Review: Photodex ProShow Web

By Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP

Photodex, the creator of ProShow Gold and Proshow Producer, has released a new option for photographers wanting to create custom slideshows—ProShow Web. A subscription-based service, ProShow Web allows you to pick a slideshow theme, upload your content (both photo and video), choose music (or upload your own), and even watermark your slideshow.

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In order to use ProShow Web, the first thing you have to do is create an account. There are free and paid user options. In brief, the free account allows you to create mini-slideshows, while the paid options offer more features, flexibility, and download options. Once you have an account, it’s really easy to make your first slideshow. Clicking on the Create button will take you to the slideshow creation interface. There are five tabs: Theme, Imagery, Music, Details, and Watch.

In the Theme tab, you’ll get to select the style of slideshow you’d like to create. There are almost 40 different themes to choose from, and they range from classic and simple to wedding and baby themed designs.

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The next step is at the Imagery tab, where you’ll upload your images and even videos. You can also add text frames if you'd like. Once your content has been uploaded, you can drag and drop to rearrange, shuffle all slides, or even create duplicate slides. During this step, you can add optional special effects to various images in your show. Just click on the Creative Palette to display a variety of effects you can drag and drop on a particular slide.

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After finishing with your images, you’ll proceed to the Music tab, where you can upload your own songs, or choose from an extensive online library. The songs are sorted by genre, as well as by length, so it is very easy to find what you’re looking for. You can preview any song before adding it to your show; if you are creating a lengthy slideshow, you can even add multiple tracks and ProShow will cross fade songs during the show.

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The Details tab is the final step before rendering your show. Here, you’ll be able to name your show as well as choose the mood (tempo, or pace of the images) for your show. You’ll be asked to select a Default Poster Image, which displays any time your slideshow is paused or stopped, and if you have the appropriate paid subscription, you’ll have the option to add your custom watermark file (which gets applied to the whole show).

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If you have to stop during the middle of creating a show for any reason, ProShow does save your work for you. It will show up under your Shows as an incomplete slideshow. But, assuming you complete all the steps and have ProShow render the finished show, you’ll be taken to the final tab: Watch. On the Watch tab, you get to preview your show, and have options to share, download, or open in ProShow Producer.

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I enjoyed how easy it was to make changes to the show. ProShow allowed me to edit and remix the various components without having to create a duplicate show or start over. Once any corrections have been made, you simply re-render the show, and you’ll be taken to the Watch tab again.

The Share button on the Watch tab allows you to copy a branded or unbranded link (see my test show here: http://show-vid.com/view/224p828), as well as HTML code to embed in your blog. You can also post the show to YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, directly from the ProShow site.

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The second button, Download, opens up a variety of download options—SD, HD, or mobile formatted videos can all be downloaded to your PC; you can even download DVD or Blu-ray ISO files, if you’d like to create a physical slideshow disc for your client.

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Finally, if you want to do some tweaking from within ProShow Producer (or just want to save an editable version on your own hard drive), you can click on the third button, Open in Proshow. This will allow you to download a PXW file, which you can open in ProShow Producer (version 4.51 or later). After downloading the file to edit within Proshow Producer, I had a bit of trouble opening the file. I discovered it works best if you simply double-click on the downloaded file, rather than trying to browse to the PXW file from within Producer. Once I figured this out, Producer did a nice job of importing the show so that I could add further customizations as desired.

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Overall, I found the ProShow Web interface very user friendly and easy to use. I appreciated being able to add a watermark logo within the interface, and the music browsing feature worked flawlessly for me. The fact that ProShow Web shows are compatible with ProShow Producer is a huge bonus.

ProShow Web is a subscription based service that has three levels, described below.

  • Free – 15-photo shows that can be shared online
  • Plus - $30/year – Unlimited, full-length videos, share online and free DVD downloads
  • Premium - $150/year – Unlimited, full-length videos, licensed for commercial use, free 1080p HD downloads, watermarking and more (great for photographers)

ProShow Web includes more than 600 drag and drop effects to customize your video, an extensive royalty-free music library and many other user-friendly features. It works virtually anywhere, whether you're on a Mac or PC. For more information about ProShow Web, visit proshowweb.com.

Photodex has also released an update to its ProShow Plug-in for Adobe Lightroom. The plug-in now supports uploading directly to ProShow Web.

Betsy Finn, Cr.Photog., CPP, has a portrait studio in Dexter, Michigan (BPhotoArt.com); she shares tips and ideas for photographers at LearnWithBetsy.com.

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Comments (2)

Gary Gardner:

Wow. A company like Animoto comes out with something revolutionary and the next thing you know is that people doing business in what seemed like the obvious way (ProShow, Emotion Media) now scramble to play catch up. Instead of blazing a new trail of their own, they do just what the most popular company is doing. What's great for photographers is that it gives us all a lot of choices to determine for ourselves what will suit us best. Thanks for writing about this. I'll be sure and put it to the test and see if it's a better fit than Animoto. My guess is that Emotion Media is rolling over in their grave. Wait. They're not dead yet?

jonathan:

Thanks for the article. Would like to share my personal experience with both Proshow Web and Animoto(so far).

I knew about ProShow and Animoto because of Smugmug. I like the idea of making slideshows easily from my pictures. The best part is: I don't need to have any software and a powerful machine to render the files. I can let the companies handing the bulk of the processing at their end. However I don't know if things would feel the same after one has signed up.

I tried Animoto's free account and it says it will send me a notification email once my show is done, well it has been a few days and the free show is still not done...I can't even get back to know what happened. It was just 10 pictures...and so much for the first impression. I always thought Smugmug have chosen their partners carefully, but may be my experience was a odd one out. Interestingly after that experience I did more research on Animoto and found many other comments from other users. I wonder if it's was a case of once too many people have signed up, there will be problems coping with the real demands from too many accounts.

I tried the free account by Proshow web and thought the interface and speed was really impressive, but reminded myself then again it was only the 15 free pictures that the free account allowed. I can't help to think if I will experience the same responsive speed after I have signed up. Free accounts are handling the smallest number of pictures and sizes so the speed is of course there but I wondered will speed is still the same once you started going HD.

I will sign up with Photodex if Photodex in some way can promised that they have set aside dedicated machines and bandwidth to handle the files of those who signed up for the plus or premium accounts(especially premium). If I signed up the ultimate premium package I would like to have some speed assurance besides the final output sizes.

Another area I thought they can really make it good is to streamline the way they offer the separate packages of transitions and themes for web/gold/producer(so confusing). I would certainly not want to download my web version file into the producer version only to know that I need to purchase additional theme packages.

I really hope these companies will succeed as end users like me appreciate such services, ease of use and great output quality.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 31, 2011 4:37 PM.

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