Sep
1

Author:

The Big Picture: Stream HD Slideshows to Your TV with Chromecast

As we mentioned in the last article in this series, the DVD format may be ubiquitous, but its inherently low resolution (~ 1/3rd of a megapixel) makes it less-than-ideal for showing off your photo slideshows on your HDTV. To work around these shortcomings, we showed you how to a) create a Blu-ray disc and b) stream to an Apple TV via Airplay. This week we’re going to show you another way to get your slideshows onto your TV in high definition.

CHROMECAST

chromecastdevice

Google’s Chromecast is a relatively new and affordable ($35 USD) entry in the media streaming market. This flash-drive-sized device plugs into a free HDMI port on either your TV or home theater receiver and allows you to stream almost anything from your computer’s Google Chrome web browser onto your TV.  Watching a funny YouTube video on your laptop and want to show your family and friends? Just click a button in your browser and it will instantly show up on your TV.  Want to show off the photos from your recent trip that you’ve uploaded to Flickr? Now you can easily show those images on the big screen.

But what about your photo slideshows that aren’t uploaded anywhere on the web? Fortunately, there are Chrome apps specifically designed to let you choose a video file on your computer and stream it to the Chromecast. We’ll be focusing on the free Chrome app Videostream.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A Chromecast plugged into an HDMI port on your HDTV
  • A wireless network, preferably one that utilizes wireless N for faster connections
  • A smartphone, tablet, or laptop to initially set up the Chromecast
  • ProShow Producer, ProShow Web or ProShow Gold (Gold requires the Devices Plug-in) to create an optimized MPEG-4 video file.

First, you’ll want to plug your Chromecast into your TV or home theater receiver and set it up so that it connects to your wireless network. The setup process requires a smartphone, tablet, or laptop – basically anything that has wireless capabilities. See this tutorial for detailed instructions.

Once you’ve gotten the Chromecast set up, you’ll want to make sure you have the Google Chrome web browser installed on the same computer where you have ProShow installed.  Download and install it here if you don’t have it already. Next, you’ll want to install the Google Cast extension. This is the fundamental component that allows you to stream anything from your browser to your Chromecast. You can download it here.

The next step is installing the Videostream app for Chromecast, which will allow us to pick a video file on our computer and send it to the Chromecast.  Install it here.

Now that we have everything set up for streaming, we actually need to create the video file that we’re going to be sending to the Chromecast. In ProShow Producer, open an existing show, then go to Publish > Video for Web, Devices, and Computers. From the Video File category, choose the MPEG-4 H.264 720p preset, then click Create. Make sure to save this file in a location that you’ll remember, like on your Desktop or in My Documents. Note that you can do the same thing in ProShow Gold, but you’ll need the Devices Plug-in to create the proper MPEG-4 files.

If you’re using ProShow Web and you have a Premium subscription, you can also create a 720p MPEG-4 video for streaming to Chromecast. Simply open your show, go to the Downloads + Videos tab and click the Create button in the 720p MP4 Video section. After it finishes creating, click the green Download button to save it to your computer.

proshowdevices

Once your video has been created, you’ll want to click on the Chrome App Launcher icon on your taskbar and choose Videostream (Figure 1). The app will launch in your browser. Click the “Select a movie to play” button and choose the file that you created from ProShow (Figures 2, 3).  At this point you may see the message “Initializing Communication to Chromecast; Please select a Chromecast using the Google Cast Extension”. Simply choose the name of your Chromecast from the list that is shown in the top right (Figure 4).

Figure 1:

Figure 2:

CropperCapture[594]

Figure 3:

choosefile

Figure 4:

choosechromecast

If everything is working as expected, your slideshow should now be playing on your TV in high definition!

Tips for Wireless Streaming:

  • For best results, you’ll want to use a Wireless N or Wireless AC router.  Since the Chromecast operates only on the 2.4Ghz wireless spectrum, make sure your router is set to allow wireless N or mixed-mode on the 2.4Ghz channel.
  • If the video stutters or pauses during playback, you may need to change the Video Quality settings in Videostream’s configuration. Click the Gear icon at the top right of the Videostream app and change the Video Quality from High to either Adaptive or Low.

 

Aug
29

Author:

FAQ Friday: Top ProShow Questions and Answers

ProShow Frequently Asked Questions

Each Friday we share the top 5 most buzzed about topics and questions about making video slideshows with ProShow. These come directly from ProShow users just like you and are collected by our customer service team each week! Read the round-up below to see what people are curious about this week.

