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|Product:||Photodex ProShow Gold|
Photodex ProShow Gold - Nowadays, slideshow creators such as ProShow Gold from Photodex will make a masterpiece of imagery out of the most bland pictures. Matt Grayson puts his to the test.
Alongside ProShow Standard and Producer, ProShow Gold is one of three ProShow products available, providing additional functionality such as high quality DVD recording, web loading and motion effects.
- 500Mhz+ higher
- 512Mb RAM
- DirectX 8.0 or better
- Super VGA (800x600) or higher resolution monitor
- CD/DVD writer for disc authoring
- Windows 2000/98/Me
- 70Mb hard drive space
Recommended System requirements
- 1Ghz+ processor
- 1Gb RAM
- DirectX 9.0 or better
- Super VGA (800x600) or higher resolution monitor
- DVD+R/RW and -R/RW writer for disc authoring
- Accelerated 3D graphics card with 64Mb RAM
- Windows XP
- 70Mb hard drive space for installation
Photodex ProShow Gold Installation
Installing the CD from the box takes a few minutes with the computer needing rebooting straight after. Although the program will work without rebooting, some errors or problems may occur with recognising the CD and DVD writers.
Photodex ProShow Gold What's new
In v.3.2, the amount of devices that the slideshow can be recorded onto has been increased to 20 including CD, DVD, SVCD, Apple iPhones, iPods and even the Nintendo Wii.
An easy upload to YouTube has been added whereby you can simply enter your YouTube username and password. ProShow Gold then does everything else for you, which is a great idea.
Layers to the slides, editing the images and adding motion effects to the slides are all new features in this version of Gold which, if you have simple editing to do to the images, it saves messing around in Photoshop or PSP first.
On top of these changes, the user interface has been improved with a timeline and audio waveform display.
Photodex ProShow Gold Overview
The program launches in a new window with eight tabs of file, edit, show, slide audio create, window and help.
Below are 15 more separate options and are split into four factions. Firstly are the document actions to start a new project, open an existing one or save progress. The icons are nicely displayed in a cartoonish style with muted colours.
The second faction is dedicated to four options that work the editing side of the program. The third is the options to add to the project features such as captions, backgrounds, music and motion whilst the fourth and final faction is simply to create an output of the project, be it a CD, DVD or loading it to the web.
Two main panes are situated below with the left one used to access the pictures you want to load to your slideshow and the right pane used as a preview window. At the bottom of the window is the layout of the project which will show the slides you've added, any transitions and effects as well as the music in a separate bar below.
Photodex ProShow Gold Creating a slideshow
The pictures can be loaded into the system by dragging and dropping. One thing I noticed is that I couldn't get any misplaced images to be moved to a different place if it was in the wrong order. I had to cut the image and reload it in the right place. Not a big problem, but it would be easier to drag them about within the editing pane and much less time-consuming.
Going to slide and insert will allow blank tiles to be added if, like me, you prefer to have a black screen with your titles. Otherwise, clicking on caption will allow you to add your titles to the image that is highlighted at the time.
There are many transitions available to use and a random one is loaded with each image automatically. These can be manipulated by clicking on the transition in the timeline and a new box will open showing all the transitions with a small preview window in the bottom left of the box.
There are three different types of transition and these are hard, double and soft. The hard transition will perform the simple wipe or cut. The double transition will wipe, cut or fade 50% of the previous image out before redoing the action to wipe the rest. The soft transition does the same as the hard one, but has a soft edge. This is a nice look, but the point where it starts from has a hard edge, which I'm not keen on.
The preview pane will play the slideshow to you when you want to view it. A small scale below the preview window also shows how much information is being used to create your slideshow. Clicking on the formats will scroll through CD, DVD, Web, VCD, SVCD and Exe, giving an indication of how much of the disc is going to be used up. This is a great idea.
Adding titles is a doddle, but isn't without its problems. I like to have the titles on a blank screen before the slideshow begins and I had three words in my title that I wanted to fade up independently so eventually, they would be on the screen all together. It was a seemingly impossible task until I found that instead of using the traditional transitions, I had to use the caption transitions and edit each individual word on each tile. This is despite the transitions window showing a preview of what I wanted to do.
Music has to be imported from a CD or other source. This obviously has copyright issues if you use your slideshow commercially or publically. I made my own music using a music production program.
I would like to have seen a royalty free music generator on the program. I think it would benefit from this and besides, most video editing systems have them these days.
The program also allows basic editing of images such as adding layers, red eye reduction, contrast, hue, saturation and sharpen to name but a few.
To output, I chose flash viewer as the file choice and my slideshow, which consists of 27 tiles and is two minutes 15 seconds long, took approximately 30 seconds to render and save.
Take a look at the slideshow I created on www.ephotozine.tv.
Photodex ProShow Gold Verdict
I've tried a few slideshow programs and this is by far the most extensive. Whilst the others were part of a multi-feature program, ProShow Gold is dedicated to slideshow production.
I've yet to try the Professional version and whilst Gold is tagged as available for professional use, I wouldn't recommend this if slideshows are a major part of your business. The elements are very good and a great slideshow can be produced with a fluent knowledge of the system, but I can't help feeling its not comprehensive enough for a professional model.
Extensive options for creation
Works similar to video editing platforms
Editing systems for images
Certain features are not easily explained
No music generator
EASE OF USE
Photodex ProShow Gold costs around $69.95 which converts to just under £35 using the Reuters currency converter.
For more purchasing information, take a look at Photodex website here.