They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. And if that’s the case, then a lot of pictures must be worth a lot more words, right? Sure they are. Whether it’s commemorating special occasions like weddings, birthdays and graduations, capturing the beauty of nature, wildlife etc., or even the hipster popularized current fad of taking a gazillion selfies on a daily basis and posting them on social networks, pictures have always been the best way of immortalizing memories and expressing ourselves, and that’s still the case.
Almost all of us have quite a sizable collection of pictures (and of course videos, which are sort of extensions of pictures) on our computers, smartphones, or whatever, that we like to revisit on a frequent basis. But I’m sure you’ll agree, that clicking through a listing of photos (and videos) time and again often gets a little monotonous. And that’s where slideshow maker tools come into the picture.
These fun little software and online tools let you transform your favorite images (and video clips) into stunning looking slideshow videos, complete with stuff like background music, wicked cool transition effects, and even captions. Sounds dope, doesn’t it? Read on, as we run down the listing of some of the best slideshow makers out there. For your convenience, we have subdivided the list in Desktop based software and online tools. We’ll first discuss the software and then move onto web apps.
Best Slideshow Makers – Desktop Applications
Powerhouse applications don’t always have to be cumbersome to use, and Movavi Slideshow Maker is solid proof of that. A well rounded program, it makes creating slideshow videos, in its own words, as easy as 1-2-3. You can add as many photos and videos as you want, either individually, or as entire folders. After that, you can upload either multiple audio files of your choice, or use some of the pre-installed sound effects. Finally, select one (or all) of the included transition effects to be applied to the added photos and videos, specify parameters like output directory and format, and that’s about it. What’s more, you can individually apply basic edits like auto enhance, volume leveling, rotate etc. to the added media before creating the slideshows, and the preview window on the right makes it simple to preview the changes and adjust them, thanks to the playback buttons. Movavi supports a plethora of input and output formats, including BMP, GIF, PNG (Images); 3GP, MP4, MKV (Video); and AAC, FLAC, MP3 (Audio).
Pros: Surprisingly easy to use for a feature loaded application, Lots of audio/video/image formats supported, Basic edits can be applied to added media before creation, Custom output profiles for different purposes.
Cons: Occasional random crashes, Full-screen functionality is a little clunky, “Trial version” text overlaid on created slideshow videos.
Compatibility: Windows 10, 8, 7 and XP.
Pricing: $29.95 for the full version. 7 day trial available.
Taking a look at ProShow Gold for the first time can be a little intimidating, given the barrage of sub-windows, settings, and other stuff that its UI is composed of. However, once you get the hang of all that, things get a lot easier. The professional grade slideshow maker application boasts a healthy collection of features. You start off by adding the photos and videos to be used for the slideshow via the Folder List column on the left, upon which they are added to the Slide List/Timeline bar at the bottom. You can also use the Import option to add content directly from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Picasa. Once added, each photo/video added can be extensively tweaked, and you can add everything from slide montages, to transition effects, to themes to them. And of course there are options to add background music, captions, and stuff like that. The changes can be previewed in the preview window on the right. After everything is set, hit the Publish button on the toolbar, and you’ll be able to save the output slideshow video directly to optical discs, save it to the computer in a variety of presets/formats, or even upload it to services like YouTube. Now that, is cool. ProShow Gold supports an extensive range of formats, like 3GP, MP4, WMV, AVI, and Flash Video.
Pros: Extremely feature laden, Tons of transition effects, themes, and whatnot, Ability to import content from social networks directly, Built-in image editing features, Wizard mode, Video export to multiple online services.
Cons: Can seem a little too overwhelming to novice users, Addition of multiple photos doesn’t work at times, Evaluation version banner overlaid on created slideshow videos.
Compatibility: Windows 10, 8, 7 and XP.
Pricing: $69.95 for full version. 15 day trial available.
