SLIDE SHOW PRODUCTION NOTES
There are two versions of Photodex slide show application software: "ProShow Gold" and "ProShow Producer." ProShow Gold is a very capable and powerful entry-level application able to produce very pleasing high quality, high resolution slide shows incorporating still photos, video clips, panning, zooming, audio, dozens of transitions and the ability to burn your production to DVD as well as other media formats. ProShow Producer is an advanced-capability slide show production application, bringing ProShow Gold to a new level with even more added features and capabilities that should satisfy the most detail-oriented individual's needs. With either version you can post your slide shows online for others to view as well as being able to output them in various other formats for different venues such as YouTube.
The original online viewing format for Photodex slide shows requires one to download and install the Photodex proprietary browser plug-in application "Presenter." This plug-in works for Photodex productions much like the "Flash" plug-in works with Adobe's Flash formatted presentations. The Presenter plug-in provides advanced dashboard control along with a display panel that works with all Photodex features to display and control high quality photo presentations in a slide show format.
As the Photodex "Presenter" plug-in isn't as widely known as is for example, Adobe's Flash plug-in, many have anxieties about downloading and installing this plug-in on demand, as would happen when they would try to view an on-line Photodex presentation. There have been isolated instances also whereby one would have problems installing the downloaded Presenter plug-in due to various protection processes involved with some of today's PCs such as Operating System (Vista, etc.) protection schemes, installed Anti-everything software such as Norton Internet Security, or other such system protection applications. This would add to the concerns of those potential viewers of a Photodex show, causing a reluctance to do so as a result of these issues.
Another problem with the Photodex "Presenter" plug-in is that it is NOT compatible with MAC computers. This of course limits the viewing audience to those having a PC running Windows Operating Systems.
Photodex has a workaround for problems experienced by those not able to install or use their Presenter plug-in. Virtually ALL computers...PC or MAC...are able to view FLASH presentations. Most, if not all computers have the Adobe Flash plug-in already downloaded and installed...thus making their systems instantly able to view Flash formatted presentations. One of several Photodex output options is the FLASH format. While I don't believe the individual photos displayed in a Flash formatted show are of the same degree of quality as those presented using the Presenter plug-in, Flash formatted shows are a good viable alternative. I have included both Photodex Presenter and Flash formatted shows for you to take a look at and decide for yourself.
Images included in Photodex presentations are able to pan, zoom, have music or narrative accompaniment, and include a large variety of transitions resulting in a pleasing, motion-realistic slide show presentation.
Shozam is a somewhat recent player on the slide show production scene bringing unique capabilities of its own to the process. While Shozam doesn't offer the variety of transitions, photo movement within a frame, or any other of the several features provided by the Photodex environment it does bring features into play that Photodex productions do not. One is able to create with ease a very nice animated Flash "Intro" page that includes several sample photos from the show, an easily generated "index" page of all photos within a show that can be individually selected for display, simple captioning that doesn't write over a photo but is instead displayed outside the photo frame itself, an "Info" page whereby you can describe various aspects of your slide show, can add audio to each individual slide or optionally a single audio track for the entire show, but most unique to Shozam (Advanced version and above) is the ability to generate Google MAPS from within your slide show. With MAPS you can interface Google's mapping capabilities to show simple maps, satellite views, or terrain views related to the photo's location from within the slide show! All of this is possible due to the HTML underpinning of Shozam Galleries!
Shozam's slide show Introduction page is produced in FLASH format, and is therefore compatible with both PC and MAC computers having Adobe's "Flash" browser plug-in installed. However, Shozam produces its actual photo galleries as HTML pages, basically self-sufficient websites. These HTML galleries can be used by themselves as someone's main website or can be integrated into a larger or existing website. Typically you need only a web browser to see the gallery pages and photos generated by Shozam. You can use any browser, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome as installed on any computer such as a PC, Mac or Linux machine and be able to access and view the Shozam gallery. Shozam truly produces cross-platform compatible slide shows! You can upload the gallery to any web host or even burn the gallery to a CD and view it from any CD-ROM drive. Only the Shozam gallery "Intro" page uses Flash technology for an animation that adds interest to the gallery's main page. The advantage of HTML over the Flash format is that it is simpler to maintain or edit without using proprietary and expensive tools. Additionally, HTML pages can be scanned by search engines so others can more easily find your galleries. Flash animation essentially is a "black box" in which search engines cannot see an actual web page's content for indexing. Also, Flash animations or galleries do not have distinct web page addresses (or URLs) for each page so one cannot create a link to a specific page to save or provide someone else. Shozam overcomes Flash limitations through their use of the HTML format as the main underpinning for slide show presentations.
