by Lori Cunningham
Editor’s Notes: Please don’t forget to vote for WellConnectedMom.com as one of the Top 25 Tech Moms in 2013: We need your daily vote until March 6th, 4pm. Voting is easy and requires no registration. Pleas vote here: TOP 25 TECH MOMS – 2013. Thank you!
Also, we are very pleased to give away 5 FREE copies of Wondershare’s DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe. See below on how to win one!
Lastly, for those of you who have been with us for awhile, I wanted to let you know that my Mom recently passed away. It has been such a heartbreak for me. I miss her so much. I wrote this review recently after her passing.
I have loved putting together photo slideshows for the past 18 years. The technology has greatly changed, but the need for photo slideshows hasn’t and fortunately, the quality of slideshow programs have vastly improved. I remember 16 years ago, I put together the best one I had ever done – a slideshow of my parents’ lives together for the past 40 years. I would be debuting it at their 40th Anniversary party. I was beside myself with excitement in waiting to show it to them and their friends. Unfortunately, the slideshow, which I put into Powerpoint, was too large and when the big moment came, it crashed. I spent half the party trying to revive it but to no avail. I was devastated.
I’m sorry to say, this scenario has played itself out on a number of occasions since that big day. It’s been a long while since I have had the need for a slideshow, but unfortunately, just recently, the need arose. My dear Mom recently passed away. She’s had a tough time this past year with numerous hospitalizations. Her body just couldn’t take it any longer. With the service only a day away, I decided to try Wondershare’s DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe, as it was on our list to review this week. I knew it was risky trying a new program so late in the game, but having used Wondershare programs before (I love them), I felt it was worth the risk.
I set to work creating a slideshow to honor my Mom, I scoured my computer looking for any and every picture I had of her. At the time, I didn’t know how many pictures I had used, but I knew it was a lot. Knowing from my past, the more pictures you use, the riskier it is that the slideshow will work. I also added in a 4 minute video. Of course, all of these great pics aren’t complete without great music to go along with it. Because of the length of my slideshow, I added 4-5 songs. Late at night, I burned my slideshow to a DVD. It was taking a while, so I decided to go to bed while it burned. I was worried because the service was the next day and if this didn’t work, there wouldn’t be much time to come up with plan B.
With abated breath I approached my computer in the morning and looked for the message, hoping it would say the DVD was complete, but expecting to see an error message. Much to my delight, it said the DVD had burned successfully! Yipee!!!! I could hardly believe it. However, now came for the test to put it in our fancy DVD player (our XBOX 360) and test it out. I nearly cried with what I saw. It actually worked!
Later I counted my photos and found out that I had put in 180 photos plus the long video, culminating to a 20 minute show, and Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe handled it like a pro. The slideshow turned out great with great photos, fun transitions, wonderful music, and titles, I couldn’t have been happier.
Mom and I during Christmas this past year.
You begin The DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe in the “Organize” tab where you upload all of your pictures and videos. You can simply click and hold on a photo and move in any order you’d like.
Mom and I eight years ago.
Next, you “Personalize” your slideshow by adding slide transitions, clip-art special effects, sound effects, and your slideshow title and credits. There are numerous transitions and effects to choose from, but they are automatically added for you with a variety of effects. You can either keep them or change out effects to others you like better.
My Mom and Dad on their honeymoon in ’57.
Above is an example of some of the effects you can create. I used the Bright Stars Effect to add an animated sparkle to this photo of my parents during the slideshow. Wondershare has a lot of cute Effects you can add here and there to add some fun to your slideshow.
Mom during my video series when I interviewed her about her life. What priceless footage.
In the Advanced Mode, here are some of the things you can do with your videos in your slideshow. You can add Filters, like making the video black and white or putting a flash in the middle of the video, as pictured above. You can crop the video so only a portion of it plays, and you can even do a voice over to explain something happening in the video
The front page of my DVD slideshow. What a well-produced, fun way to remember my Mom.
After you are done with your slideshow, you move onto Create. In this stage, you can create a “cover page” for your slideshow. There are a good number of cover pages to choose from. You also add a title for your cover. Now it’s time to save your work. You can burn right to a DVD or save it as a file for your smartphone, iPad, Computer, or prepare it for YouTube. It couldn’t be simpler. I saved it both to DVD and to my computer. Both versions work perfectly.
This free resource download adds hundreds of more options to make your slideshow even more unique and professional.
After I had finished my slideshow, I realized that you can download a free resource which includes many more styles, short audio clips, and Intro/Credit screens. I wish I had come across it before my review, though the resource add-on gives you so many more transitions/effects, that it would have taken me longer to choose them.
- over 130+ fun 2D/3D transitions
- one click burns your slideshows to DVD (and it really works!)
- share high-quality videos on YouTube, Facebook & more
- has a Timeline showing transitions, photos, videos, music and more makes timing control easier for beginners
- easily add captions to your photos with fun text effects
- crop, zoom-in, or adjust your picture for just the right focus
- 480+ styles are included, many of which used to cost extra
- touch up photos/videos with crop, rotate tools and special effects
- add titles/voiceover to tell the story
- built-in trimmer to crop music and add fades
- set captions to different font, size, style and color, and add shadows or more than 30+ pre-made text effects
- remove red-eyes with one-click
- static or dynamic DVD menu templates for various occasions such as Baby, Wedding, Christmas, etc.
- you can upload several pictures at a time
- there are many special effects available, especially after you download the free extras resource add-on
- burning the slideshow to a DVD worked flawlessly
- the program can handle a large amount of photos and videos and package them up with ease and no delays
- the quality is very good, no delays, choppiness, or stalls
- in the expanded view, there is a “random” button you can press to sort your files – or choose sort by “date,” or “name”
- you can add multiple slideshows on one DVD, selectable from the main Menu screen
- there are no drag-and-drop capabilities to drop your photos into the program, you need to upload them
- the program was easy enough to understand for me, however, there might be a slight learning curve for someone new to slideshows and video editing
- a tutorial is not included, though they do provide online help
- the video editing has a good number of features, but is not as robust as I would like
The Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe sells for $59.95 (download) directly through the Wondershare site.
A Mom’s Perspective
I have tried a number of free and paid for versions of slideshow software over the years. None have come close to the simplicity and enhancement extras that Wondershare DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe provides. Nor has a slideshow software program ever been easier to use. From now on, the DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe will be my “go to” slideshow maker. I will teach my daughter how to use it too, she will be able to use it for her fun photo projects as well as projects for school.
I love DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe’s ease, variety of effects, and the professional keepsake it produces. I am really amazed at how I was able to add a 4 minute video and over 180 pictures and the program processed them together effortlessly into a great slideshow. You can even create multiple slideshows and access them from the Menu Page on the DVD. Another feature I liked was that you could save all of your photo/video files to a directory on your computer, so you could get to them separately from the DVD if you wanted. This worked out well, making it easy to copy and paste on a USB drive all of the photos to provide my brother before he left town.
Wondershare’s DVD Slideshow Builder has many built-in styles like for weddings, travel, Valentines Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and baby more. Finding the right pictures for my slideshow took time, but putting it altogether and adding my favorite music to it took little time. The DVD Slideshow Builder will make you look like you’re a real pro.
My slideshow tribute to my Mom turned out beautifully and it looked like I spent hours on it. I could watch it again and again, and again (and will).
We are giving away 5 copies of Wondershare’s DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe, valued at $59.95 each for either Mac or Windows. Sign up below to enter, with lots of extra chances to win. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
* I was given a download of the Wondershare’s DVD Slideshow Builder Deluxe in exchange for my honest opinion. All expressed opinions are my own.