timing so you can keep the sound and slide coordinated. To clarify this, early versions of PowerPoint allowed you to do all of the above; they just do not provide the variety of features that PowerPoint 2003 has. Also, by building a slide show in PowerPoint and adding your timing, sound effects, music and narration you will have your sound recordings, etc timed and noted for when you are ready to convert into video DVD.
PowerPoint 2003 added a strong line-up of what is termed "Animation", which is a fancy way of saying "slide transition". This feature offers themes ranging from subtle transition schemes such as "Faded wipe" to what is termed "Exciting", such as "Boomerang and exit". The "Faded wipe" brings your picture in, and any headings or text you have on the slide then fade in from the left until all text is displayed. In contrast, the "Boomerang and exit" has the slide popping into place on the slide, and then the text flies in from the right, boomerangs across the screen right to left to right again, finally "parking" on the slide exactly where you placed it. Quite exciting, actually to see this! The advantage to this is you can apply individual schemes that fit the "mood" of your picture.
You are not limited, however, to using Animation Schemes that someone else thought up. You can select individual slides and apply animations from the Slide Transition feature. PowerPoint offers the traditional "Dissolve" - one of my favorites, where your picture appears to digitize then come together as a whole - to "Wheel Clockwise, 8 Spokes". Let your creativity know no bounds!
You can insert sound files for a slide or group of slides, and you also have the option of creating a custom CD using music pieces that again enhance the mood and theme of your slide show. You can then set the timings to match the music, and play the CD at the same time the slide show is running. And all of this is controlled through features in PowerPoint.
To aid in making your sound as manageable and professional as possible, you can download a free add-in to PowerPoint, PFCExpress, to use in your sound management. The link to this file is http://www.pfcmedia.com/PFCExpressDownload.htm. Naturally, you can purchase their more robust products, but I would suggest you work with PowerPoint, keeping in mind that there are add-ins designed to help with problems you may run into.
I hope this information helps you.
And finally, thanks for the question! It got me so enthused that I am ready to work on my own project (which I have been putting off for some time now!).
Good luck and have fun with your project.
Submitted by: Spinach
There are so many slide show making software titles out there it would make your head spin. Some of my very first digital slide shows were produced using PowerPoint and Corel Presentation and it is doable, however, it may not be the ideal solution for you. One main factor is deciding what you want to do with the finished slide show:
Road Show- If you are planning to give a talk about your trip at the local senior center, then PowerPoint may be the way to go, mainly because of the control that you have over the show during playback. You also have more control over inserting text, bullets and printing out handouts.
Narration If you need to add your own narration to the slide show, PowerPoint has some neat features to automate this task.
Text If you need to add a lot of text, Graphs and bullet lists, then PowerPoint is probably your best choice. You can add text with most all of the packages but usually not with the same control that PowerPoint offers.
Music You can insert music with many of the software packages, however some software titles make it very easy to edit, cut and fade music to match the slide show. PowerPoint is not very good with music.
DVD output - If you are just planning on sending your show out to family and friends or just want it for your own personal enjoyment, PowerPoint can be more difficult to output to DVD and generally takes longer to produce your show. I would check out some of the other packages specifically designed for Slide Shows.
My Personal Choice - I have tried several slide show producing packages, and to date have not found the ideal one (and probably never will). Each one has some great capabilities, one of my favorite features is being able to add some motion by zooming and panning a photo. This can really spice up a long, boring string of still photographs. One of my personal favorites for about $30 is currently Magix Photostory on CD or DVD 5. I have been using it for several years now and have found that it has most all of the features I want, is easy to use and seems to work without a lot of problems. But this is totally a matter of personal preference and I am sure there will be dozens of other great suggestions here in this forum. A lot of it is based on what you are most familiar with and if you are currently a very proficient PowerPoint user, you may find that is the easiest way to go. I am not sure about your exact version of Nero and what it may come with for creating slide shows.
