Get some mileage out of all those digital photos you have lying around
Hands up those who have thousands of digital photos lying around. Keep your hand up if none of them have ever been printed or even looked at since they were taken? Well, I guess the forest of hands would indicate that it applies to most of us. If you still have your hand up, one solution would be to pick out the best of them and turn them into a slideshow or, if you’re more adventurous, some sort of multimedia extravaganza.
Whatever end of that particular spectrum you choose, Magix’s latest Photostory 2016 Deluxe will get the job done. It’s a product that leans heavily on the video technology that Magix has become well known for, using similar functions and a layout that will be familiar to anyone conversant with video editing. I seem to be repeating myself each time I review a Magix product, because the amount of content includes with its products is remarkable, and Photostory 2016 is no different. In fact, when you consider what some companies charge for professional effects and transitions, you quickly realise the exceptional value this represents. As well as the standard content provided on the installation DVD, it includes over 6GB of downloadable content. You also get free copies of Magix Photo Manager 15 Deluxe and the Magix Song Collection. So that gives you some idea of what you get for your money, but if you don’t want to get too involved in the production process, the Magix team have thought of that as well. You can get the job done with very little input if you use the Slideshow Maker option. This provides a fairly simple set of menus with single-click options, determining the theme and pace of your project. Firstly, there’s a set of style templates to choose from, with a preview option to help you visualise the result. (Incidentally this preview option is a constant feature of all the effects etc. throughout the program.) So once you’ve decided on a style, you can make it unique by changing just a few other options. These include the intensity of the project, the type of transitions and effects you prefer, your choice of music, and titles. Of course you can leave all that to the Slideshow Maker if you wish, but to be honest, it’s quite easy and fun to do; it also makes the final project more interesting for your viewers. If you particularly like the style you’ve created, you can save it to use again. Once you’ve finished the creative bit, a single click on the apply button is all you have to do. And I have to say the results are generally better than you those you might create on your own.On the other hand, if you do like to get involved, the world is your oyster, and of course you’ll get to see how easy the interface is to use. For example, if you want a simple cross fade between slides, you simply push one into the other. The distance they cross determines the timing of the cross fades; there’s also a small marker at the top of each slide you can use for the same purpose. Adding other effects is just as easy; having watched a preview, you simply click on the down arrow to apply the effect to the current slide. As you might expect, the program includes comprehensive output options, again with a range of pre defined DVD-style menus to choose from. The preview in this case displays a handset so you can check that the chapter markers are set where you want them. Finally, this version includes better image optimisation, new high dynamic range effects, optimised multitrack performance and the facility to arrange your slides so they match the beat of the soundtrack.
Comprehensive and realistically priced.