Dec
5

Author:

What Does Your Promotional Video Say About You?

Photo by Kristen Jensen
Photo by Kristen Jensen.

Promotional videos are a great way to introduce yourself to potential clients, show off your style, personality and a collection of your best shots. When done right, the combination of short video clips, audio and great images come together in a very powerful marketing message to prospective clients.

The video below is from photographer Kristen Jensen. She does a suburb job of telling her story and what it would be like to work with her. Kristen is a well established lifestyle photographer and also travels the country teaching photography. We love the way she combined behind the scenes video clips and still images to create this powerful promotional piece.

Kristen is one of the super-talented judges in our Ultimate Story Wedding video contest. There’s just a week left to enter your best wedding video slideshow for a chance to win some awesome prizes from Panasonic Lumix, Profoto, Colormunki, Resource magazine and us here at Photodex.

Watch the current entries and submit your video today >>
Free to enter, open to worldwide submissions.

Have you made a promotional video in ProShow? We’d love to see your video in the link below!

 

Dec
3

Author:

Upload Your Slideshows to YouTube at 60 Frames Per Second

youtubeat60fpsliteblue1

“Why does my slideshow not look smooth when I upload it to YouTube?”  It’s a question I get from time to time, and I have to explain that ProShow is not doing anything wrong when creating the video. It’s just the fact that YouTube – and frankly all video on the internet – is limited to 30 frames per second. In other words, you are effectively seeing only 30 possible movements in any given second. To get smoothness that is close to the limit of what human eye can see (or more importantly, what your monitor can display), the frame rate needs to be 60 frames per second.

A little over a month ago, YouTube unveiled a feature that piqued my interest: support for watching 60fps video. This finally puts YouTube on par with the smoothness that you see when watching a television broadcast. Now there’s a fairly big “gotcha” to this feature. For the time being it only works in the Google Chrome web browser. On the other hand, there is no downside to uploading your videos in 60fps all the time. Viewers who use Google Chrome will be able to watch at 60fps while those with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc, will see all the normal quality/resolution options that have always been available.

ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer can upload to YouTube automatically, but support for uploading at 60fps is not yet built into the program. Today I’m going to show you how to create a custom video preset in ProShow that will allow you to manually upload your videos to YouTube using the new frame rate option.

Creating Your Custom Video Preset in ProShow

  1. In ProShow, open any saved slideshow that you’d like to upload to YouTube.
  2. Go to the Publish menu and choose Video for Web, Devices, and Computers.
    vfwdc
  3. Click the [+] button at the top of the Presets list on the left in order to create a custom video preset.
  4. If you’re using ProShow Producer or you have ProShow Gold with the ProShow Devices plugin installed, set up your preset as shown below.
    CropperCapture[770]
  5. If you do not have the ProShow Devices plugin in ProShow Gold, set up your preset as shown below.
    CropperCapture[771]
  6. Click the Save button to create your custom preset. After you’ve done this, your custom preset should be selected at the list in the left of the Video for Web, Devices and Computers window.
  7. Click the Create button, then choose a save location and file name when prompted. Make sure to take note of where you’re saving this, as you’ll be needing it again soon. If in doubt, save it to your desktop.
  8. Assuming you’re already logged into YouTube, go to their site and click the “Upload” button at the top right. You can also get to it by clicking this link.
  9. Click the “Select files to upload” button and choose the file you created in ProShow. From there it should be a matter of filling in the video details while the upload is in progress.
    CropperCapture[769]

Watching Your 60fps Videos on YouTube

YouTube takes a few minutes – or hours in some cases – to make each video resolution available in the player (240p, 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p). If you have an errand to run or are thinking about grabbing a bite to eat, now’s the time to do it. Once it’s finished creating each version of the video file, all you’ll need to do during playback is to click the gear icon at the bottom of your video and choose either 1080p60 or 720p60.

chromequalityraw

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments. In the meantime, here’s the demo video for ProShow Producer 6, which you can watch in 60fps with Google Chrome.

TIPS:

  • For this video to work well, you’ll need to make sure that you have a fairly modern system with the newest graphics drivers installed.
  • If 1080p60 does not play back smoothly, try 720p60, which will be less hardware-intensive.
Dec
2

Author:

Make a Holiday ‘Thank You’ Video for your Photography Clients

Holiday Video Slideshows

Looking for a great way to reach out to your photography clients around the holidays? Try making a ‘Thank You’ video slideshow. It’s a wonderful way to stay top-of-mind with clients during the busy holiday season and takes just a few minutes to put together a professional video you can share online or burn to DVD.

So how do you put it together? It’s simple. Gather a selection of images and video clips and use ProShow to turn them into a short video slideshow with a holiday message at the end. You can use images you’ve already captured for your clients from throughout the year or from a holiday mini session.

