First Do No Harm

ProShow Producer

This is probably the best presentation software ever created. While most ďslide showĒ programs handle hundreds of transitions and effects, ProShow Producer allows the user to insert video, create multiple keyframes, and turn your photos into works of art with image enhancement techniques found only in photo-editing software.

ProShow Producer puts YOU in charge of the production. If you want it, all you have to do is create it. Everything is in the control of the user. Your limits are your imagination.

One enormous plus to the software is the number of templates supplied for some really nifty custom effects. You can even purchase more templates or you can create your own.

There are literally hundreds of transitions and effects, and you have complete control sizing and placement with exactness. You get to view your show a piece at a time before moving on, and if you need one slide to pick up exactly where the last left off, thatís as easy as a click of the mouse.

Personally, I donít like using more than just a few transitions and effects in a show. I feel that too many different effects in a slide show detract from the photos. Our MTV mentalities have forced upon us quick transitions and constant movement, but you don't need this if your photos want to speak for themselves.

Youíll find shows all over the web where a simple photo is not presented simply, but is in constant movement; every translation results in a photo moving toward the viewer from different angles.

Your show is totally up to you; simple is the best, with a little glitz thrown in as a slight break in stride.

Open the program and youíll quickly see a very intuitive arrangement of the programs parts on your screen. The top left is your directory: below are thumbnails of the photos in that directory; to the right is your preview screen; and on the bottom is your time line where your slides and videos will go.

Now you can start a project or a show. Personally, Iíve never created a project. A project consists of many shows and a menu. I create shows and then put them together with a different program. However, ProShow Producer is HD ready. If you have drives that write BlueRay disks, youíve got everything you need in one program to created hours and hours of slide shows all connected to menus and playable in HD.

The display is very intuitive. All the menus are at the top, as with most programs. Then you've got icons to assist you. Below that you've got your folder list, thumbnails from the chosen folder, and to the right is the slide you've chosen. Below is the timeline. Each slide has it's time below it (3.0 seconds) and to the right is the transition and time (3.0 seconds). The soundtrack is below this, but right now it's empty. In addition to a sound track, every slide can have its own soundtrack, and the main soundtrack will soften its volume when the soundtrack assigned to the slide kicks in. When you click on a slide, it will show up in the preview window.

There is a slide above the second slide in the timeline. This means that when you click Play, your show will start there and return to there (used for testing).

The only question you should have at this point is: What do I want to create?

How you create your project is up to you. You can take every picture in your folder, highlight them all by clicking on the first, holding the shift key and clicking on the last and then drag them to the timeline. Youíll automatically get the default timing for each slide; a three second view of each slide with a three second transition―unless you change it.

My favorite transition is a crossfade blend. One slide blends into the next.

However, if you want to change the transition, you can change it for just one slide, for a group of slides, or for all slides.

Again, the program is so intuitive, most of you would know how to do this in just a few keystrokes.

You can choose the slides to make changes on by clicking on them individually with the Control key held down (weíre talking PCs hereÖ.you Mac users will have to translate these keys on your own) click on the slides you want to change. To chose a group (or all) go to the first and click on it, then go to the last (in the group) and hold the shift key while clicking on that slide. All those youíve chosen will now be highlighted, and any change you make to one (concerning the timing of the slide or transition), you make to all. You can shorten the transition, increase or shorten the length of time the slide is held in view, and change the transition.

Once you've changed these things, the next slide you add to the show automatically gets these same timings and transition.

Want to add music? Simple, just click on Show, then Soundtrack. You can pull in music from anywhere on your computer or from a CD.

Once you have your soundtrack, you can set up your photo show to last as long as the soundtrack in a number of ways. You can highlight a number of slides and have then stretch or shrink to be presented for as long as the song lasts. Or you can set up all your slides to last as long as the entire soundtrack. Or, get really creative and choose to have slides change with the music.

With the Soundtrack window open, choose Record Slide Time. You can play with this; itís really a lot of fun. You listen to the music, and while youíre listening, you choose when to change the slide. You can choose the transition, the timing, anything you want according to the music. This feature is a lot of fun.

Just keep in mind that once youíve set this up, and then decide to set the series of photos to equal the length of the soundtrack, youíll overwrite your earlier edits when you chose transitions time according to the music. The way to get past this, is to remember which slides appear and fade to the music, then select the rest of the slides to sync to the rest of the soundtrack.

Always keep in mind that you can go back to a previous state by clicking on Control-Z. This has saved me many times. Just go back and start over.

Right now, you already know enough to make a really good slide show. But, before we take a look at some advanced features, letís take a look at our preferences.

It is here where you will set up all your preferences for all your shows, however, this one tab is where youíll want to go before starting a show. If your show is for the computer, youíll want different settings than if your show is for a television.

The show settings will be found elsewhere (from one of the icons atop the opening screen). If you are creating a show for TV, you can set your show up for a standard TV or a WideScreen (HD)..

When setting up a show for television, I prefer the Default Image Settings to be set to Fit to Safe Zone. The safe zone is something you can play with (adjust), but youíll have to create a DVD every time you make adjustments and test them.

It is also here where you can adjust the standard transition youíll be using and the length of the slides.

