Joined: 16 May 2004
Location: Berthoud, Colorado
|Posted: Sun May 28, 2006 9:58 pm Post subject: For those looking for Presentation Slideshow software....
|I suspect all of us at times have a need for presentation slideshow software and there are myriad choices Sometimes a deal comes along which is just too good to not pass along so though I don't get a chance to post here too often I thought I would pass this along. The following pertains to only Windows based operating systems
A couple years ago there were a handful of decent slideshow programs out there including PhotoDex's ProShow/Gold, Media@Show, PicturesToExe, a product or two from CodeJam (Memories on TV, etc.) and some very expensive programs such as Vegas Video (formerly Sound Forge - now Sony). Some of these were essentially basic programs, some had decent power and some were world class but expensive.
The "hot" topic in presentation slide shows for the past couple of years has been what has been called the Ken Burns Effects. Ken is a videographer and film maker who popularized the techniques of zooming in close on a group then panning from one to another subject, pausing, etc. Ken didn't invent the effect but his use of it was so prolific that it became named after him. A number of decent programs such as ProShow Gold (relatively inexpensive - about $70), ProShow Producer (expensive but more powerful - about $400), Vegas Video (very expensive in the full blown version - around $1200), Pictures on TV Pro (relatively inexpensive - about $79) and a few other software packages developed a means of producing animation from still images (essentially converting a still image to video format) and these programs became very successful with many followers.
A few companies such as CyberLink (Media@Show) and Wnsoft (PicturesToExe) elected to wait and see how this all played out before jumping in. CyberLink which was formerly a US company sold their holding to a Taiwanese developer and they have essentially stopped development on Media@Show. Wnsoft took a wait and see position but began about a year ago to develop a totally new graphical engine to do something which no other presentation slideshow company has done - produce high resolution video effects. Typically a company will "render" their animation at a resolution of 720x576 pixels. This works out beautifully for NTSC television delivered via DVD because this resolution exceeds that which a normal US/Canadian television can deliver. The down side is that we now have high resolution television (HDTV) and high resolution displays (Plasma screens) and these relatively low resolution rendering must be interpolated to get to the higher resolution display capabilities. This, unfortunately, takes a toll on not only projection display and high resolution TV displays, but also on the quality of an executable slideshow on a computer monitor.
Wnsoft has now produced a beta release of their soon to be released version 5. I've been working with it since the release and I'm sincerely impressed! This program is going to be very, very big. The nice thing is that PicturesToExe is only $24 and upgrades are free for life - something no other slideshow program I'm aware of offers. So anyone who buys PicturesToExe now (p2e) will get the full version five release free. The price will go up folks!
My point is that anyone who is remotely interested in one of the deals of the century should mosey on over to the Wnsoft site, log on to the forums and download the 5.0 beta 2 and give it a try. It's not fully implemented because it's still in early beta, but what it can do is nothing short of incredible in my experience. By the way, I own and use all the products I've discussed with the exception of ProShow Producer which I've tested.
P2E has the ability to control multiple "objects" on multiple layers simultaneously so the user has complete control over animation. It's possible to have over 20 separate images on a single slide each with its own unique timing, animation, transparency, etc. I've been able to do things with this program which I've not been able to accomplish with any of the others including Vegas Video. I'm not saying it "can't be done, but I am saying that I'm a competent user of these other programs and "I" can't do it.
Below are two links. The first is to a fun little demo I did yesterday with p2e beta. It shows some non-conventional capabilities for a slideshow program. If you're interested in still animation you owe it to yourself to check this one out. The second link is to the Wnsoft site where you can download a trial version limited to 10 images but otherwise not crippled in any way. If you buy the program, an unlock key will be emailed and the trial becomes the real thing.
First my little demo which is a 7.6 meg zipped executable which shows just some of the great things which "can" be done. It's not intended as an aesthetic slideshow, just a demonstration of some really cool features.
Next the link to Wnsoft. Find the beta version on the PicturesToExe forum, not on the first page where you download the present release version.
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any questions I can help with and be sure to log on to the forum to get the latest information. I have no association with Wnsoft other than having beta tested their pre-release software over six years ago and being interested in passing on this information so anyone who is interested gets a chance to have a look.