Everyone likes sharing their photographs, and one of the most enjoyable ways to view someone’s pictures is by watching a slideshow, hopefully with nice transitions and music. Of course, you could just sit on a couch flipping through a photo album with soothing New Age music playing in the background, but for Linux users, there is another way; it’s a slideshow creation application called PhotoFilmStrip. This is how it is described on its website:
“PhotoFilmStrip creates movies out of your pictures in just 3 steps. First select your photos, customize the motion path and render the video. There are several output possibilities for VCD, SVCD, DVD up to FULL-HD.”
PhotoFilmStrip is brain-dead simple to operate. Start up the program and create a new slideshow. Now choose music and if you want, choose a length the slideshow will last. After this, simply drag and drop the photos you want, or select the entire contents of a folder via the file picker dialog.
After you’ve done this, you can reorder slides, choose lengths for individual images, add effects such as black & white or sepia tones, and pick from a couple different transitions. One of the big selling points to PhotoFilmStrip is its use of the so-called Ken Burns Effect. Made popular in such documentaries as “Civil War” and “Jazz,” the Ken Burns Effect is the effect of viewing a slide by slowly panning across it (or up and down, or at an angle), instead of simply viewing a static, non-moving image.
PhotoFilmStrip even gives you control over the path, so if you want to start at one part of the image and move to another, you can. Otherwise, you can choose to glide over the image using a randomly-selected path.
Another nice feature is the ability to add subtitles for each slide. If you’ve added comments to your photos, these can be generated into a subtitle file, so viewers watching your slideshow can get information about what’s on the screen.
Once you’ve finished, it’s time to render your slideshow. Unlike many slideshow creators, PhotoFilmStrip allows the user to create a Full-HD slideshow, for a high resolution showcase for your photos. You also have the option to create VCD slideshows, as well as standard DVD output, in both PAL and NTSC formats. And of course, being a Linux program, you can batch process your slideshows via the command line, and choose expert settings if the standard ones aren’t detailed enough for you.
I’ve tried out PhotoFilmStrip on a couple slideshows, and the results were impressive. I was just throwing random images at it as well as random music, but it was still enjoyable. Because I didn’t fiddle with the settings (especially with the Ken Burns Effect settings), there were times when the image movement didn’t really fit the image, and occasionally it was if the image was sliding off the screen entirely instead of simply moving from one part of the image to another, but that was something I could have fixed had I chose to. I won’t be sharing my own creation, but if you’d like a good example of what PhotoFilmStrip can do, check out the example below from the creator of the project:
There are other slideshow creators available for Linux – Imagination and Smile are two popular ones – and to be honest, both the other programs have more features. But while that may be true, PhotoFilmStrip is easily the simplest to use. Drag, drop, render, and you’re done! And with very good results, to boot. It’s a hard combination to beat, especially for users with basic needs who just want a nice slideshow, and fast.