  1. How do I set a custom aspect ratio for my slideshow?
    In ProShow, you can adjust your show’s aspect ratio to give you a better fit for various devices that may not use the traditional 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio screens. To adjust your show’s aspect ratio go into your Show Settings window (keyboard shortcut: CTRL+H) and locate the ‘Aspect Ratio’ option found near the top. Change the Aspect Ratio to ‘Custom’ and enter your new aspect ratio in the provided value boxes to the right. For more information on show aspect ratios, click here.
  2. How do I offset my soundtrack so it starts later in my show?
    In ProShow, you may want to delay your show soundtrack so it starts after a title slide or a video introduction at the beginning of your show. This type of delay is called an offset in ProShow. To apply an offset, go into your Soundtrack Settings window (keyboard shortcut: CTRL+M) and select the first song in the soundtrack column on the left.  With the song selected, locate the Offset value box under Track Settings and enter a positive number to delay the soundtrack. Make sure you enter the offset value in seconds. For example, if we want to delay the soundtrack by 1 minute, we would enter 60 seconds for our offset.

    Add an offset to your audio track in ProShow.

    Remember: This type of change may require a bit of trial and error until you get it just right. Be sure to test playback after making this change. When you add an offset your entire soundtrack shifts over by the number of seconds added to the offset value.

    For more information on adjusting your soundtrack in ProShow, click here.

  3. Where is the Slide Inspector found in ProShow?
    The Slide Inspector is a neat tool for the diehard slide show creator that needs a quick view of a particular slide in the main interface of the program. In the Slide Inspector you will see details like the slide style and transition used, duration, and how many layers and captions are on the selected slide. To enable the Slide Inspector in ProShow, click on Window > Show > Slide Inspector or you can use the following keyboard shortcut: CTRL+SHIFT+F7 to enable this feature.
  4. Can I remove red-eye on a picture in my slideshow?
    Absolutely! To remove red eye from a picture in your show, double-click the slide containing the picture with red eye and select the layer from the layers column on the left. Then click on the Adjustments tab at the top and locate the Red-Eye tool under your Editing Tools on the bottom-right of the Slide Options window.
  5. How do I remove unwanted transitions when using the random transition picker in my slideshow?
    To remove unwanted transitions from the random transition picker, go into Show Options (keyboard shortcut: CTRL+H) and click onthe Set Random Transitions button at the top of your Show Settings screen. Uncheck the unwanted transitions in the list and click Apply to save these changes. When using this option it is important to make sure you set the transition for all slides to the random transition option from the picker otherwise it will not work as expected.

    Adjusting random transitions in ProShow.

Want to submit a question about making video slideshows with ProShow? Please ask a question in the comments below and we’ll get back with you right away!

 

Aug
27

Author:

ProShow Web App Update Gives Photographers More Control, Capability for Slideshow Creation

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Professional Photographer magazine recently took the latest update to our award-winning ProShow Web app for a spin to review the new features. We were thrilled to see they enjoyed the new interface and found new features like custom timing control, photo captions and better sharing tools, helpful for photographers making video slideshows for clients.

Here are some highlights of what they had to say, plus a list of their favorite features below. You can read the full review here on their website.

“Photodex has released a new version of their iOS app, which provides a stylish new user interface, more custom controls and effects, text and caption options, better downloading and sharing tools, and more. The original app was nice, but I have to say I like all the improvements.” – Betsy Finn, Professional Photographer Magazine

Stand-Out Features:

  • easy-to-use interface
  • lots of effects for slides
  • automatic effects can be overriden
  • cloud storage allows updating/editing from any device
  • integrated with social media
  • extensive library of music, effects
  • ability to save finished videos to camera roll for offline viewing
  • expanded effects and text options

If you’re looking for a great tool to make professional video slideshows for your photography clients, give ProShow Web a try. You can sign up for a free trial account on the ProShow Web site or download the app free from the Apple app store to start making slideshows from your mobile device.

 

Aug
25

Author:

Annual Photoshop World Conference and Expo Next Week

Photoshop World 2014

From Photoshop guru Julieanne Kost, to internationally acclaimed photographer Joe McNally, Photoshop World is full of exceptional instructors giving inspiring presentations about Photoshop, Lightroom and Photography.

You’ll also discover the latest and greatest technology, products and services at the Photoshop World Expo. The expo is where you’ll find us (booth #431) showcasing the latest features and effects in ProShow, giving away cool Photodex gear and offering some amazing show specials.

Want to attend the expo? We’ve got free expo-only passes that will get you and a friend into the expo for free! The expo floor is always a blast. Great classes, fun photo shoots and tons of awesome vendors to check out. Click here to download the free expo pass PDF. For a complete listing of Expo class sessions, visit Photoshopworld.com/schedule/#expo.