Generally, software applications are either too simple, or overly complicated. But what if you’re looking for something that caters to both amateurs and professionals? That’s exactly what iSkysoft Slideshow Maker intends to be, having two distinct self-explanatory usage modes, namely Standard and Advanced. While the former lets you churn out slideshow videos with no effort using preset styles and templates, the latter provides much more fine grained control, letting you add motion effects, transitions, clip-arts, and then some more.The UI itself is extremely easy to get used to. To begin, add the photos and videos to be used in creating the slideshow, and move to the next step. Here, you can add transitions, intro credits, pre-audio, and things like that to the slideshow elements, and also edit them on a per-element basics. As the last step, iSkysoft Slideshow Maker lets you save your slideshow video in any of the supported video formats, write it directly (complete with DVD style menus) to optical discs, or share it on YouTube. The application has solid file format support, with nearly all formats, from MP4 to AVI, and from MOV to MKV being supported.
Pros: Two distinct usage modes geared towards basic and advanced users, Easy to understand UI, Preview capability, Extensive audio/video support for both input and output.
Cons: The interface might seem a little unpolished to some users, Slow creation speed, Watermark added to output videos.
Compatibility: Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7 and XP; Mac OS X 10.6 and above.
Pricing: Paid versions start from $59.95 (Windows), and $49.95 (Mac). 30 day trial version available.
Although it’s true that paid software applications generally offer a much wider range of features, more often than not, the free stuff is just as good. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Windows Movie Maker, and you will. While it may not be teeming with fifty thousand unique features, the veteran video editing program, coming from none other than Microsoft, packs in more than enough punch to take care of all your slideshow video creation needs. Having the extremely user friendly Ribbon UI, using Windows Movie Maker is a breeze. To fire things off, you can add your favorite photos and videos, music, or even video directly recorded from your webcam. Post that, use the Animation and Visual Effects tabs to apply the same to the added media, either selectively, or all at the same time. You can even add fade in/out music effects to transitions, and preview the changes right in the preview window. Once done, simply save the created slideshow video using any of the built-in presets. You can also create custom presets, and share the created video to online services like YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook. The only downer here is that the output video support is limited to just one format, namely WMV.
Pros: Lightweight, Easy to use, Quite a handful of transitions and visual effects included, Direct sharing to popular social networks.
Cons: Not very feature rich, Hasn’t been updated in quite a while, Output format supported limited.
Pricing: N.A. (Free).
Best Slideshow Makers: Online Tools
If you’re looking for a simple, no-nonsense way of creating slideshow videos from your images, look on further than Picovico. The web-based application is ridiculously straightforward to use, and all you need is a free account to get started. Once you’ve logged in, hit the Create Video button on the top right corner, and you’ll be guided through a series of steps for the video creation process. During these, you can upload the photos, as well as add textual slides to create the slideshow from. Apart from that, you can specify the background music from the available genre presets, or upload your own. Finally, specify parameters like video quality (only 360p at the free level), privacy etc., and Picovico will handle the rest, creating a sweet looking photo slideshow in a matter of seconds. The created video can be previewed in any browser, downloaded (in mp4 format), and even shared instantly via the social sharing icons.
Pros: Simple video creation process, Uploaded photos remain synced to the account and don’t need to be uploaded again, Ability to set videos as public or private, One-click sharing, E-mail notifications when videos are created.
Cons: Free account caps a lot of features, such as restricting video output quality to 360p, and not allowing more than 5 videos to be created within 24 hours, Output format support limited to just MP4.
Availability: Web-based (Desktop); Android (Mobile)
Pricing: Premium account costs $9.49 per month.
There’s a heck of a lot more to Slidely than meets the eye. That’s because it’s not just about photo slideshows, but can also churn out photo collages and image collections just fine. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Slidely is actually a social network of sorts, where you can not only share your created slideshow videos with others, but also follow your favorite creators and view curated collections. Whether you want to use images from your computer, or import some directly from social networks and services such as Facebook, Twitter, and even Dropbox, Slidely has you covered. Once done adding the images, you can add background music, which itself can be uploaded either from the computer, or imported from YouTube, SoundCloud, and then some more. As a last step, add information like title, description etc., and click on the Save my Slidely button. The created slideshow video will be shared on your Slidely profile, and can be also shared directly to Facebook and Twitter.
