Software/instructions to make a photo/music slideshow?
May 18, 2008 1:08 PM   Subscribe

Recommendations and instructions for easy-to-use Mac software to make a 5-minute slideshow / video (with music) of 100+ photos. I need to vary the time of some of the photos - Lightroom isn't sufficient for this task.

I us a MacBook Pro. I have Lightroom and use it extensively for managing my digital photo library. For this project I need a slideshow with more control. I need to be able to vary the time the slides are shown - some will be shown with longer intervals (4-5 seconds per image), some will be shown more quickly (1-2 seconds per image). I also want to choreograph the images with music. And ultimately, I need to run this from another computer that doesn't have Lightroom. When you expert a slideshow from Lightroom, it doesn't export with music.

It tried Garage Band, but was endlessly frustrated by the difficulty I had in getting each image to start at the right time, end and the right time, and segue easily to the next image. I don't have 40 hours to spend on this 5-minute slideshow project!

What I'm hoping for is some way to add a group of photos all in one step - with a standard interval and segue between them, and then be able to easily adjust the start time of each image to match the music. Is there any software that can easily do this?

I have the CS3 Suite, but was equally frustrated trying to use Premiere for this. Maybe I just don't have enough experience with it. If this can be easily done in Premiere, I'd love some instructions on how to accomplish that!

posted by jcdill to Computers & Internet (22 answers total)
I did this exact thing in iMovie. Surprisingly easy to do actually. You can import or drag and drop your photos into iMovie and it will lay them out in the timeline for you. You can then change the interval between the photos and add music etc.... It came out looking great. You should also be able to add video alongside the photos if you wanted.
posted by eatcake at 1:19 PM on May 18, 2008

iMovie is great for this, and comes pre-installed on most Macs, as far as I know. I really don't know what else to say... it does exactly what you're asking for. Setting the timing of images is easy.
posted by chudmonkey at 1:21 PM on May 18, 2008

iMovie is awesome. And there is iView MediaPro.
posted by tkchrist at 1:39 PM on May 18, 2008

I recall finding this easier to do in Motion Pictures, which you may have if you have Roxio Toast, because it didn't tie up the CPU with rendering until I was finished setting up all the durations and transitions.

This was before the latest (completely rewritten/redesigned) version of iMovie so this may now be a moot point. But it's something else to look at if iMovie doesn't end up being right for you.
posted by bcwinters at 2:25 PM on May 18, 2008

Have you tried Animoto? I actually haven't, but I heard an interview with the people behind that project on a podcast. It's supposed to take your music and images, and combine them into a video slideshow. My impression is that you can put cues into it, to give better control over which images are emphasized, etc. There are free and pay versions, with the pay versions allowing you to create longer videos, possibly give you more control, etc.
posted by chengjih at 2:34 PM on May 18, 2008

Keynote might be able to do this, too.
posted by danhon at 2:41 PM on May 18, 2008

Response by poster: I am trying this with iMovie, and I'm not seeing how I can change the interval for a group of photos. When I imported the photos iMovie decided they should all be shown for 5 seconds each. Most will be shown for 4-5 seconds (depending on the music) but I have about 30 that will only be shown for 1-2 seconds each. How can I change the interval for this set (all at once) in iMovie?

I need to know the STEPS to accomplish this, in whatever program I'm using. It's incredibly frustrating to be told "oh, foo can do that" but then after I spend the time to get/install foo, import my files, etc., I can't figure out how to get it to do what i need. :-(
posted by jcdill at 3:54 PM on May 18, 2008

iPhoto will do (it does this very well, actually...), but perhaps either Pulpmotion or PhotoMagico from will give you some more advanced options.
posted by KimG at 5:09 PM on May 18, 2008

ups. Pulpmotion is from
posted by KimG at 5:10 PM on May 18, 2008

OK, in iMovie

You'll have to change them individually if you've already placed them in iMovie.

You can accomplish this by double-clicking on one of the pictures in the time line and a dialog box will appear allowing you to change the name of the "clip" as well as the duration.

Duration 0:07:00 = seven (7) seconds.

If you only have one clip in the timeline, adjust it's time to whatever you need for most of the clips. Any additional photos you add will have the same duration.

