Within the last year or so, photographers gained access to enough megapixels for prints as large as they need, archival color prints on glossy or matte paper, extraordinary B&W prints from inkjet printers, quality image management and image editing solutions, and remarkable online presentation capabilities. But what about slide shows?
I’ve been looking for tools to create streaming online videos, Flash photo galleries, digital proofing shows, DVD/CD shows, HD video, QuickTime movies, photo screensavers, email shows, iPod videos, cell-phone videos, and digitally projected slide shows to present, sell, and deliver photos. I want to be able to create a show once and output it in multiple formats quickly and easily and to be able to add quality sound with precise control. And I want to be able to pan and zoom in on images, select slide transitions, use masks, apply special effects—and have copy protection, automatic watermarking, and limited-time use on proofing CDs.
I am thrilled to say I’ve found a product that does it all: Photodex ProShow Producer 3.0. Following are some of the projects Producer has helped me create.
I was hired to photograph a surprise 80th birthday party for my client’s mother. The client requested a leather-bound photo album, one large print, two sets of 5x7 prints, and an online photo gallery where guests can place orders for their favorite photos.
The birthday lady is a former schoolteacher many of the guests had taught with. We recorded interviews with 15 guests, each one sharing a special moment with the birthday lady. A few extra photos of the interviewees were all we needed to create a DVD that my client and her mother liked more than the album! The 25-minute show included everything from the “surprise!” to the food, venue, guests, and interviews, ending with scrolling names of the party organizers and attendees.
Digitally Projected Slide Shows
For a recent nature photographer’s workshop, I created a slide show featuring pelicans, herons, and sandhill cranes. I used a field sound recorder to capture sounds, which were added to the slides with music. With ProShow Producer’s panning and zooming feature, the viewers felt like they were up flying with the herons and walking with the pelicans. The Capture Frames feature helped me output JPEG files of each slide, from which I created a PDF with notes, available to attendees as a download on my website. I saved the show as a podcast.
Sales Tool for Commercial Client
After photographing 15 customer ponds for an outdoor pond design-and-construction client, I made large, high-quality prints for the print portfolio box they requested. While this made a wonderful sales tool for prospective clients they visited, it had no value for those they didn’t meet. I proposed that we create a DVD show featuring those same images, plus more content, to mail to prospective customers.
When the DVD show was finished, I charged the client extra money for an online Flash version. I learned that when they exhibited at a garden show, they played the show continuously on a flat-panel screen running on a laptop computer. The show paid for itself plus the cost of the booth by the sales it helped generate.
Sales Tool for Portrait Studio
Portrait photographers use different strategies to encourage customers to buy more photos and make their selections quickly. With ProShow Producer, you can create a show with music to display in your studio or to send to prospective customers. You can use the program to create limited-time proofing CDs, publish the same shows to your website, or make them available on a free hosting site, including one offered by Photodex.
How easy is it to create a ProShow Producer show? If you are organized and you have a plan, it’s easy. The best approach is to select your image and sound files and put them in a folder, numbered in the order you want them displayed. After opening the images folder in ProShow Producer, select the ones you want, click and drag them onto the filmstrip, and your show is ready to play. Default settings of slide timing and transitions get you going instantly.
Background music and voice-overs get added just as easily. Click on a sound file in the file window and drag it onto the filmstrip to get a graphic view of the sound. Or record directly into ProShow Producer. A vast number of features make it simple to get perfect synchronization between background sound and voice-overs and the visual presentation. You can adjust volume and timing, precisely adjust fade in and fade out, or automatically sync the entire show to the length of a background sound file.
If Ken Burns–style panning and zooming effects are your thing, you can create your effects by clicking on a slide and choosing the Motion dialog box shown below. Other slide options include: layers, image editing, effects, captions, caption motion, sounds, and backgrounds.
One of the best parts about ProShow Producer is that it allows you to create a show once and then output it in different formats, so you can charge extra for each output format. Just choose the output format, then use the default settings or change them to meet your requirements.
We live and work in a world of extremes, and we want to present our work that way, too. ProShow Producer is the tool to get your work out there as you want it to be.
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