ProShow slideshow software makes it easy to put together a short ‘Thank You’ video and there are a ton of free downloadable holiday templates (see below) ready to go. Finished videos can be easily burned to DVD, Blu-ray or delivered as an email link – my personal favorite choice because it takes the least amount of time and is instantly viewable and shareable!

Free Holiday FX for ProShow

The following FX are available for ProShow Gold, ProShow Producer and ProShow Web. Be sure and stay tuned for all-new holiday FX coming next week!

Watch the video below from photographer Todd Nichols. He puts together visual holiday greetings like this for his clients around the holidays using ProShow Web. He used the Holiday Nostalgia FX and theme to make this video.

A Few Helpful Tips

  • Add your website URL at the end of your video so when your clients share the video (with friends, family and other potential clients), they will know where to go to reach you.
  • This type of video also makes a great ‘Year End’ or ‘Wrap Up’ video for your photography studio. Use images from some of your favorite shoots from throughout the year and turn them into a video slideshow. You can post it on your blog, Facebook page and more to advertise your business!
  • Don’t just limit ‘Thank You’ videos to the holidays. Make it part of your services to send a Thank You video to each client after a session. They’ll love seeing their photos come to life on the big screen.
  • Try adding in a few video clips into the mix. People love the surprise of a short video in a slideshow.

Make a video slideshow for the holidays with ProShow. Get started with ProShow for free >

Nov
28

Author:

ProShow Black Friday Sale is Here

ProShow Black Friday Sale

Our Black Friday sale is here! Get 20% off everything at www.photodex.com including ProShow software and upgrades, ProShow Web subscriptions, and our entire FX collection. Use the code ‘BLACKFRIDAY14‘ to get instant savings. Sale ends at midnight on Monday, December 1, 2014.

Now’s a great time to upgrade to ProShow 6 or stock up on any Effects Packs you’ve had your eye on. Not sure which pack to get? Transition Pack 2 and Effects Pack 6 continue to amaze and impress ProShow users around the world with their innovative new styles and effects. Browse our entire FX collection here and watch demos of each exciting pack to see how you can add instant excitement to your ProShow slideshows!

 

Nov
26

Author:

Quick Tip: Create a Wizard Theme Automatically in ProShow 6

ProShow’s Wizard feature is an easy way to make a quick slideshow of your photos and videos without having to manually apply slide styles and transitions.  Just insert your photos, titles, videos and music, then pick a theme and ProShow will do the rest. The resultant slideshow may need a few tweaks here and there before you’re finished, but in almost all cases you’ll end up saving yourself a lot of time.

Still, some users prefer to start from scratch and build their show by inserting an image, applying an effect and repeating the process until finished.  There are several reasons for this. Perhaps they have a show that is precisely timed to the beat of their music tracks. Often times, however, they find that the Wizard doesn’t apply the effects that they prefer to use the most frequently.

Today I’m going to show you a new feature in version 6 of ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer that allows you to generate a new theme automatically based on a slideshow you’ve already created.

Creating a Custom Wizard Theme

  1. First load a show that you’ve already created, preferably one that contains slide styles and transitions that you use frequently.
  2. Go to the Tools menu at the top of ProShow and click Manage Effects.
    ManageEffects
  3. In the Effects window click on the “Themes” tab at the top right.
    ThemesTab
  4. Click the Create button at the bottom of the window
    CreateButton
  5. In the “Create a New Theme” window, give it a name and check the box “Use the effects in the current show”.  Click OK.
    CustomTheme
  6. In the Edit Theme window, you can further refine your theme by adding/removing certain effects according to your taste. Otherwise, just press Apply and your theme will be created.

Note: Your theme might need to be augmented with slide styles from the “Captions & Titles” category if the show you used as your basis did not include any caption styles. Failure to do so may mean that your Wizard theme may not apply styles to captions. Likewise, you’ll want to make sure your theme has styles appropriate for landscape, portrait and square images, since many styles are applied according to image orientation.

Using Your New Theme In The Wizard

After you’ve created a new theme, you can now use it when you start a new show in the Wizard.  Just go to File > New Show from Wizard, then follow the steps with adding your images/videos, titles, and music. On “Step 3: Theme”, choose the new theme you created above. Click Next and ProShow will work its magic.

WizardTheme

Even if you don’t use the Wizard to start your shows, you can always select a handful of slides in your current show and use the “Remix” feature to automatically apply styles and transitions based on your custom theme.  To this, select a group of slides (click on the first slide, then hold the shift key and click on the last slide) and choose “Remix Selected Slides with Wizard” from the Slide menu.

