We make slideshow presentations for all kinds of occasions, and it’s often important for them to look smart and professional – be it to keep an audience interested or to present something to a client. Coupled with the Mac, iPhoto and iMovie both offer slideshow functionality, but both are pretty limited in what they can do.
If you find yourself needing to make slideshows fairly regularly, FotoMagico from Boinx Software may be of interest. FotoMagico is a very intuitive and professional application, perfect for putting together great looking slideshows with photos, video and audio.
I’ll be reviewing the Pro version of FotoMagico, but the standard version is much the same with some features removed. Read on to see what FotoMagico can do for you.
Upon first opening FotoMagico, I was able to work out how to add photos, transitions, animations, audio, and adjust settings in about 5 minutes without having to read any manuals. This is because FotoMagico has been designed to make sense – nothing seems hidden away and everything happens as you would expect it to.
The interface is split into three main compartments; the Stage for adjusting the position, rotation and zoom of images, the Storyboard for arranging clips, audio and text, and the Sidebar for setting clip attributes, transitions, and for importing media.
FotoMagico works perfectly via drag and drop for importing media for slides and can also access your iPhoto, Aperture or Lightroom library from within its sidebar.
One of FotoMagico’s strongest features is the ability to quickly and easily animate images, much like the Ken Burns effect. If the ‘Pan & Zoom’ button is toggled on, then the Stage displays two versions of your slide – one at the start position, and one at the end.
FotoMagico then gives you control over position, rotation and zoom of the slide over time which allows you to produce some nice and smooth animations to add a little life into a still photograph. The zoom/rotate controls are well implemented as draggable wheels. These animations can be applied to movie clips and text.
Another great feature is the ability to apply and adjust ease in/ease out. Also worth mentioning are guides which pop up so you know where your final position rests in relation to the start.
FotoMagico offers a great range of transitions, all of which maintain excellent image quality throughout. Transitions are edited in the Sidebar simply by clicking the small transition icon between each slide in the Storyboard. From there you can set which transition to use and its duration.
It can be all too easy to become carried away, apply every transition, and create crazy animations, but if you use the tools wisely, the result can look very professional.
In the Storyboard you can use up to three different audio tracks for music, sound effects and narration. Audio can be dragged from the sidebar, or recorded from within FotoMagico. If you want the slideshow to run for the length of a song, slide duration can be matched to the audio, and vice versa.
Ducking is also available, which means that other audio tracks will be lowed in volume by a specified amount when narration comes on for example.
Once you’ve completed your slideshow, there are several ways to present or share it. The easiest way for presentations is to simply play the slideshow from within FotoMagico, which works well with an external display or projector.
There is also a great range of export options to choose from. Slideshows can be exported as a Standalone application, to DVD, for the Web, YouTube, any of Apple’s various devices, or as a Screen Saver. FotoMagico offers useful information on playback and quality of each format.
FotoMagico is a superb application for producing slideshows. Its ease of use is a huge plus and it offers enough great features to create a professional looking presentation, without being overwhelming. FotoMagico offers a 5 day free trial, which is worth giving a go if it looks of interest. I can find very little to fault it on.
I reviewed the Pro version of FotoMagico in this article, but it comes in two separately priced versions. The standard version is priced at $29, and the pro version at $149, which is a significant jump, but worth it if you plan to make good use of it. View the differences between the versions here.
Feel free to share your slideshow experiences with us, along with any thoughts on FotoMagico!