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My Tests on Software for Creating Slideshows - Part 2
Multi-photo slides: Memories on TV Pro vs ProShow Gold

Introduction

In Part 1 of this article, I tested six softwares for creating slideshows, and after my tests I was impressed by Memories on TV and ProShow Gold.

With ProShow Gold you also have the ability to build slideshows with more than one image or video in the same frame - a feature Memories on TV Home lacks, but that is the flagship of Memories on TV Pro. As I read in Codejam forum, people who buy the Home version often soon feel they should have purchased the Pro version, so I decided to test this specific feature here too.

Tested versions were Memories on TV Pro 4.1.1 and ProShow Gold 4.0.2549, on a computer running Windows XP SP3.

Disclaimer: The tests performed by me and the conclusions presented herein are not personal endorsements nor invalidations to any of the products. My tests were not meant to be a deep analysis of all the features available in these softwares, and I may also have missed some important ones. Whenever I had some difficulty, I contacted the software publisher to see if there was a solution I was missing, but I do not guarantee that all my statements are correct.

Comparison

First, let's clarify what is a multi-photo slide. In most presentations, you have photos shown in sequence, one after the other, with some transition between them - like in the examples in the first part of this test. As you can add captions and frames, each image is not just a photo anymore, but a "slide" - a single-photo slide. In a multi-photo slide, a group of images is shown together on the screen, and you can then have several of these slides presented one after the other, or even a combination of single- and multi-photo slides.

I did my tests with photos only, but both softwares allow mixing photos and videos, what can create amazing effects - such as one video playing in full-size in the background and a series of small photos running over the bottom of the screen. I tried this successfully in both softwares.

The procedure in ProShow Gold is very straightforward: choose the images, combine them and they become a single slide. Double-click it and you start configuring the slide by choosing a style for the images - several choices of still or motion are available, and after choosing one you can alter effects as you want. You can also do all adjustments you want in each image and add captions.

In Memories on TV Pro, the procedure is a bit more complex, both in a good way (more flexibility) and in a bad way (more time-consuming). Again, you choose the images and select the multi-image tool to combine them, then you select a pre-set effect and customize it the way you want. At this point you can not add captions. When you finish adjusting the effects, you are prompted to save the slide as a video. After this video is created, it is treated like any video and you can add captions, frames, etc. You can always re-edit your multi-image slide, but you must save the video again each time you do it.

While this approach is certainly more complicate, Memories on TV Pro has a couple of unique features. First, besides adjusting pan, zoom and rotation for each image in the slide as in ProShow Gold, you can also adjust opacity. Second, you can add intermediate steps for each image in your slide, so they can appear or disappear at a different time, pause and/or move to one point and then another, all inside the same slide. Combining these two features, you can create complex slides with eye-catching results.

Most of this complex motions can be also done in ProShow Gold, but then you have to make several slides to mimic the effect that you achieve with a single one in Memories on TV Pro.

In both softwares, you can save the multi-image slide as a template, so later you can use the same customized sequence of effects with a new set of images. This applies to each slide, so in the case of ProShow Gold, if you created a series of slides with the same images to create a complex effect, each of those slides must be saved as a template and, when using the template, you have to replace images in each of them.

Even setting the best quality output options in Memories on TV Pro, either in AVI or in MPEG, I did not get videos as sharp as I got with ProShow Gold in MPEG. I don't believe this is an issue in TVs, however, and even on the computer screen the difference is seen basically if you play one beside the other. When comparing AVI with MPEG outputs, in either software I noticed some color shift from the original image, with a slightly more accurate result in MPEG.

One problem I encountered was that Memories on TV Pro was not playing the multi- image slides I was creating in it. I could play them in Media Player, I could edit them in Memories on TV Pro, but when playing them inside the software or saving the final video, the multi-image slides turned out blank. Contacting support, I was directed to installing a codec called FFDShow that solved this problem. I was however surprised with this issue, as in the case of AVI I was using the latest xVid codec.

By the way, I contacted Codejam and Photodex supports several times during my tests, and both were fast and helpful. Codejam runs an active forum for Memories on TV users and Photodex hosts a gallery of videos produced by users.

Both companies offer free updates within one year of purchase.

Here are videos I created with the same images, trying to make each slideshow the more similar I could. All videos are 640x480pix and for Memories on TV Pro I created outputs in two different formats.

Notice: All image and video rights belong to Maria Adelaide Silva. No reproduction is accepted without the author's agreement.

Conclusion

Again, the two softwares are also excellent for multi-image slides, each one with pros and cons. I would recommend testing both and see what suits you better or feels easier to use. I have tested them repeatedly and can't say which one is better. In short I might say ProShow Gold lets you make great presentations with a simpler procedure, while Memories on TV Pro is more powerful at the cost of some more work.

And if money is not an issue, you may even go for PhotoShow Producer, which seems to have amazing features - those of Memories on TV Pro and more - but this is very pricey if your use is not professional.



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Created on October 12, 2009 - Last updated on October 25, 2009

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