For some reason you are able to adjust the smoothness of the movement of your slides. I donít know why anyone would choose their slides to move jerkily. This is the one flaw of ProShow, by the way: if your slide move a good distance during its presentation, youíll get jerks. Iíve found NO cure for this, yet. 

Now, letís take a look at all you can do with your slides.

For your first show, I would suggest that you to grab all your slides you want, drag them to the time line.

You can also open an explorer window, go to a folder with photos, and drag them directly to the timeline. The program is very flexible. It's up to you to test and try and experiment.

Next, you can add a soundtrack in a number of ways. The easiest is to find one (on your desktop or in an Explorer window) and drag it to just below the timeline. Then highlight all the slides (by clicking on the last one, holding down the shift key, and clicking on the first), then right click on the slides, choose audio, and then choose to sync all the slides to the soundtrack.

There you have it. Your first slide show. It is that easy.

Now letís play.


Take it from a pro, "No card is faster or safer than SanDisk."

Titles and Captions

Do I need to tell you to play? Click on everything, see what happens. Nothing is permanent; you can always roll back to where you were by using Control Z (or Edit; Undo). And donít be afraid to right click and check out all the options!

The first thing you have to do, is go to the slide where you want a caption, and double click on it. The window below opens.

Itís always best to click on all the tabs to see all the options. The first thing you will notice is that THERE ARE WAY TOO MANY OPTIONS IN THIS PROGRAM. Most of them you will NEVER use. However, itís good to know that if you want to do something really special, or different, you will have the options needed to do exactly that.

Under the Show menu option (in the top menu) you can add a background or caption to every slide. You control all the show defaults there.

But to give just one slide a caption, after youíve double clicked on the slide, choose Captions (in the above photo) and then just type it in. You can choose how it will be presented (entrance), what it does during the slide, and how it leaves. You can have it grow, move about. You can choose the font, size color, drop shadow, outline. You name it. The only thing you canít do are the Star Wars like titles, though you never know what options will come with future versions.

Always check out your options. You have the option, under Caption Motion, to have the caption start in one location and end in another; great if youíre creating rolling credits.

Slide Behaviors

Though I am a believer in the theory that simple is best, you donít have to listen to me. Click on Slide and youíll see a whole bunch of options (templates) for your slides (as seen above). You can add layers here and have all the pictures on the layers presented to you in a number of ways.

The worst thing about this feature is if you click on one of the icons to add a layer, you have to go to your file folders and search for a photo (ostensibly). What you don't know till you experiment, is that you can open an explorer window and drag in layers, or you can go behind this window into ProShowís thumbnails and drag one in from there. You will want to play with this.

Next youíll want to create your own templates and effects. You can add layers to any slide, move them about, add keyframes and work within those those keyframes. A keyframe is a point at which the manipulation/movement of a slide begins or ends. You can add as many keyframes to a slide as you need, and have all your layers moving about, with the last keyframe consisting of the transition to the next slide.

Now, one problem beginners have is they love the way they presented a slide, but when viewing the slide, just as the slide is right where they want it, the transition starts and the next slide appears. In other words, you know exactly how you want the slide to appear, but right as that moment appears, the transition to the next slide begins. What you need to learn is how to make the end of this slide (or layers) into the beginning of the next slide, with NO transition. What you get is your presentation, and then, a good long look at that slide.

The first thing you have to do is RIGHT click on the slide after the slide your working, and choose to insert a blank slide.

Then go to the transition between these two and choose 0 (zero seconds) as the time of the transition and then choose CUT as your transition (click the transition icon and choose). Next you have to copy the end of the slide (and all layers) to the next slide. With the Slide Effects window open, click on the icon on the left side with the two keyframes and the arrow thru them to the right, and choose to "Copy End to Next Slide" (all layers). Your next slide will begin where this one ended. 

Again, youíll find so many options that youíll probably never use. However, the best way to learn a program is to experiment with all the different settings. This way you learn as you go and youíll know what to do to get the effects you want.

Output

Your choices for output are limited ONLY to every possible form of output possible. You can put your show on YouTube, create an executable file, make a DVD, or BlueRay Disk, or even something to go on your iPod. You can create a show for your web site, or create a screen saver.

The only problem is if you are making something for your TV, you are going to have to determine the resolution of your TV. Iíve found that most DVDs are created with a resolution of  720 X 480. However, I donít own an HD TV (and wonít for a long long time) and Iíve not had to create one, yet. When I do, Iíll go look up the resolution.

The screensavers you can make are fantastic. You get to see your photos as big as your screen, with the music of your choice in the background.

All in all, ProShow Producer is the best of the best presentation software around. As a professional photographer, I wouldnít be without it. There is nothing like it on the market. Nothing.

To see all the different features, go here: ProShow Comparison. To see a product demo, go here: Demo. I know you wonít be disappointed if you decide to order one of Photodexís programs.

 

 


Click here to email this page to a friend.

Articles | Newsletter | Who We Are | Links | Search Site 
Help Us To Help Others
| Online Friends | Prayer List | Find A Practitioner
Help

Contact Us  

© Copyright 2010 Minnesota Wellness Publications, Inc.

For non commercial use: You may copy, print, reprint, and/or transfer this entire article, if and only if it is unmodified and in its complete state with this copyright notice attached and all the links work properly. All others must contact us in writing.

David's PhotoArt - Fine Art Supporting The International Wellness Directory