Oct
31

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How to Make a Memorable Halloween Video Slideshow

How to make a memorable Halloween photo slideshow

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and such a fun time of year. With all the effort that goes into costumes and decorations, making sure you capture great photos of all the festivities is key! Below are some helpful tips for taking great Halloween photos and how to put them together in a fun and memorable video slideshow that you can share with friends and family. Happy Halloween!

1. Taking Great Halloween Photos

How to take great Halloween photos in low light
Since most Halloween activities happen at night, you’re faced with a lot of low-light situations. With a few tweaks to your set up, you can get great photos in any low light setting. Check out the links below for some really helpful tips for capturing great Halloween photos. And don’t forget the video button! A few short videos of the kids trick-or-treating will be a perfect addition to your Halloween slideshows.

2. Halloween Slideshow Music

Halloween slideshow music and songs
As a slideshow creator, you know your soundtrack can make or break your entire production! Make sure you pick a song that’s perfect for the mood you’re trying to create. Check out our round-up of Halloween songs for slideshows. There’s something for everyone including our top picks and great royalty-free options.

3. Halloween Slideshow Effects

Halloween effects for ProShow

Halloween is one of those times where I think it’s OK to go a little over board on special effects. A few flying bats and spider web transitions add a ton of fun to your slideshows. Be sure and download all of our free Halloween and Fall slideshow effects for ProShow.

4. Outputting Your Halloween Slideshow

Output your Halloween slideshow to DVD, Facebook, YouTube or your iPhone or iPad
Once you’re done creating your show, you’ll need to decide how you want to share it with your friends, family and co-workers ProShow slideshow software outputs to pretty much any format you can think of, so burning a DVD, posting on Facebook or Youtube, uploading to your iPad or iPhone is all easy and totally do-able.

Got the right tool to build your slideshow?

Planning to make your Halloween slideshow? With ProShow, it literally takes just minutes to make a beautiful video slideshow using the automated wizard and instant effects. Upgrade or download a free trial of ProShow 6 today!

Ready to make a memorable Halloween slideshow? Download a free trial of ProShow today.

 

Oct
30

Author:

Make an Animated GIF with ProShow and Photoshop

When the Flash output feature was introduced in ProShow several years ago, our Tech Support team started noticing that more and more people were using the feature to create banner ads for their websites. The type of Flash output that ProShow creates is based on video rather than programmatic Flash code, which makes it less than ideal from a size perspective, but for many it was good enough to get the job done. The fact is, most people would rather continue to use a tool they’re familiar with – ProShow Gold or ProShow Producer – than learn a new program like Adobe Flash where there can be a steep learning curve.

If you’re in need of a simple animated web banner, one of the most basic and most widely supported formats is the animated GIF. And if you have either ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer as well as Photoshop, you already have the tools to make one on your own without having to re-learn anything.

Creating your slideshow in ProShow

In ProShow, when you create your show you’ll want to create a new blank show with the appropriate aspect ratio, which you can specify either in the New Slide Show window or in the Show > Show Settings menu. For my show, I’m going to be using the default 16×9 aspect ratio. Note that if you need to create a GIF at a particular custom size (e.g. 640×240), you can input those resolution values in as the aspect ratio.

Slideshow DOs and DON’Ts:

If you plan on creating an animated GIF, you need to be mindful of a few things when setting up your slideshow in ProShow:

  1. Do not use much – if any – motion. This includes panning, rotating, tilting, etc.  Using motion can cause the final size of the animated GIF to be too large.
  2. Avoid A/B Crossfade transitions and instead use Cut or zero-second transitions whenever possible. Transitions with lots of gradual changes will also cause your GIF sizes to be inflated.
  3. Use imagery and graphics with simple colors. The more complex your images are, the worse they will look in an animated GIF due to the limited color palette of the format.
  4. Use short slide times. Generally with an animated GIF you’re trying to capture someone’s attention quickly and give them a succinct looping message. My example uses slide times of between 0.1 and 1.5 seconds, and the entire show lasts for around 6 seconds.

Once you’ve created your show and saved it, the next step is to create the video file that we’ll be importing into Photoshop. Since my show is a standard 16×9 aspect ratio, I could use one of the many widescreen video file presets in Publish > Video for Web, Devices, and Computers window, but if your show is a different aspect ratio, you’ll need to create a custom profile. When setting up a profile, if you’re unsure of the aspect ratio, just input the same numbers you used for the resolution.

custom-profile

Now that you’ve set up your custom profile, click the Save button, then click the Create button to start rendering the video file. Make sure and choose a file name and save location that you’ll remember.

