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I love Aperture’s slide shows but right now, you can’t export them. So I needed a stand-alone slide show program that would help me create great online slide presentations without a lot of fuss. Enter – FotoMagico. (If you just want to cut to the chase and see my finished slide show – it’s online at Vimeo.)

I selected FotoMagico because of its heavy Mac integration. (Sorry Windows users.) In fact, if you’re using iPhoto or Aperture, you can import your images directly from your Library without any additional steps.

The interface is intuitive. You are first asked how the show should be formatted (what is your primary display device.) I selected monitor. I then went to preferences and selected the images pane. There I picked Aperture. Also in preferences in the authoring pane I selected “random pan and zoom” option in the program’s preferences dialog.

After that it was easy. I was able to import right from Aperture (or drag and drop from any other source.) If you set Aperture to provide the highest quality previews, it will automatically send a high-quality JPEG to FotoMagico without the need for conversion! SWEEEEEET! What a time saver.

I let the program do its thing and pressed the play button. After one pass through the show, I used the pan and zoom controls to fine tune the random pans and zooms selected by FotoMagico. I then went to GarageBand and prepared music that matched the length of my slide show. You have complete control over how long the images are on screen, transitions, etc.

I imported the music, hit play, and decided to make a couple of title slides – no need to go out to some other image program to do that.

The show was done and I decided to export it as an HD Movie. There are numerous export options, including screen savers, stand alone players, QuickTime and MP4, iPod, iPhone and AppleTV, etc.

The export process took some time (I wish I had the new Elgato Turbo.H264 hardware encoder to see how much time I could have saved,) but I was off having breakfast and when I returned – the show was ready.

A single license is $49 and the pro version (the one I used) is $129. Boinx, the makers of FotoMagico offer a free trial period so you can decide for yourself if you like it.

I read earlier reviews of this program complaining that various iterations were buggy. I have to say I didn’t have that experience at all. While I didn’t test every single feature to its limit, I never had a crash, freeze or problem. It worked right out of the box. It was easy and I think the final product came out well.

If you’d like to see my first FotoMagico slide show, you can check it out on Vimeo. It’s called Raptors.

I know that paying for slide show software is hard to justify for casual photographers who already have iPhoto. But if you’re a photographer who needs very high quality slide shows, with a wide variety of distribution capabilities, you might just want to pay the piper and get yourself a copy of FotoMagico. When combined with iPhoto or Aperture, it’s even more valuable.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Windows users, please feel free to leave comments containing your favorite photo slide show software.

Join the conversation! 34 Comments

  1. There’s always iPhoto. It creates slide shows as well. They can be exported to flash.

  2. There’s always iPhoto. It creates slide shows as well. They can be exported to flash.

  3. I have been waiting for something like this for the mac. I recently switched to a mac, but would have to go back to Windows to do my slide shows. On Windows I use ProShow Producer and have not been able to find anything in OS X that let me use the cool motions and zoom. The price is a little high for the pro version, so I may have to stick with ProShow Producer* for the time being.

    Also, ProShow Producer will also let you make slide shows with an expiration date. It works great to create demos for clients.

    * The retail price is pretty high, but I was able to buy it for $75 during one of there sales

  4. I have been waiting for something like this for the mac. I recently switched to a mac, but would have to go back to Windows to do my slide shows. On Windows I use ProShow Producer and have not been able to find anything in OS X that let me use the cool motions and zoom. The price is a little high for the pro version, so I may have to stick with ProShow Producer* for the time being.

    Also, ProShow Producer will also let you make slide shows with an expiration date. It works great to create demos for clients.

    * The retail price is pretty high, but I was able to buy it for $75 during one of there sales

  5. Pretty damn impressive Scott!
    As a side note, I’d be very interested in seeing a video podcast on how you made the soundtrack using Garageband.

  6. Pretty damn impressive Scott!
    As a side note, I’d be very interested in seeing a video podcast on how you made the soundtrack using Garageband.

  7. love the slideshow! but being somewhat of a music man as well, where did you get such compelling music to compliment your photos so nicely?

    also, does ProShow Producer allow you to have music as well? im just getting into slide shows so I’m curious as to what all there is out there

  8. love the slideshow! but being somewhat of a music man as well, where did you get such compelling music to compliment your photos so nicely?

    also, does ProShow Producer allow you to have music as well? im just getting into slide shows so I’m curious as to what all there is out there

  9. A very cheap alternative (i.e. zero alex) is MS Photo Story 3 for Windows. My daughter’s school was using it for one of her projects and I was surprised at the functionality it supported.

    And the raptor show was stunning!

  10. A very cheap alternative (i.e. zero alex) is MS Photo Story 3 for Windows. My daughter’s school was using it for one of her projects and I was surprised at the functionality it supported.

    And the raptor show was stunning!

  11. @Spencer the music is a combo of loops and RF music I arranged in GarageBand. I was a music minor at Indiana University. Don’t use ProShow so can’t answer that question for you.

  12. @Spencer the music is a combo of loops and RF music I arranged in GarageBand. I was a music minor at Indiana University. Don’t use ProShow so can’t answer that question for you.

