Recently, we discussed the idea of using picture and video slideshow apps as an alternative to video editing programs to achieve the Tribute video you’re trying to create. They all allow the inclusion and editing of video segments, and allow music and narration tracks as well. Each have their strengths and weaknesses. Here we’ll do a review of select picture and video slideshow maker apps. We’ll discuss four of them below. Titles are hotlinks to the software's website.
Fotomagico is a mature and capable slideshow maker capable of so much. It is based on an easy to use picture zoom capability and uses a two panel approach representing the start point and end point of the zoom. Since this is the basic effect used in so many documentaries (often called the “Ken Burns” effect), it’s a great way to start. It links to your photo and iTunes libraries so that you can select from you’re existing libraries without having to import. It allows for animated text effects and fades between music. There are dozens of transitions and effects. It handles video and audio beautifully, including transitions. And, it’s entirely logical in its layout. FotoMagico is at version 5, with version six now in beta. FotoMagico Pro is $99.99, although regular FotoMagico which eliminates the narration track, timeline view (regular edit view is all you need, really) and a few other things is $59.99. I’ve used FotoMagico to produce image-heavy montage segments within larger videos and was amazed at how much I could get done such a small amount of time. If you’re on a real hard deadline, this could be the way to go. Note that if you need to burn to DVD, you’ll need an extra program, like Roxio TOAST, to do so. However, DVD’s are only standard definition, and you’ll want something higher def for larger audiences or professional situations. Fotomagico outputs up to 4K resolution
Movavi Slideshow Maker is cross-platform and is a very capable application, thinking like a full fledged video editor, but adding shortcuts and capabilities directed at photographs and other single images. Importing photos and music is easy. The capabilities of the program are laid out neatly on the upper left side– effects, transitions, text, titles, animations, asset library. It allows for more than one audio track, so that end of song mixes are possible, and narration tracks can be on their own track for mixing music up and down as necessary. Importantly, the simple, important transitions such as dissolves and fades are smooth, and the nuttier ones are impressive although I would use them sparingly– for humorous segments as an example. It’s cross platform capability doesn’t cheat one OS over another. It handles video imports much the same way, using the same cutting and editing tools you would expect. It also imports them with audio track attached. It uses the magnetic timeline concept developed by Apple, so anything added to the timeline slips into place. Transitions are easy to place– the timeline marker finds the connecting point between the two clips and you simply drag the transition from the bin to the selected mid-point. Zooms and similar transitions can be edited if necessary. Movavi Slideshow Maker is priced at $39.99, a bargain for all that it does. If you want DVD, will require an outside program to author DVD from your finished product output.
Wondershare had a program called “DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe, and while it is still available, Wondershare has stopped promoting it and it is hard to find it on its website. My guess is it is at its end of life. However, Wondershare’s main offering, Filmora X, is offered as a video editor, but offers outstanding capability as a slide-based editor as well. Most slideshow apps allow you to add video segments to their show flow, but Filmora X has in depth capabilities for both stills and video, as it is considered a video editing tool first and foremost.
As such, because Filmora X wants to play at the high end of the prosumer market, there’s very little limitation in what can be accomplished. It has multiple video, audio, and test tracks. Audio can be layered for fade in /fade outs, and narration can be placed on a separate track as well. It automatically keyframes camera movement effects like zoom in, pan, zoom out, etc, but gives you the ability to modify them with keyframes as well. It has a plethora of title templates, fx, transitions, animation and positioning possibilities, and some of their purchase pans include a stock footage library. Importing assets like images, video and music is easy. Despite all this power, the layout is logical and easy to understand. Wondershare offers an unusual pricing structure for Wondershare Filmora X, as it has gone to per year pricing ($44.99) on the low end, then steps up to “perpetual” ownership ($69.99) which means you own it forever with new effects added every month, and a “bundle” plan ($104.87 annually) that includes the effects updates plus a free footage library for a year as well. I liked what I saw in my testing. A separate program, Filmora Video Converter, allows you to translate your video into any format as well as create DVDs from your master file.
Magix Photostory Deluxe inherits much of its editing logic from Magix’ line of Vegas video editors. As you’ve read elsewhere here, I heartily recommend the Vegas products so I heartily recommend this product as well. PhotoStory assumes you’ll be working with stills, but also lets you edit video. Key components are shown above the asset window the upper right, including text, special effects, transitions, visuals and audio. Each audio component can have its own edit track, so slipping and sliding for audio transitions requires nothing more than proper positioning
And like Vegas, images can be slid on the same track into the tail end of other images, automatically creating a naturally “mix” between the two.
Special effects are found all in one place, and there are a ton of them. Most importantly, the zoom in style functions are automatic, but can be easily edited with keyframes either before or after the effect is added to the picture on the timeline. Slideshows can be output up to 4K in resolution, for excellent presentation before large crowds. And the current sale price for Magix Photostory Deluxe is $49.99 which includes 2 extra packages of effects and capabilities. DVD burning is built in.
I’ve shown here only the slideshow apps that I feel will adequately give you the quality and capability you need. There are many others, but those I have not listed may have some limitations I consider disqualifying, like limited picture zoom capability. All the above feature capabilities I desire, such as adequate zooming and positioning capability, robust transition choices, a plethora of picture effects, decent text and titling, and multiple tracks for creativity in transitions, overlays and audio mixing. Te choice is up to you, and most of these apps have free trials, so experiment and find the one that suits you and view of editing the best!