If you’re like most photographers, you have thousands of digital images on your hard drive. And that’s where they stay. You might print a few of the best images or gather your friends and family around your computer to watch as you click through the images. They’d probably rather do something else like watch a movie. But, what if your photos were a movie?
I’ve been using ProShow Gold for years now to make elaborate movie-like productions for my photo club and simpler shows for quick viewing of my travels. The latest version, ProShow Gold 4, is a big step forward for this one-of-a-kind slide show creation software.
A quick show with music can be created in a few minutes, then burned to a DVD (Hi-Def or standard definition) so you can watch it on your TV in the comfort of your living room instead of crowding around the laptop. But your shows will really shine if you take the time to customize them using techniques similar to those shown in the video here.
I’ll be writing a few articles about ProShow Gold, but for now I want to go over a few major points. This is the same kind of information I cover in my ProShow Gold workshops and personal tutoring.
A good slide show is more like a movie than a photograph. Besides showing off your photos, your goal should be to entertain your audience. To find direction in your movie-making efforts, consider these points:
What is the purpose of your show?
If you’re making a travelogue of your recent trip, you can fill the screen with your images. Pan and zoom them just like you’d see in a Ken Burns documentary. Add some humorous music or odd rotations to get a laugh. The subject matter takes precedence over art.
On the other hand, when you’re showing off your photography portfolio, you’ll probably want to be a bit more serious and show the entire image from edge-to-edge. You’ll want your audience to view the whole photo so that they can see your artistic and technical skills. In this case, you want to showcase your photographic skill. The subject matter takes a back seat.
Who Is Your Audience?
Keep the audience in mind. Keep them interested. An audience of fellow photographers will probably look at your show differently than a group of family and friends.
What kind of music should you use?
Music is important. It sets the tone for your show. When I create a show, I start with the music. I prefer instrumental music for most shows. Prominent vocals seem to get in the way. A good source of free music is freeplaymusic.com. Their music is free for personal use and can be licensed for commercial use.
Pacing Your Show
Imagine watching a movie where every scene was the exact same length. It might get a bit monotonous. You’ll want to vary the duration of the slides in your show. You might show some for 8 seconds while others rush by at one second apiece. Varying the pacing of your show adds interest. Another good pacing device is to show multiple images at once. Using layers and ProShow Gold 4′s new slide styles, you can add a lot of pizazz to your show.
There are plenty of other creative decisions to be made while you assemble your show. You’re the director — the success of your show is in your hands.
What’s New in ProShow Gold 4
If you’re currently using ProShow Gold 3 or an older version, here are a few reasons to upgrade to version 4:
- New interface. It will take a bit of getting used to. Many of the buttons have been moved. But the look of the new interface is cleaner and a bit more intuitive than version 3.
- Improved audio editing. It’s easier to adjust your music to fit your show.
- Export video directly to YouTube.
- Slide Styles. These are templates that create complex motion effects with just a few clicks. You can create and save your own slide style templates in addition to using those provided. If you like to use motion in your slide shows, slide styles are a great excuse to pay for an upgrade to version 4.
Here are a few snippets of some of the advanced techniques I’ve developed in ProShow Gold. ProShow Producer makes some of these techniques easier but at a far higher price. So, I’m still using ProShow Gold.
Updated February, 2010
A new book is now available that was written specifically for ProShow Gold 4. Check it out by clicking the link:
Another brand new book that hasn’t even been released yet is available for pre-order here:
Photodex also has some nice tutorial videos on their website at photodex.com.
Read the other articles in this series on ProShow Gold 4: