PhotoFilmStrip is a straightforward open-source tool for turning digital images into a video slideshow, complete with customisable "Ken Burns" effects. That is, instead of just cutting directly from one photo to another, your slideshow pans smoothly across each image, for much more professional results.
The program starts much like any other slideshow builder. Create a new project, choose your targeted images, and they appear in a timeline. You can drag and drop photos to rearrange their order; rotate them with a click; apply a couple of basic effects and transitions, and optionally add a caption. It's all very easy.
The real value of PhotoFilmStrip, though, comes in its ability to define a motion path. Choose an image and it's displayed in two windows, each with a resizable pane. All you have to do is position the first pane to show where you'd like the motion to begin, the second to your end point, and PhotoFilmStrip will handle everything else.
While this seems basic at first, there's actually plenty of power here. You might have the camera pan just left to right, perhaps top to bottom, across the full image. But you can also just restrict the movement to an interesting area in one part of your photo. And the ability to resize the start and finish points means you can zoom in, or out, as necessary (begin with a tight close-up on someone's face, say, before moving out to show exactly where they are).
What you can't do, unfortunately, is see what this looks like right away. Instead you have to render the complete slideshow first, and view that (not difficult or time-consuming, but a minor hassle).
Once you understand the basics, however, PhotoFilmStrip works very well. It's easy to set up, the camera zooms and pans produce great results, and you can customise your slideshow with captions and a soundtrack. And once you've finished, you're able to render the slideshow in a range of sizes (anything from VCD to Full HD) and formats (MP4, MPEG-2, FLV, AVI, even single photos). You don't quite have the options you'll get in the most powerful of the competition - you can't set a custom output resolution, say - but there's more than enough here to produce a polished and professional slideshow.