  13. This is great and it would be really good if you kept doing reviews on the blog.

  14. This is great and it would be really good if you kept doing reviews on the blog.

  15. What I find missing in the slideshow programs I have used is the ability to ‘cut to the music’, ie have the slide change on a particular beat or accent in the soundtrack. Yes, it is possible to set individual durations for each slide, but this seems a time consuming way to work. What I would like would be the ability to select the photos and then, while the music plays, press a key to say ‘Change Now’.
    Does anyone have experience of a program with this feature?

  16. What I find missing in the slideshow programs I have used is the ability to ‘cut to the music’, ie have the slide change on a particular beat or accent in the soundtrack. Yes, it is possible to set individual durations for each slide, but this seems a time consuming way to work. What I would like would be the ability to select the photos and then, while the music plays, press a key to say ‘Change Now’.
    Does anyone have experience of a program with this feature?

  17. Gorgeous! The shot of the owl and the window pane is one of my favorite shots in a stunning bunch.

    I second the request for a garageband video tutorial; greedy person that I am.

  18. Gorgeous! The shot of the owl and the window pane is one of my favorite shots in a stunning bunch.

    I second the request for a garageband video tutorial; greedy person that I am.

  19. Thanks for this, I’ll definitely have to check this out.

  20. Thanks for this, I’ll definitely have to check this out.

  21. Scott – Well done. iMovie can do something similar to this by adding photos from the media library. Does Fotomagico have additional functionality that makes it better?

  22. @Scubasteven – iMovie is also a tool I’ve used for this, but FotoMagico is designed for photo slide shows and iMovie is designed for movies. It’s faster, easier and more elegant in FotoMagico. The stand alone player export and screen saver export are cool too. You could probably do most of this in iMovie – but it would take much longer and wouldn’t be as smooth.

  23. @Scubasteven – iMovie is also a tool I’ve used for this, but FotoMagico is designed for photo slide shows and iMovie is designed for movies. It’s faster, easier and more elegant in FotoMagico. The stand alone player export and screen saver export are cool too. You could probably do most of this in iMovie – but it would take much longer and wouldn’t be as smooth.

  24. I use Sony Vegas to make slide shows. I guess I’m working too hard.

  25. I use Sony Vegas to make slide shows. I guess I’m working too hard.

  26. First off, the pics are just stunning!! I don’t know what to say other than, wow!!!

    I just purchased FotoMagico for a restoration project I’m working on. I’m preparing a 50th Wedding Anniversary DVD for a client. I’m just about ready to start assembling the film as my restorations are nearly complete.

    A fun slideshow application that I recommend is called Pulp Motion. It can be found here: http://www.aquafadas.com/en/pulpmotion/

    I use that one for the more casual snapshot type slides.

  27. First off, the pics are just stunning!! I don’t know what to say other than, wow!!!

    I just purchased FotoMagico for a restoration project I’m working on. I’m preparing a 50th Wedding Anniversary DVD for a client. I’m just about ready to start assembling the film as my restorations are nearly complete.

    A fun slideshow application that I recommend is called Pulp Motion. It can be found here: http://www.aquafadas.com/en/pulpmotion/

    I use that one for the more casual snapshot type slides.

  28. Fotomagico allows you to mark the music track, then set the slide to advance at the mark. I used the program to produce a sports banquet presentation of over 400 slides, keyed to the music. Like most programs (iMovie does this too), the timing drift for some reason after rendering. Drives me nuts, but the impact can be minimzed by using cross dissolve transition that dont require the perfect timing of cuts.

    The one aspect I would love to see added is the ability to fade music tracks in or out or see visually beats in the music. Right now, the audio track is less intuitive than the old iMovie HD program because you can’t see a timeline like you see in iMovie or FCE/FCP. Put that in and the program would be about all one would need.

    The iTunes browser was a bit flakey. Searches dont work well at the moment. Not a big deal, but the user generally must search manually for tracks.

  29. Fotomagico allows you to mark the music track, then set the slide to advance at the mark. I used the program to produce a sports banquet presentation of over 400 slides, keyed to the music. Like most programs (iMovie does this too), the timing drift for some reason after rendering. Drives me nuts, but the impact can be minimzed by using cross dissolve transition that dont require the perfect timing of cuts.

    The one aspect I would love to see added is the ability to fade music tracks in or out or see visually beats in the music. Right now, the audio track is less intuitive than the old iMovie HD program because you can’t see a timeline like you see in iMovie or FCE/FCP. Put that in and the program would be about all one would need.

    The iTunes browser was a bit flakey. Searches dont work well at the moment. Not a big deal, but the user generally must search manually for tracks.

  30. Great post!
    May I ask what blog theme you are using?

    Cheers
    Eric

  31. Great post!
    May I ask what blog theme you are using?

    Cheers
    Eric

  32. Hi,
    I am trying the demo version of fotomagico. it works beautiful. i was using iphoto and the photo qualities comes out not as i preferred. but fotomagico qualities is superb. only thing is there is a advert of fotomagico at the bottom of every slide. any way of turning it off OR will it go away when i purchase it?

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About scottbourne

Founder of Photofocus.com. Retired traveling and unhooking from the Internet.

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