Intro: By default a Shozam production opens by displaying the animated "Intro" page. Selected images will appear here as a preview of the slide show's content. You can return to the intro page at any time by clicking on the "Intro" menu item at the top of the display frame.
Index: Clicking on "Index" will present a page full of organized thumbnails representing each image contained within the slide show. You may note that some thumbnails contain a small "bull's-eye" icon embedded in their lower right-hand corner. These images have a Google Map associated with them. If you left-click on any of these thumbnail images, the associated photo will open in the display window in its full-size format. You should also note that with each individual image so displayed, another menu set that is attached to that image is presented along with it. Now you will see two menus across the top of the presentation frame...the top row embodies the entire slide show, while the row beneath deals with individual images to which it is attached.
Under the "Index" view there are additional menu selections; "Album" and "Details."
"Album" brings you to "QuickView" mode.
"Details" brings up information pertinent to each image in the collection, including captions, descriptions, camera make and model, date, time, and image resolution.
Image thumbnails present each image in a slightly smaller format which when clicked will return the image to its full size format. Clicking on thumbnail images presents additional menu items:
QuickView: You will see a set of thumbnails on the right side along with a reduced-size photo relating to the thumbnail image selected. This provides a quick way to view thumbnails and images at the same time.
Large: Brings the selected image to its enlarged size. If the image has a map associated with it, the image menu will include the "Map" selection.
Details: This screen shows a reduced-size image on the right, along with details for the selected image.
Map: You may notice that with any slide show containing maps there will be two "map" selections available. The top row of menu selections deals with the entire show, while the bottom row of menu selections, attached to an image, relate only to that image. If the image selected has a map associated with it (thumbnail shows a "bull's-eye" icon in its lower right-hand corner) then you can bring up a Google map for that image by selecting "Map."
Slideshow: Selecting "Slideshow" opens a new window and begins the actual slide show. Along with the slide show display window you will find new menu items:
Across the top of the display frame:
The Slide show Title.
Options to Play or Stop the slide show.
Prev(ious) or Next photo selection.
The default duration for each slide being displayed in seconds.
Audio status...default is checked, enabling audio. You can uncheck it to disable audio. If you check/uncheck it may place the audio out of synch with the photo display.
Progress indicator "picture number/of total pictures."
Close X: stops the show and returns display back to the original slide show opening window.
Along the bottom of the display frame:
If included a link to an existing website relating to the slide show itself.
A link to the Showzam website...a reprehensible marketing ploy costing big bucks to remove via a higher level version.
Beneath the photo either a caption describing the photo if included or the filename of the image.
Map: Each thumbnail with a "bull's-eye" icon located at its lower right-hand corner has a Google Map associated with it. At the top level menu associated with the slide show itself, selecting "Map" will display a single map showing all individual image map location "pins" contained within the slide show. If you are connected to the Internet, such images will reach out to Google and pull in a map associated with either the location the photo was taken or another location as selected by the slide show author. The actual location of the image on the map is indicated by a small, red "pin" with a black dot in the center of it. You can left-click on these "pins" and the location and/or image description will appear. You can also then click on the description box's "x" in the upper right-hand corner to close it. Along the left-side of the map is a detail/scale selector; moving the sliding button up brings you closer into the image (increasing detail) while moving the sliding button down decreases detail but presents more of the larger image. Above the map scale selector is a round button which, depending upon where you click on it, will move the image up, down, left, right, or center. One of the best features of this map is that while it opens in "Map" format, you can also select either the "Satellite" or "Terrain" view. Satellite view presents actual satellite photo images of the earth, while "Terrain" view presents an overlay representing altitude (you may want to change the map scale to see greater detail by moving the scale selector towards the top).
Info: If an "info" page has been prepared for a slide show you can view it by selecting the menu "Info" item. Any images selected for the info page, along with descriptive text, will be displayed. If no dedicated "info" page has been prepared, then information relating to each image in the slide show will be presented automatically.
Links: If you see additional links along the lower horizontal piece of the display frame or near the top by the banner, such as "Meadow Creek B&B Website," these are links to websites directly related to the slide show's content. Clicking on these links should bring up the linked website directly in the display window. Not all presentations may include these additional links.
Photoshop Elements from Adobe has been carefully crafted to ensure its slide show productions are compatible with MAC computers as well as PCs out of respect for Adobe's origins...the MAC computer. Photoshop slide show productions are also produced in FLASH format, and of course with the Adobe Flash browser helper plug-in application being an Adobe product you know there is compatibility there. While more simple in nature, Elements produces usable slide shows most would be happy with.