Whether lecturing at a seminar or selling to a prospective client, the need for an impressive means of presentation has always been great. I remember fondly endless hours spent sorting slides, putting them into trays, recording sound tracks, and synching two projectors and the soundtrack together through a dissolve unit. All for a 10-minute slide show.
When we entered the digital age, a whole new world opened up to us. With images digitized already, we just had to find a means of presenting. ProShow Producer, by Photodex Corp., like its little brother, ProShow Gold, is a powerful piece of software that lets you create presentations in minutes. And thanks to the huge array of controls available to you, you can customize your presentations to make them go from “cool” to “WOW!”
I fell in love with ProShow Gold because of the ease with which I could create shows—literally drag and drop images and soundtracks into the interface, apply custom transitions, or let the software apply random transitions—creating self-running shows on computer. The software’s versatility allows you to further create video CDs or DVDs, share them on the Internet, or email them. Where ProShow Gold left off, ProShow Producer takes slide shows even further.
Producer was definitely created for pros and caters to their needs in many ways. First, there’s an intuitive screen, that’s divided into light table, slide layout, soundtrack, and preview areas. You can drag slides from the light table or from an open folder into the slide layout. The coolest thing about the light table is it lets you know which images were used, so you don’t have to worry about accidental duplication. Producer supports over 100 file types, including RAW files from many pro DSLRs, and video clips.
The slide layout shows a timeline of the show and the transitions between slides, so you can see how your show is shaping up at a glance. Below the slide layout is the soundtrack area. Again, you drag sound files right to the soundtrack area. Best of all, you can sync the soundtrack to the show, so the music doesn’t end before the slides, or vice versa.
A feature Producer adds is the ability to sync groups of slides to a specific track of audio. With the built-in audio management features, you can actually edit the music within the program, for that “professionally mixed” soundtrack. All without leaving the program.
Producer allows almost unlimited creativity—with 280 custom transition effects, motion effects, panning, zooming and rotating of images and over 90 animated caption effects. Another new time-saving feature is the ability to add layers to slides. You can layer multiple images together right in Producer. A watermark can also be placed into the shows to protect copyrighted images.
Producer also comes complete with tools to help you manage your workflow and simplify the creation process even more. You have unlimited undo and redo, real-time full-screen previews, automatic backups to keep work safe, templates to allow you to create beautiful shows quickly, manual show control for presentations, and the ability to collect show files into one folder for archiving or moving to another computer. Finally, Producer is color-profile savvy, so you can be assured of color accuracy on different displays.
Producer’s output capabilities, in my opinion, are amazing. You can create professional-looking slideshows, and the best part is Producer allows you to personalize your output and apply “branding” to your shows. Gone are the days of seeing a splash screen with the name of the software manufacturer before your show starts. Producer lets you replace its name with your studio’s name on the installer screen, as well as brand the show with your logo!
Another feature lets you set a time limit on the CDs. Your customers receive a show to view, and when it “expires” you can give them the option of purchasing the show. It’s also great for encouraging customers to come back with orders. I’ve found that as soon as a customer finds they no longer have access to their images, they decide it’s time to come and order their pictures. You can also limit who can view a show by locking it with a password. Best of all, your original files are not part of the show, so don’t worry about anybody capturing or stealing your images. Photodex now has the ability to copy protect auto-run CDs against unauthorized copying, and against screen grabbing while viewing an .exe format show.
I’ve been using ProShow Producer for several months now. I’m amazed at how I’m still discovering features every time I use it, yet I was able to create great shows from the moment I installed the software. There’s a lot to learn, but the learning curve is not that steep and you don’t have to know everything to use it.
The profit potential of this software makes it invaluable. Imagine taking files from customer orders and, in five minutes, creating a show with musical soundtrack that will impress your customers. Shoot a wedding and show the guests a presentation of images from the ceremony before dinner is served. Talk about leaving a lasting impression! After years of looking for the ultimate presentation software, I think I can finally say my search is over!
For more on ProShow Producer by photodex, visit www.photodex.com