The digital slideshow is an effective means of displaying all your digital content. Instead of your family and friends viewing a static sequence of your holiday photos and videos you can dress it up in imaginative ways to provide an interactive experience.
Simple products such as Microsoft’s Windows Movie Maker and Apple’s iMovie allowed early amateurs to link together a group of photos and videos with interesting transition effects and background music. More advanced non-linear editing software such as Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Avid’s Media Composer allowed a far greater feature-set for more professional film editors.
Falling squarely in between is Wondershare’s DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe. This product aims to allow the budding editor to test the waters of photo and video editing, while having a fairly complete feature set to tempt the professional.
After installation and registration, you are given the option to start editing in the “Standard” or “Advanced” modes.
I am sure that with a software like this, you won’t be satisfied just with the Standard mode. The following review will focus on only the “Advanced” mode.
After launching the application, the main window makes it fairly clear that you must first “Add Files”.
The product’s greatest strength is the vast list of input and output formats supported. I added a number of different picture formats as well as high definition and standard definition videos into the “slideshow” and it displayed and played them all without any problems. Unfortunately, I did not have a camera or camcorder to test the inputting of files direct from these devices.
After adding your files you can re-arrange, edit, rotate and/or delete them.
The photo editor is quite limited, however it can be useful if there is a minor blemish you need to correct.
What is more impressive is the ability to add captions to your files.
There are a number of effects you can use to make the caption stand out. This is a useful feature for a slideshow maker, but it was a little difficult to find as I had to select to “edit” the file before I found the caption option.
Once you are satisfied with the files you have added to the slideshow you can also add a “blank clip” which is much like a placeholder slide.
Finally, you can re-arrange all your files and/or delete them.
Once you have added and organised your files, the next step is to “personalise” them.
This screen is reminiscent of most standard video editors and if you are familiar with those, then this product will not be difficult to use. There are a number of effects on the left, the finished product can be viewed on the right and along the bottom are all the individual files.
Each file can have a number of different effects:
Transitions are the effects between each individual file.
Motion effects are effects for the file itself.
Clipart can be superimposed on the file.
Effects change the look of the file by, for example, adding a shimmering light or a sparkling star.
Pre-Audio are background sounds.
Intro/Credit are opening slides that appear before your actual file.
Suffice to say the variety of these effects are really what sets DVD Slideshow Builder apart.
Finally, you can view your files in either the “storyboard” view or the “timeline” view.
The storyboard view displays an overview of the files and other options.
The timeline view displays the files so you can see how long each file will play for.
After you have added and organised your file it is time to create the final product.
DVD Slideshow Builder has one of the most complete list of output formats I have seen in a product like this. In addition to the standard DVD and video file options, you can choose to package your slideshow for viewing on a number of devices including the iPod, Android phones, PSPs, and a variety of other devices. In fact, I could not think of any other devices I would want my project packaged into.
- Impressive list of input and output formats supported (see here for a list of formats)
- Many effects and styles for transitions
- Intuitive interface
- Some useful features are not easily accessible
- Cannot add your own clipart (but you can add other images that can be superimposed)
- No particular feature that really sets it apart
DVD Slideshow Builder is a solid product that falls between an absolutely amateur solution and the high-end professional level software. It contains a wide variety of input and output formats and has numerous effects and styles.
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