Community Newsletter: Q&A forum: Need advice to make a quality slide show of my trip

by: Lee Koo (ADMIN) March 16, 2007 1:33 PM PDT

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Need advice to make a quality slide show of my trip

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) ModeratorCNET staff - 3/16/07 1:33 PM

Question:

My wife and I took our "trip of a lifetime" to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji--and brought home hundreds of digital photos. We want to make a top-quality slide show of these, featuring music, captions, dissolves, and fades. Can this be done by PowerPoint or should we buy special software? I have an OEM of Nero but haven't learned how to use it. Would this be useable for our purposes? Please guide us into what is needed for making DVDs of these treasured photos.

--Submitted by Chuck C. of Tallahassee, Florida


Answer voted most helpful by our members:

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.

Linda

--Submitted by Linda (CNET member Spinach)

If you have additional advice or recommendations for Chuck, please click the "Reply" link and offer it up.

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