Demo/Trial You can download free trial versions from most every software company. I would suggest that you try a few to get an idea of how they work and to help you determine which features are most important to you. You can also go to Download.com and simply search for Slide show software and try one or two.
Word of Caution Regardless of which software product you decide to use, I can not stress enough the importance of running a short test before sitting down and spending countless hours, days or weeks creating a slide show only to find out that it will not play in your specific DVD player. Not all DVD players, Blank DVDs or Programs are created equal and it is not uncommon to run into problems getting your slide show to play in some DVD players. Create a short 5 or 10 photo show, add some music, use some of the features you like, burn it to a DVD and then try it in every player you plan to use.
Submitted by: waytron
PowerPoint is a very flexible program and as such, it does require advance knowledge and patience in taking advantage of all its available features. I have created such a PowerPoint slide show using everything that you mentioned (and more). To see several examples, go to Google Video and search for "Student Ambassadors". You will see 3 slide shows that I have created using PowerPoint 2003. Or just click on this direct link: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1998580462724659844&q=student+ambassadors
One of the major weaknesses of PowerPoint is that it can only have 1 audio track at a time so it is impossible to have a continuous music track with simultaneous sound effects. The other problem is that PowerPoint will stop audio whenever you switch slides. To avoid that problem, I discovered that by converting music into ".wav" files and inserting them into slide transitions, the music will play continuously through multiple slides.
Setting the timing for all your pictures, text, and music is very critical and time consuming. You will need to set everything on an automatic time sequence so there is no need to click the mouse to advance a slide. I also put in any where from 1-100 pictures on one slide that are layered on top of each other so keeping each picture in perfect order takes some advanced planning.
Once your slideshow is complete, the next step is to convert it into a video file. My computer is setup with a video out port and I can directly record anything on my computer screen to a DVR (digital video recorder). Once the file is in digital format, you will need to use a program such a Nero to convert it into a DVD.
One of the biggest advantages in using PowerPoint is that you will have complete customization of your slideshow and the final product is something many can enjoy for years to come. Unfortunately, PowerPoint by itself is not enough. My suggestion is that you will need the following to create what you want:
1. Software to convert music into .wav format
2. Software to edit .wav files (fade in, fade out, crop, etc.)
3. (Optional) Software to edit video files if you want to include those
4. (Optional) Software to edit custom picture files and clipart
5. Software (and maybe hardware) to convert PowerPoint slideshows into a video file.
6. Software to convert video into a DVD
Well, I hope that gives you an idea what needs to be done but I think in the end, you can be very proud what you accomplish and your memories will be preserved for all to enjoy.
Submitted by: jimxenus
Chuck, PowerPoint will certainly do what you want, but it will be very labor intensive. Specifically, every single photo will have to be imported, one by one by one. If you want any motion, each photo will have to be animated, one by one by one.
I'd recommend a different program, that is designed to wo exactly what yoou want: make a folder containing all the photos you've selected for your show, and you're almost finished, instead of just getting started. Literally, point the program at the folder, select all, drag to the slideshow window, and while all slides are still all selected, set duration (I recommend 4 seconds as a starting point), select a different duration for the transition (I recommend 1 second), and hit play. That's it!
You can make it fancier if you want: make each photo zoom, rotate, add music, add captions, "vignette" the edges (make them soft), make each photo "float" over a background, but you don't have to.
When you're done, you can make your show into a dvd, a video cd, a screensaver, or an executable that you just double-click on, and it plays.
The program is by Photodex, and is called ProShow (don't let that word "Pro" scare you...) It comes in three levels, from $49 to $249, although the basic one will do most of what I described above.
It can be examined, and purchased, on-line, at http://www.photodex.com/
Important: I am not an owner, employee, or investor in Photodex, I'm just a happy user.
