Apple gives our Macs a lot of professional level capability. Just look at what you get in iLife (still free on each new Mac).
For example, iPhoto lets us take our digital pictures and create an attractive photo slide show, complete with background music, with just a few clicks.
How does the end result look? Great, right? Not as good as what you get with this Mac application.
My Mac is loaded with nearly everything from Apple—from iLife to Aperture to Final Cut Studio. iPhoto on my Mac has half a dozen different libraries, and about 14,000 digital photos.
If you’re like me, you’ve used iPhoto to create slick and sassy photo slide shows. What could be easier? Select the photos you want, drop them into an album, re-arrange them, add some background music, click a few more times, you’re done.
The result is an attractive, competent slide show which you can send to friends, burn onto CDs or DVDs, or create a QuickTime movie. That’s all well and good but what happens when you see a really professional photo slide show on a Mac?
It makes you want to figure out how you can do the same thing. Whatever slide show you’ve seen that blows your socks off, FotoMagico can do it.
Late last year one of my sons asked me to do a slide show for his wedding. You know how that works.
People give you a thousand different photos to scan, you put them in some appropriate order (chronological seems to work for most), string them together and add up the time.
A 37 minute slide show is probably a bit much, huh? Then you edit, drop some photos, add quick transitions to others, and do your best to reduce the show to something less than an afternoon nap for the audience.
In the case of my son’s slide show, I knew just exactly what to do. First, I had plenty of their childhood photos already stored in iPhoto. Second, photos of the bride to be had to be digitized (delegation is one of those lovely things that adults can do, that children in need of adult services cannot).
That saved a day or so of laborious scanning. Third, I let the bride and groom select the music, but I was in charge of matching the selected photos to the background. Somebody has to be in charge, right? Besides, they were busy with other details.
I ended up with a few hundred photos and an arbitrary 10 minute objective for the slide show. The only question wasn’t really much of a question. iPhoto? Nope. Yes, it’s decent, but this was for a special wedding and required a few features not easily handled in iPhoto’s near auto slide generation capability.
Enter FotoMagico. Why? I wanted moving text on the screen. I wanted to match the slides, effects, and transitions to parts of the background music. Sorry, can’t do that in iPhoto.
My objective was to create a 10-minute masterpiece of video, audio, history, emotion, fun and fancy to culminate in a standing ovation. I was close. Ovation, yes. Standing, no.
FotoMagico is the master slide show application for the Mac. It easily grabs photos from iPhoto, or Aperture, or Adobe’s Lightroom, and lets you drag and drop them to the standard old iMovie-like timeline.
Then, drag and drop the music you want onto the timeline. Then sort and move photos around in whatever order is necessary for the show and to match the music.
FotoMagico has a workflow that lets you add movement to each slide, zoom in or add, pan left or right, up or down, drop in text elements which also move, just like on television commercials.
Slide show amateurs usually add 127 transitions and effects to their show. FotoMagico gives you precise control over each, how long a photo stays on screen, how long to transition to the next photo, including lingering pauses for effect.
A photo slide show is really a story. A slide show for your son or daughter’s wedding is a story of history and hope. iPhoto displays photo collections. FotoMagico lets you add emotion, timing, transitions that add effect, not detract from the show.
The interface is instantly intuitive and effective. Click on a slide and precision tools are available for use—transitions, effects, color, timing, location, and more. It’s almost easy to create a broadcast quality show with mere point and click.
FotoMagico also makes quick work of the finished product. What’s your goal? Slide show at a wedding or party? Or, a video on a DVD? Or, a video for your iPod or iPhone? Or, a web-based show? It doesn’t matter.
Preset export options make it easy to get your slide show prepared for the proper audience with just a few clicks.
Your Mac comes with many built in color and image enhancing tools, and FotoMagico takes advantage of them so you can modify photos on the fly with enhancements beyond iPhoto, yet never changing the original photo.
Your slide shows can be standalone, QuickTime movies, or part of iDVD or Roxio Toast. Slide shows can even be exported as high definition movies—HD 720 or HD 1080. Even export a slide show as a Mac OS X screensaver which you can share with other Mac users.
FotoMagico comes in two flavors, though both are quite easy to use. The basic version, Express, has most of the sharing functions, but lacks precise control over color, doesn’t have the watermark feature, and doesn’t integrate with Aperture or Lightroom.
The Pro version has all those features plus a built in teleprompter so you can auto narrate the slide show, and has more export options.
FotoMagico has won two Apple Design Awards the past two years, so you have an idea of how classy and effective it is, and how far beyond iPhoto slide shows you can get with just a few clicks.
What’s missing? Not much, but I have a few nits to pick. I like audio scrubbing; the ability to move the audio back and forth to get an image transition at just the right spot. Time code tracking would be handy, too. So would multiple audio tracks, picture in picture support, but these tend to be professional level needs.
For the rest of us, FotoMagico delivers quality photo slide shows that fully embarrass iPhoto and most of the other slide show apps for the Mac. Do you do photo slide shows? What do you use and why? Share your experience in the Comments section below.