When you’d like to share a particular set of photos with friends and family then you could just send them the JPEGs. Converting those images to a video slideshow with your own soundtrack, captions and custom transitions will look considerably more impressive, though – and with a copy of Bolide Slideshow Creator to hand, that need not take very long.
Installing the program is quick and hassle-free. There are no toolbars to dodge, no unwanted extras to look for during setup, you’ll get the Slideshow Creator and nothing else.
The interface is fairly straightforward, with a photo library, various transitions, a timeline, preview window and so on. If you’ve ever used anything like this before then you’ll immediately feel at home (which is probably just as well, given that the program doesn’t have a Help file). Importing some images is as easy as dragging and dropping them onto the timeline, and you’ll be previewing the results within seconds.
Adding transitions is almost as straightforward. There are 38 slides, wipes, fades and other options in the library; clicking one displays a preview; and anything you like can be dragged and dropped onto the timeline. (Or, if you’re in a hurry, you can just tell the program to use random transitions.)
The Text tab displays some useful caption options. Choose “Auto” and the program will automatically add the image name and creation date to each shot. Or you’re able to enter a caption of your own, with custom font and colour settings.
You’re even able to create custom pan and zoom effects, with Slideshow Creator allowing you to define a starting and ending rectangle within each image, and how long the program should take moving from one to the other.
And when you’re happy, clicking File > Save As… will save your project as an AVI, WMV or MKV video (although the MKV support is listed as “beta”, so if that’s your preferred format you should probably check any output carefully before you share it).
Bolide Slideshow Creator isn’t quite as polished as some of the high-end competition. Being able to create custom pan and zoom effects is great, for instance, but many users may prefer a simpler, Windows Live Movie Maker-like approach, where you just select a canned effect and apply it to your selected images with a click.
In general, though, there’s plenty to like about Slideshow Creator: it’s fast, packed with functionality yet also easy to use. And it’s still being updated regularly, so we’ll be very interested to see where the program goes next.