Pros: Does a lot more than just creating photo slideshows, Community based sharing features, Ability to import media from a host of different social networks, Videos can be set as public or private, User configurable transition speeds for photos.
Cons: Not exactly the most the user friendly web UI, Slow at times, Created videos can’t be downloaded.
Availability: Web-based (Desktop); iOS, Android (Mobile)
Pricing: N.A. (Free)
Riding high on the sharing and collaboration bandwagon, Magisto offers quite a robust set of features. An impressively good slideshow maker tool, it makes quick work of turning your photos and videos into great looking slideshow videos. Typical of any web based service, Magisto also requires you to create a free account to get started. Once you’re past that, it’s quite a simple and straightforward process. You start off by adding photos and videos, which can be either uploaded from the computer, or directly imported from Google Drive. For the next step, you can choose from a variety of preset themes, ranging from Pets, to Indie, to Food. After that, simply upload the background music (or select from the ones available), type a name, and Magisto will take it from there. All your created videos, called Movies, can be accessed under the My Movies sub-section. And there’s more. Magisto also lets you create collections of videos, called Albums, which can be collaboratively edited by users specified by you. Obviously, the created slideshow videos can be shared on major social networks, as well as via unique URL. You can upload all sorts of videos (e.g. MOV, 3G2, ASF) for creating movies. However, during our testing, we weren’t able to verify the output video format, due to free account limitations. Magisto also has a PC application, if you prefer that.
Pros: Polished web UI, Nicely curated themes, Fast video creation, Easy sharing, Collaboration features, Automatic optimization of output videos during creation.
Cons: Free account restricted to clips of maximum 15 minutes in length, No downloads allowed, Movies more than 2 months old are archived and can’t be downloaded.
Availability: Web-based, Windows (Desktop); iOS, Android, Amazon App Store (Mobile).
Pricing: Paid plans start from $4.99 per month.
A few clicks. That’s all it takes to create impressive looking slideshow videos from photos using Animoto. Since it’s a web-based utility, all you need is a web browser to start creating. There are also tons of preset styles (Rustic, Frameless to name a few), divided into categories like Party, Wedding etc. to choose from. Once you’ve selected a style, you can simply upload the images/videos, or directly import them from networks like Facebook and Instagram. After that, choose the background music to be used, as well as any textual captions that you might need to add. Note that you can can preview a realtime low resolution sample of the slideshow video to be created anytime, as you’re adding photos and videos. Finally, hit the Produce button, and Animoto will spin into action. The created video can be instantly shared on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter (and a lot more), and you can even embed it on webpages. How cool is that?
Pros: Quite a lot of styles to choose from, Surprisingly fast video creation, Ability to import images from a host of online services, such as Facebook, Twitter, and even Dropbox.
Cons: Free account severely limited in features, such as restricting video quality to 360p, and even disabling video downloads, Animoto logo added to the end of created videos, Output video format limited to MP4.
Availability: Web-based (Desktop); iOS, Android (Mobile).
Pricing: Paid plans start from $19.99 per month.
SEE ALSO: 10 Best Free Photo Editing Software
Slideshow maker applications make quick work of transforming your photos and videos into incredible looking personalized videos. And with the many options discussed in this article, you’re sure to find one that fits your needs perfectly. If you’re looking for basic, web-based tools, Picovico, Animoto etc., are great choices. If you’d prefer working with a desktop application having a much broader feature set, go for the professional grade ProShow Gold or Movavi Slideshow Maker. Also, Windows Movie Maker in itself is a great choice, and it’s totally gratis. Take them all for a spin, and let us know which ones you find the best. Know of any other slideshow maker tool that should’ve made it to the list? Feel free to mention in the comments below.