Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Photo Slideshows


When I want to make a photo slideshow, I use three criteria in choosing an application or service:

1. What’s the output need to be? In other words, how do I need to display it?

2. How much pizazz does it need to have to meet the intended goal?

3. How much time do I have to put it together?

I have made photo slideshows using various applications. Everyone seems to have a favorite, and I like to try out different ones. Depending on my answers to the above questions, many of these services and programs are acceptable.

I have used RockYou to make photo slideshows to embed on blogs and web pages. (Here’s an example of one that runs on our third graders’ Flat Stanley Blog. It’s on the right hand side.) RockYou is very simple to use and does the trick on such occasions when we want to spice up our online work.

I also have built slideshows using iMovie. This endeavor is a bit more time consuming because it allows a perfectionist like myself to tailor each picture with special effects, sounds and music into a movie that can be shared to iDVD. Like the name implies, one then creates a DVD menu, and presto, the slideshow movie can be saved as a disc image and burned to a DVD to play in any computer or DVD player hooked up to a T.V.

Last week,  I needed to build a photo slideshow that was important to me in my personal life. I needed a tool that easily could be exported as a movie and burned to a DVD to play on a large, flat screen T.V. I had over 200 images that I wanted to include. The majority of my time had to be spent scanning old photographs; therefore, I couldn’t get hung up in a program with too many options. Yet, I wanted something that looked professional and had style. I needed help with organization as well.

iPhoto was my answer. Creating an album of my digital pictures and newly scanned images was for the most part simple. (Side note: I did have one issue with my scanned images, and I’m not sure if it were my scanner or iPhoto. I found that iPhoto did not accept images that I scanned and saved as JPEGs. If I scanned the pictures as TIFs, then it had no issues. Of course, my digital camera photos were JPEGs, and iPhoto was fine with them.) Dragging in the images into the program and album took under a minute.

I even used the Faces feature of iPhoto to help me sort through pictures that were in iPhoto already. Faces is so cool. It is facial recognition. Essentially, you name people in your photos, and then iPhoto’s Faces will start to look for these people. You train it by confirming or declining its attempts. This is very handy when you’re trying to put together an album (and eventual slideshow) of an individual or group of individuals. It saves time for you since you don’t have to flip through your photos in your archives and drag each one by one into the album. If you have a lot of photos that have never been organized by events, this can be a nightmare to pull something together quickly. If you have been “on top of things” as you have been loading photos into iPhoto, such as titling events and naming Faces, then making that album is a piece of cake. (Yes, an ideal world!)

Once the photos are in the album, you can choose to make a slideshow with transitions and music. In the iPhoto 09 version, you actually have some choices beyond the traditional dissolve and mosiac transitions. You can choose a theme, such as classic, Ken Burns, scrapbook, shatter, sliding panels and snapshot. Music still can be set to the album’s show with your choice of timing. I found this new theme feature to be extremely user friendly, and it gave me the professional output I wanted very quickly. Most importantly, it did not bock at my 216 photos with six songs that ran for over 18 minutes. It played beautifully every time. And I watched it a lot as I needed to keep rearranging the photos to an order that pleased me. (I’m a perfectionist, remember.)

The only snafu I ran into was using the Share menu to send the album/slideshow to iDVD. When I used this menu, the photos arrived in iDVD quickly, but they lost the theme, and I could only pick a traditional transition. The key was that one needs to Export (from the File menu). You can choose to export in all kinds of formats, too. I chose a custom export and choose after some trial and error movie to Apple TV. My end goal was for the slideshow to play on a widescreen TV. (Later, I did go back and export it for an iPod as well, so I could enjoy it on my Touch.) I then had to open iDVD myself and drag and drop the exported movie file to my iDVD project. Not totally seamless, but not so bad.

In the end, the finished DVD movie played wonderfully, showcasing the life of a loved one to a hundred guests.

iPhoto came through for me. It’s my new favorite way to manage photos. I would love to know how people integrate it into the curriculum with students.

by posted under Management | 3 Comments »    
3 Comments to

“Photo Slideshows”

  1. March 16th, 2010 at 9:26 am       Suzanne Whitlow Says:

    I love using iPhoto for easy slideshows. I often select music of the students singing a song to attach to it, then export out into Quicktime format. Great idea. Thanks for reminding me how easy iPhoto is.

  2. March 17th, 2010 at 12:30 pm       Patti Hayes Says:

    Thanks for these tips. Ihadn’t heard of other tools besides IPhoto and IMovies. I will definitely experiment with all the tools you suggested.


  3. March 17th, 2010 at 3:41 pm       ktenkely Says:

    iPhoto is such a powerful tool, the facial recognition is so handy for schools and classrooms. I really enjoyed reading your process of deciding which tool to use for each project. That is often the trickiest part for me, choosing which tool to use.

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