1. Technology

ProShow Gold 5 from Photodex

Create Engaging Slide Shows with ProShow Gold

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating
User Rating 4 Star Rating (2 Reviews)


ProShow Gold 5

ProShow Gold 5

© Photodex
ProShow Gold allows you to create simple to elaborate digital photo slide shows for computer, mobile, and HDTV playback. The software is highly customizable, with hundreds of transition effects, many audio options, the popular "Ken Burns" pan and zoom motion effects, and a variety of output formats. Although Proshow Gold is more expensive than some competing software, it offers a lot of sophistication while remaining easy to use for beginners.

ProShow Gold, reviewed here, is the affordable Windows desktop software, but ProShow is also available as a subscription-based online service for Mac, Windows, and iOS. And ProShow Producer is the advanced version, with professional-level editing tools and branded publishing. See the comparison chart of versions for details.

ProShow Gold 5 Pros

  • Start quickly with an automatic show and customize from there, or have complete control over all aspects of your slide show creation.
  • Lots of customization options.
  • Hundreds of transitions with preview capability.
  • Publish for many formats and devices; Blu-ray, DVD, video files, and online sharing.
  • Work with layers for adding multiple photos or videos to each slide.
  • Choose from hundreds of preset styles for pan and zoom effects.

ProShow Gold 5 Cons

  • Some windows are a fixed size and it would be nice to enlarge them for a bigger preview.
  • Automatic show creation may result in repetitive effects.
  • Opening large shows can be slow.
  • Desktop software is for Windows only. (An online service is offered for other platforms.)

ProShow Gold 5 Description

  • Create professional slide shows from still photos, then output them for playback on a computer, mobile device, or TV.
  • Start from scratch or let ProShow's wizard automatically mix your show based on your choice of theme, photos, music, and titles.
  • Add background sound tracks, text captions, audio captions, motion and transition effects.
  • Includes more than 550 professional transition effects with convenient preview and selection. Effect packs can be purchased for even more creative styles and effects.
  • More than 50 publishing/sharing options. Output Blu-ray, MPEG, DVD, VCD, HD video, Flash, QuickTime, WMV, Autorun CD, screen saver, or stand-alone executable.
  • Apply image adjustments, motion effects, sounds, captions, and backgrounds to each slide.
  • Image options: Crop, rotate, flip, scale, colorize, fix red-eye, sharpen; adjust color, brightness, and tone.
  • Audio options: Precise control over timing, volume, offset, and fade in/out. Import audio from disc and use multiple tracks.
  • Motion effects: Pan, zoom, and rotate slides for the "Ken Burns" effect, adjust acceleration styles for motion effects, add 3D tilt effects. Choose preset slide styles like flimstrip, collage scatter, and more.

Working with ProShow Gold 5

ProShow Gold 5 Screen Shot

ProShow Gold 5 Screen Shot (click to enlarge)

© Photodex
ProShow Gold is a feature-rich program for creating slide shows from your pictures, video clips, and music. It's easy enough to complete a show in less than ten minutes, but with all the customization options available, you may find yourself spending much more time adding effects, synchronizing audio, and personalizing your shows with captions. One nice feature in ProShow is the ability to automatically adjust the time of all slides to sync your show time to match your background soundtrack. Or you can go fully automatic with ProShow's wizard that automatically generates a themed slide show from the media you choose.

ProShow Gold has jumped a couple of versions since I last reviewed it, and now it has a mind-boggling array of effects, styles, themes, and transitions. Of course, ProShow's latest version has kept up-to-date with all the latest output options, including Blu-ray and special output profiles for the most popular mobile devices, phones, and online sharing sites.

I decided to try ProShow's automatic show wizard for a birthday show I was creating. It worked well, but since my show was rather long, I found some of the effects were repeated more often than I liked. I could have remixed the show again using the wizard, but instead decided to manually add my customizations, which I feel made the show more interesting and dynamic.

ProShow Gold 5 now offers slide styles with loads of fun pan, zoom, and 3D tilt effects that will wow your viewers and keep them entertained. The show I created with ProShow Gold 5 had no soundtrack and was meant to play on a loop throughout a party, and I was surprised to see some people stopping to watch it all the way through--all 36 minutes of it! That's how engaging some of the effects in ProShow are.

Despite my large project size, I didn't have any of the performance issues with ProShow Gold 5 that I'd experienced with older versions of the program. Opening my large project took a couple of minutes, but once open, working on the project went smoothly. I exported my slide show as a high-definition Quicktime (MOV) file to be played on a laptop hooked to a 50-inch HDTV, and the image quality was excellent, even with some rather low resolution source photos.

ProShow supports all the common video formats, as well as disc burning, and offers publishing profiles for popular online services (YouTube, Facebook, SmugMug) as well as devices (computers, tablets, phones). Multiple shows can be burned to a single disc with fancy menus for selecting shows by remote control. In addition, ProShow can generate Windows screen savers, streaming Web shows, and self-contained executables that will play on any Windows PC.

For truly impressive slide shows that will wow your friends and family, you can't go wrong with ProShow Gold. If you have a fast internet connection and only expect to make a few slide shows per year, you may want to go with the inexpensive subscription-based ProShow Web version. For those looking to make slide-shows professionally, ProShow Producer would be the way to go.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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