By Shawn Soni
Showit Web 2.6 has the potential to bring the events of your client’s wedding day to the close of the reception in a way that will allow you to sell you services many times over, while providing them with an entertaining interlude featuring their favorite subject: themselves.
This standalone program for Windows or Mac automatically creates a customizable Flash slideshow for Web viewing. This review covers Showit Web Pro version 2.6 ($199). Borders and Effects add-ons are available for Showit at marginally increased costs to enhance what Show-it produces.
The software makes it easy to import and build a slideshow “on the fly” to show off your work at a wedding or event. Just add a laptop and good quality projector to your arsenal and find (or set up) a place to put on a show that really tugs the heartstrings.
The set-up screen for building the slideshow has basic controls that include source and destination folders, JPEG sizing for images, photo orientation (landscape/portrait) and basic controls for slide movement, which can be refined in the Images tab.
The status box shows the progress during the
actual generation of the show, with each picture
displayed as it’s processed.
Unfortunately, the software does not import slides chronologically, a fault that David Jay, the developer of Showit, is aware of. He suggests that Lightroom users take advantage of the “time sort and rename before import” feature to get the slides into a more-or-less chronological sequence. Apple’s Aperture offers a similar method of renaming and sorting before importing your images so that you have a cohesive flow that the guests will enjoy.
Controls for customizing the show are simple, allowing you to label the show and select colors to suit your style or the wedding theme. You can build in the link to your show if you're posting it to a website and add your logo here as well.
Once you've imported the slides you can quickly adjust the zoom points and other functions of the slide transitions. The red + represents the exit point of the motion as the slides transition. Just move it to suit the flow of the photographs as they are displayed. The arrows control orientation. The gear icon button allows the user to set custom timing [below] and make the image “travel” across the screen, as well as add other effects.
For Mac users, the Show-it interface is decidedly un-Mac like, but it works well. A new interface under development will be more adaptable to web-based presentation and thus less dependant on any specific operating system, and more user-friendly and accessible via the internet.
The Great Stuff
Show-it offers very granular control of the display of the slides, with transitions built in that make control of how each slide appears and disappears easy to manage. And music; they have clips of music that you can set slides to that are guaranteed to have folks tapping on the table (“Windshield Wipers” for instance) while your slides are showing. The music is fully licensed and comes with the application, which probably make it worth the cost of the application alone, because music licensing is both tricky and expensive for music that works with your slideshow.
Showit Web comes with licensed music that's easy to add to the slideshow. Timing templates are included for the various music pieces. Timing can be customized or set to display images in time to the music.
Overall, Show-it 2.6 is easy to use, the company seems to have pretty responsive technical support and they are keeping their software in line with what will help photographers in competitive market: to make money by offering other options for sales of your photographs in a forum you might not have explored before. A trial version is available on their website (Mac users should download with Safari, not Firefox). Watching the online video tutorials will make your introduction to the software a pleasant learning experience. It’s worth taking a look and seeing how well it makes slideshows with minimal effort. You’ll be tapping along to “Windshield Wipers” in no time too …
This interface allows resizing, which is also available at the beginning of the set-up. The main feature here is ability to select an image that will be displayed as the slideshow loads. A great place for the “shot of the day”!
Publishing the show to the web only requires that you upload the automatically generated folder for you slideshow to the Web. You can also have the show produced on a high-end DVD (an add-on), as well as generate the code required to embed the show into blogs and other pages.