Creating Video Slideshows


In this tutorial we will create a slide show in iPhoto using a set of photos. We will then export the slide show as a video into iMovie where we will add a voice-over or soundtrack to it. Finally, we will export the finished slide show in a format that can be used in Canvas.

What you will need:

iMovie and iPhoto are Macintosh only applications that come bundled on every Mac. You will also need to download some images to practice with. Below I have placed the images that I used. If you would like to also use them, save them to your desktop by right clicking (control clicking on a Mac) on each of the pictures and choosing "Save Image to the Desktop."

picture of azay le rideau chateau

picture of cathedral

picture of chateau

picture of montpoupon val de loire

picture of boutiques

picture of jardin

Step One : Adding the Photos to iPhoto

First we need to add all of the photos into the iPhoto library. Start by opening iPhoto. It is located in the Applications folder on the Mac, or, on the Dock (the menu at the bottom of the screen.) It's icon looks as follows:

picture of iPhoto icon

Once the program has loaded, import your photos into the iPhoto library by clicking "File: Import To Library…" in the menu at the top of the screen:

picture of file import

In the dialog that appears, navigate to where you saved the photos (probably your Desktop) and select all of them. You can select more than one item at a time by holding down the command button (the key with the apple on it.)

picture of import photos

You should now see all of the photos appear in the iPhoto library. Don't worry if there are other photos there, as other people may have imported their own photos into the library already:

picture of iPhoto library


Step Two: Creating the Slide Show

To create the slide show first select all of the photos you would like to have in the slide show. You can do this by clicking on each one while holding the command button (the one with the apple on it) or by clicking and dragging a box around all of the photos that you want. Once the photos are selected, they will get a blue outline to indicate your selection.

Now, to create the slide show, click the "+" button picture of plus in the bottom left hand corner of the iPhoto window. This will bring up a dialog allowing you to choose what type of new item to create. From the drop-down menu, select "Slide Show."

picture of create dialog

picture of create drop down

You can also add a descriptive name for your slide show if need be:

picture of name

Click "Create" and a new slide show will be created. You will enter iPhoto's Slide Show editing mode:

picture of new slide show



Step 3: Editing your Slide Show

I will now explain what each of the sections of the Slide Show editing mode window allows you to do:

Photo Order:

picture of photo order

In the top of the window you will see all of the photos you selected for your slide show. You can adjust the order in which they will be shown by clicking and dragging a given photo to the left or the right in this box.

Photo Effects:

picture of effects closed

picture of effects open

The effects drop down menu in the bottom of the window allows you to make the photo Black and White, or Sepia.


picture of transitions closed

picture of transitions open

The transition drop down box allows you to choose the transition that will be used to fade this photo into the next photo. A little further on I will cover setting a default transition that will affect every photo in the slide show as opposed to doing it one at a time.


picture of zoom

The zoom bar in the very bottom right hand side of the window adjusts how zoomed in the picture will be in the slide show. For example, if you would like to show only a portion of the photo, you could zoom into the picture to the desired zoom level, and then click and move the picture in the main window until the correct portion of it is showing.

Ken Burns Effect:

An entire slide show of static photos fading into one another can get rather boring after a while. If you would like a particular photo to move during the slide show from one position and level of zoom to another position and level of zoom, then you can use the Ken Burns Effect. Below is a small video showing the Ken Burns Effect in action: (File Currently Not Available)

As you can see, the illusion of movement provided by the Ken Burns effect can liven up an otherwise static photo considerably. In order to use it, first check the Ken Burns Effect box at the bottom of the window:

picture of Ken Burns Effect selected=

You will see that there are two positions on the slider, start and end. Firstly, set the slider position to Start. The, zoom your photo to your desired starting zoom level using the zoom slider described above, and adjust its position in the main window to where you would like it to start by clicking and dragging the photo within the window. Secondly, set the slider to End, and repeat the process, this time setting the zoom level and position for where you would like your photo to finish. In order to preview what the final result will be, click the Preview button:

picture of preview

Slide Timing:

To adjust the timing of each photo individually, which is useful if you are later going to record a voice over and will talk for different amounts of time for each photo, click the Adjust button:

picture of adjust

This will bring up the Adjust Pallet:

picture of adjust pallet

Right at the top of the pallet you can adjust the number of seconds that the photo will be displayed before the slide show moves on to the next one. You can also adjust the speed of the transition that you have chosen for this particular photo.

Adjust Defaults:

If you would like to make adjustments to settings such as slide timing and transition and have them applied to the entire slide show as opposed to just a single slide, then click on the Settings button:

picture of settings

This will bring up the Settings Pallet where all settings apply to the entire slide show:

picture of settings pallet


Viewing Your Slide Show:

Once you are satisfied with your settings, you can view the entire slide show by clicking the Play button:

picture of play


Step 4: Converting The Slide Show To A Movie

In order for us to use the slide show on another computer, or on a DVD, we must first convert it to a video file. To do this, click "File:Export…"

picture of export

This will bring up a dialog asking where to save the file. I am saving it to the Desktop and calling it "France slide show." Make sure that "Large (640 X 480)" is selected in the Movie Size options so that we get the best quality video. Click "Export" to create the video file:

picture of export drop down

Depending on the speed of your computer and the length of your slide show, the exporting process could take a long time, so now could be a good time to make some coffee.