Converting the video file to an animated GIF in Photoshop

I’m going to be using the 2014 release of Adobe Photoshop CC to convert the MOV file we created in ProShow into an animated GIF file. The options may be slightly different in your version, but the basic instructions should be the same.

  1. Open Photoshop, then go to File > Import > Video Frames to Layers.  Choose the MOV video we created above.
  2. On the “Import Video to Layers” window that appears next, you can leave the settings as they are and just click OK.
    psimport
  3. Next, we’re going to go to File > Save for Web. The most important thing you’ll need to do here is change the format from JPEG to GIF. You shouldn’t have to touch the other settings in this window, but you can use the following screenshot if you need a reference for the settings that I’m using.
    saveforweb
  4. Click Save in the Save for Web video and choose the file name and save location for your animated GIF.

After that, you’ll have an animated GIF that you can use however you’d like, though presumably you’ll be putting it on one or more pages of your website. If you have any questions about the process outlined above, feel free to post in the comments below.

 

TIPS: 

  • If you plan on hosting the file on your website, make sure the final file size of your animated GIF is not too large (ideally less than 250KB) so that there are no problems with slow page loads for your viewers. If it’s 1MB or larger, this may indicate that your show is too visually complex for an animated GIF, but there are a few settings you change in Photoshop to make it smaller.  You can change the number of colors from 256 to 128 in the Save for Web window. Additionally, you can change your Image Size setting to something smaller in that same window.
  • When creating your video in ProShow, make sure that the resolution of your video preset has numbers divisible by 8 if possible. Failure to do so may mean that the resultant video is a slightly different resolution than the one you specified.
Oct
29

Author:

Free Halloween and Fall Transition Effects for ProShow

Free Halloween and Fall Effects for ProShow

With Halloween right around the corner, we put together this set of fun Halloween-themed transition effects you can use to spruce-up your ProShow slideshows. These transition effects are perfect for your trick-or-treating photos, pumpkin patch photos and other Fall images. Watch the demo below to seem them in action and scroll down to see even more great slideshow effects for your Fall and Halloween slideshows!

Watch the Free Halloween Effects In Action

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Oct
23

Author:

Leveling Out Your Audio Track Volumes

Leveling Out Your Audio Track Volumes

When you’re using multiple music tracks in your slideshows, especially ones from different sources, chances are that certain tracks are noticeably louder than others. There are two things at play here: amplitude and dynamic range. Changing the track volume in ProShow Gold or ProShow Producer only addresses the amplitude. To address differences in perceived loudness, you’ll occasionally need to alter the dynamic range in a 3rd party program. Today I’ll give a few tips on how to do this.

Amplitude

When people talk about the volume of a track, they often are referring to the peak amplitude, or essentially the loudest point of a track. Most tracks on a well-mastered CD will have their peak amplitude somewhere close to 0 decibels (all quieter parts will have a negative decibel value). Increasing the volume of a well-mastered track will often push it over the limit in several places and introduce digital distortion (a.k.a. “clipping”). For this reason, it should be relatively uncommon that you ever set the track volume in ProShow to something above 100%. When in doubt, lower the volume of a “loud” track instead of raising the volumes of the comparatively quiet tracks.

Dynamic range

Some songs start off quiet and end loud. Others have quiet and loud parts interspersed. And sometimes, a track is just loud the whole time. In a very basic way, these qualities describe the dynamic range of a song. What happens when one song ends loudly and you segue into a song that starts quietly? This is the type of thing that can cause a viewer to scramble for the remote control or volume dial.

Fortunately, you can alter the dynamic range of a track so that the highs and lows aren’t so extreme, and by extension, the transitions between tracks aren’t so extreme. Of course, it’s possible to overdo it (Top 40 radio stations come to mind) but dynamic range compression can be a very important tool when applied with care. I’ll show you how you can do this in the free audio editor Audacity:

  1. Download the Audacity installer here, then run through the installation process afterward.
  2. Run Audacity, then go to File > Open and select your track.
  3. Under the Effect menu at the top, choose Compressor. Check Compress based on Peaks at the bottom of the window. The rest of the settings should be fine at their defaults, but you can lower the Threshold and increase the Ratio for more extreme scenarios. Click OK.
    compressor
  4. Go to File > Export, then save the edited track somewhere. Make sure to not overwrite the original track. This will save as a .WAV file by default which may be somewhat large, but this ensures that you don’t lose any additional fidelity when editing in Audacity.

