by Tom Lee Published 01/11/2006
We had ambitions to report on the workings of a number of slide show-making applications but have been frustrated by the number of horror stories. It is impossible to know if the reported problems are the result of user incompetence orsimple hardware conflicts, but the upshot is that a number of people we spoke to had worked their way through several solutions before finding a compromise that worked. It seems that there is no universal, fast and easy solution.
At least they are not big investments to make. Many photographers provide both DVD and CD including, sometimes, a number of formats. This covers the options well but could confuse the user. Rest assured that your reputation will suffer if you fail to providea working disk, even if it is your client's equipment that is at fault. You also have to ensure that you do not get dragged into acting as your client's IT technician! A non-working CD or DVD is a particular problem if it is all you are to provide, ie a 'noalbum' deal - in those circumstances you have little option but to get things working.
The combination that seems to work most frequently is ProShow Gold or Pictures to Exe in combination with ULead Movie factory, we have even found people who use this set-up and report almost zero failures. It would be a good starting point. Tom Lee also reports almost zero failures using PicturesToExe, creating an AVI file there, before moving to Nero 6.6 to write the DVD. Tom reduces his files to1,024 pixels maximum, ahead of running P2E, which speeds the job up, improves the smoothness of transitions and reduces the encoding time to around 15 minutes, far faster than many reports we have heard.
To finish his workflow off professionally, Tom uses a TDK LPCW50 to do 'on-body' printing to the CD and then a bespoke CD case sleeve to complement the slide show. His slideshows are time limited, with 'Print Screen' disallowed and he provides two versions, one as a continuous running show with music and another which may be stepped through, one at a time, which also includes the image reference number. Tom asks his clients to mark up a laserprinted contact sheet into 'must haves', 'outright rejects' and 'not sures'. He uses the 'not sures' as fillers and backgrounds as he builds the album pages.
He finds that the vast majority of his clients have computers and, for the small number who do not, he provides larger paper proofs.
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