Submitted by: Gyorgi
There are a number of options for this. Powerpoint will do the trick if you want to email your pics in small batches to your friends and family. Powerpoint is great for creating presentations that can be played on a PC or Mac but not quite the right tool for the job if you want to make a keepsake DVD slide show.
For this kind of job, you need something a bit more specialized. My personal favorite is ProShow from Photodex.com. This is an application that's specifically designed to create slideshows that can be burned to a CD or DVD or any other common media output. The beauty of this program is the interface. You drag and drop your photos into the photo timeline, drag and drop music files into the music channel and tell ProShow to space the time the photos are displayed so they match the length of the music track. Additionally, you can insert any of 280+ transition effects between the slides - including one that randomizes the transitions.
You can preview your slideshow when you're done and then you can save it any number of formats - VCD, DVD, or create emailable files, Flash animations or even make custom screensavers.
The only catch is the Pro version is $70. But it's worth the investment. I've used it on high school reunion DVDs and it came out pretty slick. Visit www.photodex.com for more information.
Submitted by: Wolfie2k5
There are many tools available for turning your holiday pics into a slideshow, but Powerpoint would probably be the most difficult and cumbersome to use. This is not its main purpose, it is for presentations not for holiday photo slideshows.
What you do use will depend on 2 things, what software you already have and your skill level in using them. Most photo editing software such as Photoshop already have automated ways of turning your photos into slideshows so if you are already comfortable and have such software available then that would be the way to go.
On the other hand if you are not comfortable or do not have photo editing software then Microsoft have some free and easy to use tools of their own. The first one is to use Windows MovieMaker which already comes with Windows XP and can be found in the Entertainment start menu item from Accessories. It can be confusing initially to learn but there are many tutorial sites on the net, just do a search for moviemaker tutorials. It can be very flexible, and will work with pictures, video and sound.
Another free program is Photostory, also from Microsoft. It is built specifically for the purpose you describe and has a step by step way of creating your slideshow. If you are new to this it will probably be your easiest way to do a fancy photo slideshow and then you can graduate to moviemaker when you are ready, and then after that you may go to Adobe Premiere or some other video editing software, but lets not get ahead of ourselves
http://www.windowsphotostory.com/ (there are many more)
Afterwards you can then use Nero to create the DVD from the video you create.
I myself went from Moviemaker for my daughters 21st this is your life movie, to Adobe Premiere Elements for my sons. It gets addictive.
Submitted by: MichaelF
I've traveled that part of the world, and I can imagine the amazing pictures you want to not only save but treasure. I also work a lot with Power Point, and I am almost positive that this would not be the software application for your purposes. If you wanted to hook your computer to a projector and show a slide show, Power Point might be suitable, but there are far better programs for creating slide-show DVDs.
There are some free applications that should work for you. One of them is Windows Movie Maker, which allows you to do some basic photo editing like adding picture effects and captions. You then can drag and drop your pics to the storyboard, add transitions like fades, wipes, and dissolves. Best of all, you can add voice-overs and music, and even do some basic mixing of the voice and music balance. Avid Free DV also can do all the things Movie Maker can and then some, but it considerably less intuitive than Movie Maker. The only downside is you will have to have another software program to burn the finished product to a DVD when you're done. I use Sonic, which came with my computer.
I took a quick look at Nero, and it appears to be an all-in-one package that can do all of those things in one: you should be able to create your slide show, possibly add some effects, and burn to DVD all in one program. Which is great if you don't already have a system of how to make a disc (if you did, you wouldn't be writing here). Since Windows Movie Maker and Avid Free DV are both free, it wouldn't hurt downloading them and giving them a try, but I would try Nero first.
One final thing to consider is some sort of photo editing software. Are those pictures in final form before you start adding captions and putting them in slide shows, or do you need to scrub out some redeye, crop and zoom, and maybe do some more creative work? Depending on which version of Nero you have, you may even be able to accomplish this within that program. At any rate, try Nero first--that program looks like it should meet your needs.
Submitted by: jskrenes