If you’ve done this to each track prior to importing them into ProShow, there’s a good chance that you won’t have to touch the Track Volume option at all once they’re imported.

 

TIPS:

  • Most audio editors will allow you to achieve the same goal, perhaps with even more options and precision. Just look for a Compression / Dynamics Processing feature, which will allow you to reduce the dynamics of the track.
  • If you’d like to maintain the original dynamics of your tracks but make sure their peak volumes are all the same, you can use the Normalize feature in Audacity’s Effect menu (this is also found in most other audio editors) and specify a peak volume. Normalizing to 0 decibels (or 100%) should be fine.
Oct
21

Author:

ProShow Effects Pack Portraits: Photo Book Layouts Brought to Life

ProShow Effects Pack Portraits

We’re excited to announce the release of the newest edition to our popular Effects Pack line for ProShow – Effects Pack Portraits. This pack was designed around the concept of bringing the modern day coffee table book to life. Inside you’ll find hundreds of professional, themed effects that turn your slides into animated montages and moving collages. Watch the demo video below to see it in action.

Effects Pack Portraits includes 400 slide styles (our best value to date!) that are categorized into 25 unique sets, like Art Deco, Linen, Henna, Heirloom and Sunshine, to name a few. Each set includes a dozen beautiful photo layouts and matching caption and title styles designed in the style of modern photo books. The breadth of options + mixed photo orientation support (landscape, portrait & square) make it easy to build video slideshows with a consistent look without losing variety. You’ll love the mix of formal and casual themed slide styles that are ideal for portrait photography subjects – families, weddings, boudoir, teens, holidays & everyday.

Effects Pack portraits puts the focus on your photos. The motion is soft and subtle, allowing plenty of time and space to fully appreciate the content of the photographs and take in the details. Try using these effects paired with simple transitions like dissolves, blurs and page turns for best results.

Get Effects Pack Portraits today for just $19.95. Works with ProShow Gold 6, ProShow Producer 6 and ProShow Web.

 

Oct
20

Author:

Creating a Slideshow for Instagram using ProShow

Make a video for Instagram using ProShow

From time to time we get questions about how to create slideshows in ProShow Gold or ProShow Producer and upload them to Instagram.

On the surface, this seems a bit like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.  Firstly, there is a very short 15-second limit for videos on Instagram, and secondly, Instagram does not support uploading videos directly from your computer to their website.  These roadblocks are not show-stoppers though. With a little creativity on your side, you can create a succinct and captivating slideshow.

PART 1: Creating your slideshow in ProShow

To start off, open ProShow Gold or ProShow Producer and click the “Blank Show” button on the New Slide Show window, then change the Aspect Ratio to Custom and choose 1 x 1. This will cause your show to be the square shape that Instragram requires. Enter your desired Show Title and click Create.

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Oct
17

Author:

Show of the Week: The Great American Coastline

This week’s featured show comes from photographer Gareth Rockcliffe. Gareth and his wife Jan are currently on assignment photographing the American Coastline. They packed up their vintage air stream trailer and set out on a 4 month journey. Their Goal: To capture the soulful beauty, diversity and majesty of America’s amazing Coast.

The video above was made using ProShow Producer software and shows the beginning stages of their quest. We love the mix of video clips and stop-motion sequences that give the show a fun and playful feel.

You can follow Gareth on Facebook to see new snapshots from each stop on their journey.

 

How-To + Tutorials

How to Make a Memorable Halloween Video Slideshow

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and such a fun time of year. With all the effort that goes into costumes and decorations, making sure you capture…

Make an Animated GIF with ProShow and Photoshop

Thursday, October 30, 2014

When the Flash output feature was introduced in ProShow several years ago, our Tech Support team started noticing that more and more people were using the feature to create…

Leveling Out Your Audio Track Volumes

Thursday, October 23, 2014

When you’re using multiple music tracks in your slideshows, especially ones from different sources, chances are that certain tracks are noticeably louder than others. There are two things at play…

Creating a Slideshow for Instagram using ProShow

Monday, October 20, 2014

From time to time we get questions about how to create slideshows in ProShow Gold or ProShow Producer and upload them to Instagram. On the surface, this seems…