RemixSelectedSlides

Hopefully this quick tip will help you create slideshows in your own personal style without having to start your show from scratch and orchestrate every detail. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Nov
21

Author:

Creating Dynamic Video Slideshows on the Road with ProShow

Today’s guest post comes from photographer Rob Knight.

I led my sixth photo workshop in Costa Rica this past September. I decided to expand the trip from my usual seven day-six night schedule to a full nine days and eight nights. The extra two days allowed the group to relax and enjoy more shooting and instruction.

I held a contest at the end of the workshop to see who could come up with the most dynamic ProShow slideshow. I was not surprised that the best show was created by Kathy Veitch. Kathy has been a student of mine for several years and this was her fourth trip to Costa Rica with me! She won a one-year pro subscription to ProShow Web courtesy of my amigos at Photodex.

I thought I would share some of my tips for using ProShow Web for creating slideshows on the road:

  1. Create multiple short slideshows for a long trip. If you take a long trip that’s focused on
    photography you will probably want to come home with lots of great images and videos. Resist the urge to put ALL of your favorites into one long slideshow. Instead create several “episodes” that feature content from different events, locations, etc. during the trip. If you use YouTube you can create a playlist to keep all of the episodes together so that your viewers can find all of the related slideshows in one place.

  2. Plan your slideshows in advance. Usually I create ProShow Web slideshows by organizing content I have already captured, but sometimes it’s fun to go out with a specific show in mind. You don’t need to have a script or anything, just an idea of a story that you want to tell using a series of images and/or videos. Think of it as an animated photo essay.
  3. Use text overlays to inform your viewers. ProShow Web makes it easy to create attractive title pages to let folks know what your slideshows are about. You can go as simple or elaborate as you like, but titles can add context to your slideshow and let your viewers know what to expect.
  4. Include video clips in addition to your still photographs. Pretty much every camera shoots video these days. I find that including a few video clips in a slideshow adds a lot to the dynamic feel of the finished show. I generally use clips around ten seconds long. If the clips are much longer they slow the pace of the show. Clips that are shorter than ten seconds are barely on the screen long enough to make much of an impact.
  5. Upload your content over night. If you travel a lot you know it can be a challenge to find decent internet service, and Costa Rica is certainly no exception. It can be very frustrating to upload several images and videos to ProShow Web via a slow connection. In order to avoid the frustration I usually set up my upload before I go to bed in the evening. That way I don’t worry about how long it takes and by morning my content is uploaded and ready to go. Once the content is in ProShow Web a slow connection is not as much of a problem because you are not moving large chunks of data back and forth.

ProShow Web is a great way to share your travel photography in a dynamic and entertaining way. With a few tips and a little practice you can create great slideshows on the road in no time!

 

Nov
19

Author:

Optimize Your TV and DVD Player For Best Playback Quality

tvqualityheader

Since we’re nearing the holiday season, chances are that you’ll be spending time with family and maybe even sharing your slideshow creations with them too. For me, this also happens to be the time when I realize how poorly set up some of my family members’ TV sets are. Whether it’s watching “stretch-o-vision” at my parents’ house or watching a DVD on a player that’s hooked up with a video cable standard from the 80s, it can be a little hard to resist the urge to try and improve their technology rather than spending time with them.

There can be many points of potential quality loss in your slideshow viewing setup. The factory settings on your TV, for example, are usually not the best. Your DVD or Blu-ray player can also be hooked up or set up in a less than optimal way. And finally, your DVD output settings may not be optimal for your slideshow. Today I’m going to show you how to make sure that your slideshows look as good as they can on your television.

DVD Settings

When creating a DVD in ProShow Gold or ProShow Producer, there are several options that can determine how good your slideshows look. In the Options tab of the Create DVD window, look for the following options:

  • DVD Type: This determines what bitrate is used on your DVD, which in turn determines the overall quality of the video. To get the most quality and compatibility on your disc, choose “DVD HQ (High Quality – Safe)”. There is a tradeoff between the quality you set and the amount of video that can fit on a disc – High Quality Safe gives you roughly an hour – so if you have more than an hour total, consider buying a dual-layer DVD+R DL disc or spanning your project over multiple standard-capacity discs.  On the other hand, “DVD SP (Standard Play)” will give you 2 hours on a standard DVD and is not necessarily a huge trade-off in quality.
  • TV System: This will default to NTSC, which is the standard for North America, Central America, some of South America, and Japan. Please see this wiki article to see if you should be changing this to PAL. Failure to choose right video standard could mean poor playback performance or that your DVD simply does not play in your player.
  • Anti-Flicker: This option has a pretty significant effect on your DVD quality, but the setting you choose will largely be dependent on what type of slideshow you’re creating. Slideshows with mostly still images and still text will see a noticeable improvement in sharpness by unchecking anti-flicker.  On the other hand, if your images are doing lots of panning, zooming, and rotating and you have crisp text with motion, you’ll likely want to keep this checked to prevent distracting flickering on the DVD. For context, anti-flicker applies a slight blur to the video to counteract the vertical flickering that is inherent in interlaced video.
  • Desaturation: This option is largely a legacy concern for older tube televisions, though if your HDTV’s colors are oversaturated, it can be useful here as well. Still, I find unchecking the Desaturation option to be the most appropriate setting for a well-calibrated HDTV.
  • Video Clip Quality: This option determines the scaling method for the elements in your show when creating the DVD video stream. When choosing “High Quality” the benefits are often not noticeable and the rendering time is increased significantly. Choose High Quality if you’d like, but I tend to leave this setting on Normal.