If all you needed was a video file, then you can end the tutorial here. However, if you would like to record a voice over for the slide show, add titles, or otherwise edit the video file, continue with the tutorial as we go through how to edit the file in iMovie.


Step 5: Edit The File In iMovie

This tutorial assumes a basic working knowledge of iMovie. If you are new to the application, please look over our introductory tutorial on iMovie located here.

Rather than repeating many of the lessons from the iMovie tutorial, such as adding titles and effects, I will cover recording a voice-over for your slide show.

Import The Video File:

Start by creating a new iMovie project. Then, import the video file we just created into it by clicking "File:Import…" And selecting it from the location where you saved it:

picture of import

picture of import drop down

Once again, it may take a while to import the file depending on your computer's speed and the length of the slide show. When it is finished importing, the slide show file will be added as a clip in the clip pane on the right hand side of the window:

picture of clip pane

Add the clip to your timeline and perform any additional editing such as adding titles and visual effects that you would like as described in our iMovie tutorial.

Record the Voice Over:

Before recording the voice over, make sure that the Mac you are using has a microphone attached and set up. Most of the macs in MMETS and the LRC in Williams already have microphones. However, if you are working on your home Mac that doesn't have a built-in microphone, you will need to purchase a Griffin iMic in order to allow you to attach a microphone.

Once you have a microphone attached, click on the Media tab in iMovie:

picture of media tab

At the top of this section, make sure that "Audio" is selected:

picture of audio

This will bring up the following options in the right side of the iMovie window:

picture of audio tab

As you can see, you have the option of using a lot of pre-built sound effects to liven up your movies and slide shows. However, what we are interested in is the section right at the bottom labeled "Microphone:" with a sound meter and a record button. Before you start recording, set the playback position of your slide show to where you would like your recording to start. For example, if you would only like your voice over to start one minute into the slide show, you would drag the play head of the video to the 1 minute position.

Once you have the play head positioned at the correct time, click the red "Record" button at the bottom right of the audio window. This will automatically start playing your movie as it records sound from your microphone. Don't worry if you make a mistake during the recording, as at any point you can click the record button once again to stop recording, and delete the audio track that you have just recorded by selecting it in the timeline and pressing the delete (backspace) key.


Step 6: Export The Video File

When exporting the video file, you have some choices to make depending on how you plan to use it. If you would like to be able to use a high quality version in a DVD player then export it to DVD. If you would like a relatively high quality version that can play on any computer with Quick Time installed, then you can export it to CD. Finally, if you plan to use the file on the web (such as in Canvas) or in an email, then export them to web. Each of these three methods will be outlined below:

Export to DVD:

To export the file to DVD it may first be useful to add chapter markers, especially if the video is long and you would like to be able to quickly jump to a certain position within it. If your movie is short, or you do not require chapter markers, then you are free to skip this step. To do insert chapters, click the "Chapters" tab:

picture of chapters

This will bring up a menu allowing you to add chapters. Move the play head of the video to the point where you would like the chapter marker to be set, and then click the "Add Marker" button:

picture of add marker

You will then be prompted to supply an optional name for your chapter marker.

Once you have completed adding markers, you have to send the completed video file to the iDVD application so that you can design the menu layout and burn the DVD itself. To do this, click "Share:iDVD" in the menu at the top of the screen:

picture of iDVD share

You will be prompted to confirm your choice with a second dialog box. On it, click share:

picture of iDVD share dialog

At this point, the iDVD application will launch and your movie will be added to a default DVD menu layout. At this point you can burn the DVD immediately by clicking the burn "wormhole" button at the bottom of the iDVD window:

picture of wormhole

However, if you would like to further personalize the DVD menu layout then please consult Apple's iDVD tutorials, as it is outside the scope of this tutorial.

Exporting to CD:

To export the file to a format that can be burned to CD and will play on any computer with Quick time installed, click "File:Export…" in the iMovie menu at the top of the screen:

picture of export menu

In the dialog that appears, select the "Quick time" tab at the top and select "CD-ROM" in the drop-down box labeled "Compress Movie For":

picture of CD export

Then click "Share" at which point you will be asked where to save the file. Save the file to somewhere you will be able to find it later, such as the desktop. Once the file has been created you can burn it to CD using your favorite CD authoring application, such as Roxio's Toast.

Export for Email or Web:

If you plan on using the file on the internet, or as an email attachment, then follow the above instructions for exporting to a CD, but in the drop-down box labeled "Compress movie for" select "Web" or "Email" as the option and then click "Share":

picture of compress web

Finally, choose a place on the computer to save the file where it will be easy for you to find such as the Desktop.


Further Reading:

More Information can be found here: