Slideshows on the Mac

Slideshows on the Mac are confusing because iPhoto, iDVD and iMovie can all make them, so what should use when. Here’s a guide:

h3. iPhoto ’08 for quick and dirty on the screen slideshows

First this is confusingly actually iPhoto ’08 , version 7.0 (why couldn’t they just bump the version to match the date?). This is the best tool to do a quick and dirty slide show on your computer screen. It literally takes four clicks to get a great looking video. It isn’t the right tool to push it onto a DVD or make it into a movie you can watch on your iPhone or on another computer, but use it first because it is fast. Here are the steps:

# Load your photos. While iPhoto will do direct importing, I personally like to keep the files separate from iPhoto because I archive all my photos onto a Time Capsule and use many tools on it. So you can either import by connecting your camera and iPhoto will appear and allow an import. Or import with your camera tool (amazingly Canon EOS Utility actually works on Canons, Fujis and Nikons). Then delete the photos you don’t want
# Import your photos into iPhoto. Start iPhoto and choose File/Import. iPhoto ’08 is smart. It actually puts each day of shooting into a separate _Event_. So please make sure that your camera date is correct. Its a nice way to break things up.
# Select all your photos. Hold th eoption key down and click on all the events and then click on the Slideshow button at the bottom, this creates a slide show automatically. Select Ken Burns at the bottom.
# Now click on the music icon and iTunes appears. The only trickly part is that you can only select playlists or a single song which repeats over and over, so you click on a playlist *and don’t click on the songs below* otherwise, you’ll only get the first song you have highlighted below. That is the tricky part.

You are done. Now just hit the play button and you can watch the slideshow with glorious sound and the Ken Burns zoom in/out effect.

h3. iPhoto export to iDVD for a DVD

This is a little tricky, because if you just choose File/Export when you select a Slideshow in iPhoto, you only get a 4:3 low resolution 640×480 version of your photos that look pretty blurry. So instead, to make a nice DVD, you have a terrible choice, either lower resolution movie made by iPhoto or no Ken Burns effect if you make the slideshow directly in iDVD but you do get all the photos in full resolution copied to the DVD.

Net, net, I’m probably a fan of getting everything out there, so recommend you loose Ken Burns but you get a widescreen DVD and if you put that DVD into a computer, whoever you give the DVD to can get the full resolution JPG shots. Here is how:

# In iPhoto, take the select all the Events and then choose File/New Album from Selected. This creates an albun in iPhoto. Delete and change the order so you have the slide show in the right order and close iPhoto.
# Start iDVD and pick a theme (Vintage Vinyl is pretty cool!) and click on Media and the Pictures you will see the iPhoto albums and drag the album of choice onto the the screen on the left. This inserts the slide show. Now click on the button at the center that is a dashed box with an arrow into it. This is the _Drop Zone_ button, pick your favorite photos from within the album and drag them there. These will now appear automatically in your menus.
# Add audio soundtrack by click on the Music and then drag a playlist onto the screen and this adds the music.
# Add the title, by click on the title placeholder and typing the name of your slideshow and I also like to change the name of the button created to “Play…” instead of the album name. Now double click on the Play… and you should see the Slideshow come up. Drag a playlist from iTunes onto the MP3 button at the bottom and change Slide Duration to 3 seconds and click on Return.
# Now click on Play and make sure it looks and sounds right and choose Exit on the controller. You are now ready to burn your DVD.
# Burn it onto your hard drive which is way easier by choosing File/Save as TS_VIDEO folder and then when you want to burn a DVD, you can use Disk Utility to do that.

h3. iMovie for high resolution Movies sized on HD or for iPhone

Now the most work that you have to do is to create a standalone H.264 .MOV files that you can use on your HD screen at higher resolution that a DVD (DVDs are 720×480 while most computer screens are much more and can display 1920×1080 easily). You have to use a fancier tool like iMovie to generate these. So here are the steps

# Start iMovie and choose File/Project Properties and make sure Aspect Ratio is set to Widescreen, Transitions are set to Add Automatically and Initial Photo Placement is set ot Ken Burns and select OK.
# click on the Photo icon at the center right of the screen and you will see your iPhoto albums. Select all the photos and drag them to the top center of the screen.
# Click on the music icon at the center right and you will see iTunes playlists and drag these to the toop center of the screen. You are looking to hit the background and not the individual photos and should see the background lightup when you get it right.
# If you are feeling ambitious, select the T icon at the center right and then drag a title to the beginning of the slide show. Click on the Title and type in the name. Now you are ready to render.
# If you want to get it to an iPhone choose Share/Export Movie and you can select Mobile to get it to an iPhone or any other device you have.
# If you want something that is really high definition and bigger than choose Share/Export using Quicktime and select Options. You can change the Size to 1920×1080 HD to get something that is amazing quality and very big too. Also look at the box on the right of the dialog and make sure it says it says H.264 which is the highest level compression and best quality. Choose OK and Save.

And voila, from a set of photos, you now have something that works on screen, you have a DVD and you have an Quicktime movie which is small to upload and send to an iPhone. As well as a huge HD sized slideshow for the day when you get a Blu Ray player 🙂

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