Last week, I wrote a brief article about how I was creating slide shows for an iDVD project. After struggling too long with an iMovie bug that manifests itself with the Ken Burns effect applied to high resolution photos, I turned to iPhoto. My article didn’t go into details about it, but I asked readers to let me know if they wanted more information. Lauren commented that she did. So here’s a bit more detail.
I wanted to create a DVD that included still images we’d taken during several trips to points of interest in the Southwest. The DVD would be displayed at a trade show, so it needed to look good.
I like the Ken Burns effect that’s part of various Apple software programs. This effect, named for filmmaker Ken Burns, combines movement with zooming to add motion to still images. Mr. Burns uses this technique extensively in his historical documentaries to make old, still images more visually appealing and interesting to viewers. It, in effect, makes motion possible in images created before motion picture technology was available.
At least three Apple software programs utilize this effect: the System Preferences Screen Saver, iPhoto, and iDVD. I’m sure others do, too. If you know what they are, please don’t hesitate to list them in the Comments for this post.
The idea was to build a slide show using the effect, add music and titles, and include the resulting “movie” on my DVD.
iMovie Fails Miserably
I’d been using iMovie to build a slideshow using this effect, but the high-resolution photo bug was preventing me from getting the job done. This bug, which is under discussion on the Apple Support forums, blanks out an image when you attempt to apply the Ken Burns effect to it. This makes it impossible to manually apply the effect. Extremely frustrating.
I hope Apple does something to fix the bug soon.
iPhoto to the Rescue!
The solution I came up with was to create the slideshow movie in iPhoto and bring it into iMovie as a clip for a longer movie. I could also add chapter markers and title pages and all sorts of cool iMovie things to the project before pulling it into iDVD for menu stuff and burning.
Here’s one way to create a slide show movie in iPhoto. (Of course, there are other ways. This is the way I did it.)
- Open iPhoto.
- Create a new album and give it the name you want to use for your slideshow.
- Drag photos that you want to include in the slide show from any other album or the Library into the new album.
- Open the album you created.
- Drag the photos around to put them in the order in which you want them to appear.
- With the album’s contents displayed and no single image selected, click the Slide Show button at the bottom of the window. A new Slideshow album is created and displayed.
- Click the Settings button to display default settings for all the slides in the slide show.
- Choose a desired transition from the Transition pop-up menu.
- Toggle the check boxes so only the following ones are turned on:
- Scale photos to fill screen
- Automatic Ken Burns Effect
- Select the Fit slideshow to music radio button.
- Choose a format from the Slideshow Format pop-up menu. Don’t leave it set to Current Display; pick the option that corresponds to the format of your iMovie project.
- Click OK.
- Back in the slideshow album’s window, click the Music button.
- In the dialog sheet that appears, make sure the Play music during slideshow check box is turned on. Then use the dialog to locate and select the song you want to play during the slideshow and click OK.
You’re now ready to preview the slide show. Click the Play button, sit back, and watch the entire show.
Fine-Tuning the Presentation
While you watch the show, you may want to make notes about the order of the slides, the amount of time each slide appears (the longer the music, the move time per slide; the more slides, the shorter the time per slide), and the way the Ken Burns effect works on your images — particularly the vertical orientation (portrait) images. You can fine tune each image if you like by setting slide options. (This is where iMovie failed me, but iPhoto doesn’t seem to have the same bug.)
To change the order in which slides appear, drag them into a different order at the top of the slide show album’s window.
The following changes override the default settings for the slide show for a specific slide.
To set basic options for a specific slide:
- Select the slide you want to change.
- Choose options from the Effect or Transition pop-up menu.
To set Ken Burns Effect options for a specific slide:
- Select the slide you want to change.
- Turn on the Ken Burns Effect check box.
- If necessary, drag the slider to the Start position.
- Drag the zoom slider to the desired start magnification.
- In the image window, drag the image to the desired start view.
- Drag the slider to the End position.
- Drag the zoom slider to the desired end magnification.
- In the image window, drag the image to the desired end view.
The effect will move and zoom the image smoothly from the start to end settings.
Saving the Slide Show as an iDVD-Ready Movie
This is the painfully simple part of the job. Just choose Share > Send to iDVD.
iPhoto will create a slide show movie in QuickTime format and save it to your hard disk in the Movie folder. This may take some time — enough for a coffee or bathroom break.
When iPhoto is finished, it launches iDVD and places the movie in whatever Project was last used. You can use it there if you like or do what I did: delete it from the project, close the project without saving it, and quit iDVD. Then open your iMovie project and drag the icon for the movie into it. You can then add titles and chapter markers and other iMovie things to fancy it up.
What I like most about this technique is the quality of the movie. It’s pretty darn good — certainly good enough for DVD use on a regular television. And I don’t know if I’m imagining things, but it seems to be better than the slide shows I’ve created with iMovie.
Best of all, if you like the show with the default settings, it only takes minutes to create. In fact, your Mac is likely to take more time saving the slide show as a movie than you took to put it together.
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