The ProShow Blog

Tips, tutorials & inspiration for making slideshows

How to Prepare Videos for Use in Slideshows


Slideshows are a fabulous way to tell a story – a story of someone’s life, of a sports team’s season, or perhaps of a couple as they get married.  However, even the best-made slideshows can suffer from the monotony of watching photo after photo move across the screen.

How do you liven up your slideshows to ensure an engaged audience?  The answer is simple — incorporate a few video clips.   Inserting a few video clips into a slideshow can really change up the feel of your show and keep the audience on its toes.

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of video clips in slideshows.

Digitizing Old Camcorder Tapes or Film Reels

If you have footage from a VHS tape, analog camcorder or film reels, start by digitizing the movie.  There are many options to digitize your footage.  Two leading national providers of transfer services are Everpresent ( and Fotobridge (  Both of these services use the highest quality transfer equipment and can provide you with a hard drive copy of your footage in addition to the DVD.  It is this hard drive footage that you need to incorporate into your slideshows.  If you only get a DVD of your footage you will need to “rip” the DVD which adds another step and diminishes the quality of the footage.

Everpresent will actually do the video clipping for you and provide you with minute-by-minute screen shots so you can pick the best segments for your slideshow without having to re-watch hours of videos.  They also make the clips available online which is great if you are in a rush when preparing for a family event.

If you decide to digitize the camcorder footage yourself, pick a high quality video converter.  I recommend the Grass Valley/Canopul ADVC110 converter – available for about $200 on Amazon.

Editing Your Video Clips in ProShow

All ProShow versions include a trim feature to get the timing precisely right on your clip. ProShow software can accept many different types of video clips including .mov and.mp4.  Use the file type that you find easiest to edit and upload.  However, you shouldn’t rely on ProShow to do advanced editing.  For advanced editing, you need a dedicated video editor like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker.  Or you can go the professional route with Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere.  I convert and edit all my video using my Mac and Final Cut Pro, then I export the files to .mov and bring them over to the PC where I build the slideshow using ProShow Producer.

Tips for Using Video in your Slideshows

Choose the right clip!  Just like with photos, every video clip you insert ought to be purposeful and move the story forward.  Don’t stick clips in your slideshow just because you have them.  Make sure they are tightly edited (trimmed down to the main action) and they are interesting.

Be mindful of the length of the clip.   If you are using ProShow Web you are limited to 10 seconds (free) 20 seconds (Plus) or 30 seconds (Premium).  Even though you can edit/trim the video within the web app, you still need to make sure the video you are uploading isn’t over the limits mentioned above.

Slow it down! Sometimes with hand held camera footage, slowing down the footage to 90 or 95% of original speed can make it look better/smoother.

Avoid Vertical Video Syndrome! If you are using new footage shot using using your camera phone, remember to turn the phone sideways.  I constantly have to remind my clients to turn their phone sideways when capturing video.  Here’s a funny “public service announcement” that will remind you not to suffer from VVS (vertical video syndrome)

To duck or not to duck?  Decide if you want to have the audio on the movie be heard, or would you prefer to have the show’s soundtrack be heard.  If you decide you want to “duck” the audio on one of the tracks then ProShow has got you covered.

Use effects sparingly with video:  With a video you presumably already have some “action” happening.  So choose your slide styles/effects carefully to make sure there isn’t too much happening on the screen.

Creative Ideas for using Video in your Slideshows

If you are ready to incorporate some video, here are some suggested uses:

  • Group message at the end of a show saying “I Love You/Congrats/Happy Birthday, etc”
  • Message from the guest of honor saying “thanks for coming”.
  • Incorporate well wishes from folks who couldn’t make the event.
  • Comedic effect:  If you have a funny clip (e.g. someone dancing silly, making faces) this can be a great way to get the audience laughing.
  • Sports highlight:  Best plays of the season, the team running onto the field, post game celebrations.
  • Morphing:  I have used the software from Morpheus  ( to create fun photo morphing effects.  To be honest, I think some of the samples on the website look creepy – like people morphing into cats.  But I have successfully used the morphing to show before/after shots on construction projects.  This was well-received by the clients.  The success of the morph depends on having two very similar photos (same angle, same composition) to really line up the morph points.

Last but not least…if you are getting overwhelmed thinking about how to put together a slideshow…bring in an expert.  Members of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers can help you get your photos/videos ready to tell the best story possible.  To find an organizer in your area go to

Jenny LarsonAbout Jenny:
Jenny Larson has over 10 years in the photo organizing/video industry. Her passion for storytelling compelled her to found Forever Digital Memories in 2003. Since then, Jenny has helped thousands of clients tell their unique stories through the magic of combining photos, videos and music. She also has helped corporate clients and nonprofits grow their businesses through compelling marketing videos. Jenny has a passion for learning cutting edge technologies and prides herself on offering her clients the best options for their photos/videos. Jenny has an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Communication Studies and a law degree from the University of Southern California. Jenny lives in Glenview, IL and is the mom to three boys and a small zoo of animals who have taught her the value of staying organized and capturing each and every moment and preserving it carefully.



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Planning to make a slideshow for a family reunion or class reunion? With ProShow, it takes just minutes to create a beautiful slideshow video using the automatic wizard and instant effects. To get started on your slideshow, get ProShow today. Upgrade or try it free today.
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Amanda works in Photodex's marketing department and heads up the company's pr and events efforts. She loves photography, living in Austin and making slideshows.