DVDsettings

DVD / Blu-ray Player

The DVD player itself is where I notice most people lose quality. The DVD player you bought in the late 90s or early 2000s probably still works, so there’s no need to upgrade it, right?  Actually, many of the early DVD players were made for tube televisions, and they may be making your DVDs look worse than they should on your HDTV.

The type of cable that’s used to connect your player to your TV is very important. If possible, make sure your player is hooked up via HDMI, or perhaps component cables (red, green, and blue video cables with red and white audio cables). Hooking up via S-video or Composite (yellow video cable with red and white audio cables) is going to make your DVDs look bad. If your DVD player only has Composite or S-Video, it’s time to think about getting a new DVD player or Blu-ray player. A Blu-ray player should have both HDMI output and 1080p upscaling, so this is the safest bet, even if you are only going to play DVDs on it.

cablecomparisonchart

The settings on the DVD player can also have an effect on the quality you see on your TV. Here are some general guidelines:

  • If your DVD player supports upconverting to 1080i or 1080p, make sure this is enabled. You will at least need component or HDMI for this feature to work correctly (or at all).
  • Make sure your DVD player is set up for the right type of television. In your player’s setup menu, you’ll likely be able to choose whether you have a widescreen 16×9 television or a 4×3 television. Assuming you have an HDTV, set it to 16×9.
  • If there’s a progressive scan option, enable it.  This will not work if you are using composite (yellow, red, and white) connections.

 

Your Television

An HDTV exhibiting horizontal stretching and overscan

There are a few options on modern HDTVs that are on by default that negatively affect your viewing experience. Here are some things to check for:

  • Overscan: To hide bad areas at edges of analog broadcasts and video sources, many TVs will zoom the picture in slightly.  This means that your DVD slideshows are going to be cut off. I always recommend turning off the overscan, but the proper way to do this is different on every TV. Your best best is to do a Google search for ‘Turn off overscan on [your brand or model] TV’.
  • Aspect ratio: When viewing analog or 4×3 sources, some viewers quickly reach for the remote to zoom or – gasp – stretch the video so that it fills the screen. While this is largely a matter of preference, many users forget to turn it back to the appropriate aspect ratio setting when they’re on a 16×9 source.  If you have an aspect ratio or picture size button on your TV remote, press it and make sure it’s set to “Normal” rather than Wide or Stretch.
  • Sharpening: Sharpening is almost always a destructive option, and it’s usually enabled to some degree on HDTVs. Note that sharpness cannot actually be added, it can only be approximated – often poorly – by the TV’s software. Look in your picture settings and turn this down, if not all the way down.
  • Motion Smoothing: A common feature on TVs with 120hz or 240hz refresh rates is motion smoothing. This feature takes whatever signal you have coming in, then creates new video frames between the existing frames via interpolation. The problem is that it’s impossible to do this correctly, and so there are going to be side effects like the occasional jerk or loss of fluidity compared to the rest of the time. Not to mention, it gives many videos an unnaturally smooth look. Your favorite movie may look like a soap opera with this option enabled. You’ll need to figure out what this feature is called on your TV – see this article – and find out how to turn it off either via the owners manual or a Google search.

Hopefully these tips will help you get the most out of your setup. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section.

How-To + Tutorials

What Does Your Promotional Video Say About You?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Photo by Kristen Jensen. Promotional videos are a great way to introduce yourself to potential clients, show off your style, personality and a collection of your best shots….

Upload Your Slideshows to YouTube at 60 Frames Per Second

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

“Why does my slideshow not look smooth when I upload it to YouTube?”  It’s a question I get from time to time, and I have to explain that…

Make a Holiday ‘Thank You’ Video for your Photography Clients

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Looking for a great way to reach out to your photography clients around the holidays? Try making a ‘Thank You’ video slideshow. It’s a wonderful way to stay…

Optimize Your TV and DVD Player For Best Playback Quality

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Since we’re nearing the holiday season, chances are that you’ll be spending time with family and maybe even sharing your slideshow creations with them too. For me, this…