Are you going to Photoshop World? Let us know in the comments below, we look forward to seeing you at the show!

 

Aug
21

Author:

The Big Picture: Watching Your Slideshows in HD

After nearly 20 years on the market, there is no video format more ubiquitous than the DVD.  Regardless of whether the technologically-challenged members of your family can easily *operate* a DVD player, they probably have at least one in their house.  On top of that, most desktop computers and full-sized laptops purchased in the last 10 years have had the hardware to burn a DVD. Buy a pack of blank DVDs and you can be burning your slideshows in no time and playing them on your TV.  But is DVD really the format you want to be using?  Since the advent of high definition televisions, the shortcomings of a DVD have become easily apparent.

First, the maximum resolution of a DVD video is defined as 720×480 (or 720×576 if your country’s TV standard is PAL).  In other words, your super-sharp 15-megapixel images that you want to show off will be downsized to just over a third of a megapixel as part of the DVD creation process. DVDs don’t come close to the clarity that modern HDTVs can achieve.  Assuming you have a 1080p television, you are only using 1/6th of the available resolution.

DVD VS HD

Secondly, for all intents and purposes, DVD is an interlaced format. This means that at any given moment, you’re only seeing half of the vertical resolution.  Modern televisions and DVD players may do a decent job of de-interlacing – or combining the interlaced fields to create the full-resolution frames – but when there is motion in your shows, it will never look as good as video signal that’s not interlaced.

What are your options?

BLU-RAY:

If you want to get your slideshows onto your television in high definition, the most straight-forward method is creating a Blu-ray disc, the de facto successor to the DVD.  To do this you’ll need 1) a Blu-ray burner, 2) a blank BD-R or rewriteable BD-RE disc, and 3) a Blu-ray player to play it on your TV.  Blu-ray burners do not come pre-installed in most computers, so it’s highly likely that you’d need to purchase an internal or external Blu-ray burner first.

Internal Blu-ray Burners for Desktops

External Blu-ray Burners

Creating a Blu-ray disc is very similar to writing a DVD.  You’ll open your show in ProShow, choose Blu-ray from the Publish menu and customize your menu as necessary, then click the Create button.  After a period of rendering, the data will be burned to your disc, ready to be played on a Blu-ray player.  Still, there are a few options when creating your disc that are worth mentioning.

In the Options tab, the Blu-ray Type is set to 1080p by default.  While this will give you the maximum resolution possible, 1080p on Blu-ray is hampered by being limited to 24 frames per second.  This may look natural, if not good, for a feature film, but this comparatively low frame rate can make a slideshow seem choppy or jerky during pans.  I prefer choosing 720p because it allows frame rates up to 59.94. In my opinion, the smoother frame rate of 720p is a much more noticeable improvement than the extra resolution that 1080p provides.

Blu-ray Options TabBurning a Blu-ray disc means that you’ll be dealing with significantly more data than when creating a DVD.  Because of this, it’s very important that your burn speed is not set higher than what your system is able to consistently send to your burner.  Once you’ve inserted your blank disc, you’ll be able to change the burn speed from Max to a lower value in the Burning tab.  I would recommend either 2x or 4x for a BD-R, and 1x or 2x for a BD-RE.

Blu-ray Burning Tab

APPLE TV VIA AIRPLAY:

Of course, Blu-ray isn’t the only option for getting high definition video on your television.  If you happen to have an iPhone or iPad as well as an Apple TV, you can use Apple’s Airplay service to wirelessly stream any video saved on your phone or tablet to your television.

With version 6 of ProShow Producer and ProShow Gold, you can automatically publish your shows to your Apple device with the free ProShow Remote app.

ProShow Remote screenshot

Tutorial: Sending your slideshows to your iPhone or iPad via the ProShow Remote App

While playing the video on your device, click the Airplay icon at the bottom right and choose your Apple TV.  If all is working as planned, you should now be able to watch your slideshow on your television in high definition.

Airplay Icon small

If you do not have ProShow version 6, you can still achieve the same goal by using the ProShow Devices plugin to create a video that’s compatible with your Apple device.  Next you’ll use iTunes to sync the video to your device, and during playback you can enable the same Airplay option as described above.

WebDevicesComputers - iPhone 5

Tutorial: Adding a show to an iPhone or iPad via iTunes

When considering the multitude of ways to watch your high definition slideshows on your TV, this article is just scratching the surface. New devices are emerging every day (Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, etc) that either allow wireless streaming from your mobile devices or direct playback of files stored on your network.  We hope to cover these other options in an upcoming article.