Hope this helps. YMMV.
posted by bach at 7:57 PM on May 18, 2008

How can I change the interval for this set (all at once) in iMovie?
You can set the timing of each set of pictures as you import them using the slider - see below*.
You can also adjust the timings after the pictures are imported:
1. 'Shift' (if they are all together) or 'Command' (if they are scattered throughout the show) 'Select' them.
2. In the top right hand (where you see the preview) use the hare and tortoise slider to adjust the timing. *This is where you can set initial timings for each imported batch.
3. Click 'Update'
Here's an example screen. Two previously imported pictures (0005 [originally 3:18] and 0243 [originally 1:13]) have been 'Command Selected' (see green circles) and the timing changed to 9:10 (see red circle).
posted by tellurian at 8:24 PM on May 18, 2008

Response by poster: Tellurian, can you tell me how you get that view in iMovie? Here's the view I have, and I can't find any way to change to the view shown in your screenshot.
posted by jcdill at 1:51 AM on May 19, 2008

Whoa! Yes, that's a really different view. I'm at home right now but when I get back to work tomorrow we need to compare iMovie versions. I suspect I'm in the 'easy to to use early version' that doesn't have a ton of features but it's what I'm familiar with and use. Sorry for the misdirection if that's the case.
I do see that you have non-contiguous shots elected though. What's available under the 'Edit' when you do that?

Heh! As an aside. Is that a Pamplona running of the bulls whilst wearing a guitar thing?
posted by tellurian at 6:54 AM on May 19, 2008

I am using iMovie 4.0.1.
posted by tellurian at 4:29 PM on May 19, 2008

Response by poster: I have iMovie 7.1.1 - this is what came with my MacBook Pro. Does anyone here have any experience or help for me with this software?

This is terribly frustrating. I assumed that after 3 people in a row said this was the right software that I could invest some time in using this software, and so far it's been a huge disappointment.

The photos are from KFOG KaBoom. Here are the photos I'm putting into this slide show.
posted by jcdill at 6:12 PM on May 19, 2008

Response by poster: KimG, can you tell me how I can set different duration for slides in iPhoto? Because I don't see that option at all. Also, I don't see an option to export or save it so I can play it on a different computer.
posted by jcdill at 6:18 PM on May 19, 2008

I've got 7.1.1. Which is the most recent version. I'm not sure I understand why you're having so much difficulty.

Once you have the photos in the time line, you can just right-click (or control-click) on them and select "Set Duration". Then you can select the length of time you want the photo to last in the movie and whether you want to apply that time just to the selected photo or all the photos.

Depending on the transition you select, for example to fade one photo out and fade the next one in or dissolve or whatever, you just need to make sure that you have enough "length" to cover the transition. What I mean by that is that if you have 2 3-second long photos and you want the fade-out-fade-in to last 3 seconds, that will eat into 1.5 seconds on the end and beginning of the 2 photos that are affected.
posted by eatcake at 9:37 PM on May 19, 2008

Oh yeah, you can also drag the end or beginning of a clip to make it longer or shorter.

When you're done you want to go to Share => Export Movie or Export using Quicktime depending on what you want to do with it. If you're watching it on another computer you can use Quictime. Otherwise Export Movie will give you some options on quality setting etc....
posted by eatcake at 9:42 PM on May 19, 2008

Response by poster: eatcake, I tried it in 7.1.1. and it doesn't work like you say. I can select a group of photos easily enough, and I can click on the icon to adjust the time, but I can't edit the time for all the selected photos. There are only two options, apply to selected photo (singular) or apply to all photos (ALL photos, not just the selected ones). I created a new project to test this - imported 6 photos, selected 3, and tried both options. Apply to selected photo only edits the time for 1 photo (even though 3 are selected) while apply to all photos edits the time for all 6 (even though only 3 are selected).

I'm also having problems with iMovie changing the time of images when something else (music, adding or removing other images?) changes. Now I have a bunch of images with fractional times, and the timing is off.

It's looking like this program is NOT going to do what I need.

Before I waste even more time finding/downloading/installing/trying the other programs people have "suggested" I'd appreciate it if anyone who has recommended a program could please verify if the program does what I said I needed. I came to MeFi because I was told that people here had better suggestions than often given on other sites. So far, it seems that everyone has simply guessed if their suggestion would work, rather than take the time to make sure their suggestion would work, and I've wasted even more time by trying to use the recommended and suggested software, when it doesn't do the simple things I need it to do. :-(
posted by jcdill at 3:17 PM on May 20, 2008

So far, it seems that everyone has simply guessed if their suggestion would work
Not so jcdill. I took time and effort to help you. It seems there is a reduced feature set in your version of iMovie. So I suggest you investigate this option and quit your whining.
posted by tellurian at 4:50 PM on May 20, 2008

Well I'm not sure how much more help I can give you without being at the computer with you. I would check Software Update to make sure there are no misc iLife 08 updates that might fix things (if it's a software issue indeed). If there aren't, go under the help menu and select Video Tutorials. Take a look at a couple and see if they don't cover your difficulties.

It's possible that your project might be just complex enough for iMovie not to be able to do everything you need.
posted by eatcake at 5:07 PM on May 20, 2008

From what I understand, FotoMagico is the perfect tool for this sort of thing.
posted by the biscuit man at 8:56 PM on May 20, 2008

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