Animated slideshows with PhotoFilmStrip

In the Terminal

A command-line option is normally a welcome addition for a graphical program. After all, batch processing large numbers of images in this way is often easier to manage.

With the command input photofilmstrip-cli, PhotoFilmStrip expects a project file and an output path (Figure 5). The terminal is thus only used for rendering a video, not for processing the imported images per se. It would have been useful to have special options here to be passed to MEncoder working in the background, but this isn't currently possible.

Figure 5: The command-line version of PhotoFilmStrip has just a few options.

Conclusions

PhotoFilmStrip is easy to use, works as expected, and produces high-quality videos, without having to intervene too much in the production process, and it has plenty of useful features if you want your video to be more elaborate. The subtitle function needs a bit of improving; otherwise, PhotoFilmStrip is fully operational. (See the "Alternatives" box for more information.)

Alternatives

PhotoFilmStrip isn't the only option. Imagination [4] is also capable of the Ken Burns effect. Although development seem to have stopped recently, the current version 3.0 also produces HD video.

DVD Slideshow [5] is another competitor that has unfortunately been in a deep sleep for four years. Added to this is the fact that it's a terminal program, which is not normally the best choice for video editing, and involves a steep learning curve. The package includes five Bash scripts that control external tools like FFmpeg, DVDAuthor, or ImageMagick via command-line options. The Ken Burns effect is realized in ImageMagick. By nature, ImageMagick isn't really suitable for specifically editing individual images. Its advantages are rather in batch processing large numbers of images.

Also of mention is the repeatedly expressed desire in relevant forums and mailing lists for LibreOffice Impress to be equipped with such a feature. For now, however, you need to continue coping with the existing ways to spice up a presentation. Aside from the Ken Burns effect, a reasonable way for exporting as a video file is still missing. The only format currently available, Flash, is already on the decline, which means that the all-around office suite will hardly be competition for more specialized programs in the foreseeable future.

Thanks to wxPython, the program is available in Windows as well as Linux and BSD, which is convenient for those who wanderer between worlds, allowing them to continue working on a project begun on one operating system, on a different operating system.

Mario Blättermann

Mario Blättermann is responsible for translations and integrating new templates and documentation with the gLabels project. He also works as a translator for the Gnome project and builds packages for Fedora.

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