Aug
19

Author:

Celebrating World Photo Day 2014

Happy World Photo Day! We’re celebrating by featuring this video made up of photographs from ProShow fans around the world. Images were submitted all the way from Seward, Alaska to the beaches of Calpe, Spain. The final video was made using ProShow Producer 6.

World Photography Day originates from the invention of the Daguerreotype, a photographic process developed by Joseph Nicèphore Nièpce and Louis Daguerre. On January 9, 1839, The French Academy of Sciences announced the daguerreotype process. A few months later, on August 19, 1839, the French government announced the invention as a gift “Free to the World”. Today is the 175 year anniversary.

Thanks to everyone who submitted their photographs for this video! Want to make your own video slideshow? Download a free trial of ProShow today!

 

Aug
18

Author:

5 Reasons to Make the Jump to ProShow Producer

Upgrade to ProShow Producer

If you’ve asked anyone who’s made the jump from ProShow Gold to ProShow Producer – they’ll say you’ll never look back after upgrading. Whether you prefer a hands-off, automatic approach to making slideshows (using the wizard + instant effects), or you like to build your own shows from scratch, you’ll notice an immediate upgrade in the look of your shows and the amount of control you get with ProShow Producer – the first time you use it.

Unlock stunning new effects, time savers + and an arsenal of creative tools. Act now and you’ll save big time! Our best deal EVER on upgrading to ProShow Producer is going on right now. Check your email for details.

#1: Unlock Tons of New Instant FX & Freebies:

Enjoy 200+ beautiful new styles and transitions, plus the option to get popular Effects Packs (including StylePacks 5, 3, 2 + Weddings), along with free downloadable effects available only for ProShow Producer. Upgrade to Producer and give your slideshows an instant makeover! Watch the video below to see a sample of these amazing effects exclusively for Producer.

#2: More Creative Control + Powerful Tools

Want to tweak or customize shows beyond just the basics? You’ll love the expanded toolbox of creative options, including blur, opacity, keyframing, masking and text layers. Design your own custom slides, or sit back and let the wizard and built-in effects do the work. You’ll be able to explore new creative boundaries with unlimited control and plenty of fun in the mix.

ProShow Producer's powerful tools give you more creative control. Download a free trial today.

Easy to Use
Wondering if Producer is hard to learn? Think again! Same basic layout and functions – just way more power and control. If you’ve been using ProShow Gold, upgrading to Producer feels natural. The new tools allow you to enhance things you already enjoy in ProShow Gold – like fine tuning your photo & text effects with better timing control and adding a new level of polish to titles and slide layouts.

ProShow Producer is packed full of powerful creative tools to make your slideshows stand out!

#3: See the Difference in Action

Want to see some of the main differences between ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer using real world examples? Watch this video.

#4: What Other Customers Have to Say

Click to read more customer comments.

#5: Upgrade Now and Save Time + Money

Anyone who has made a bunch of slideshows can appreciate shortcuts! ProShow Producer offers a slick, pro-style interface and workflow tools that make frequent show creation and custom slides a snap! Professionals also love the business-friendly features like watermarking, custom branding, and MPEG-4 video output – the standard format for sharing on mobile & web.

Think Producer is just for pros? Slideshow fans need not miss out on all the fun. Upgrading not only gives you new reasons to fall in love with making shows again, but owing ProShow Gold qualifies you for a huge loyalty discount that you can use toward your upgrade, allowing you to own a pro-grade tool for a fraction of the normal price. Find out how much $$$ you can save >

Upgrade to ProShow Producer

Start experiencing a whole new level of slideshow creation. Check your email for info on your upgrade discount code. Upgrade today and we promise, you’ll never look back.
Make the jump to Producer today.

Upgrade Now

 

How-To + Tutorials

The Big Picture: Stream HD Slideshows to Your TV with Chromecast

Monday, September 1, 2014

As we mentioned in the last article in this series, the DVD format may be ubiquitous, but its inherently low resolution (~ 1/3rd of a megapixel) makes it less-than-ideal for…

FAQ Friday: Top ProShow Questions and Answers

Friday, August 29, 2014

Each Friday we share the top 5 most buzzed about topics and questions about making video slideshows with ProShow. These come directly from ProShow users just like you and are collected…

The Big Picture: Watching Your Slideshows in HD

Thursday, August 21, 2014

After nearly 20 years on the market, there is no video format more ubiquitous than the DVD.  Regardless of whether the technologically-challenged members of your family can easily…

Q&A with Jenny Larson of Forever Digital Memories

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A big thank you to everyone that joined me live the last week for my Google+ Hangout on making reunion slideshows for fun and profit. If you didn’t…