Ashampoo's Slideshow Studio HD 3 can take a collection of still pictures and sound clips and turn it into a basic slideshow or a public television-style documentary with music, narration, onscreen text, and special effects. It saves projects as video clips in popular formats that will play on all your devices, plus you can share them with others or post them online. Slideshow Studio HD 3 is freeware that you can try for 40 days without registering. Registration, which is also free, enables support.
At first glance, Slideshow Studio's user interface presents a busy appearance, though it's stylish and efficient, too, with a toolbar, timeline, and quick-rotating preview pane. We started with a New Project, which involves loading images, selecting orientation, transition interval, and adding text, sound, and more. Slideshow Studio's wizard walked us through each step, starting with screen ratio (16:9 widescreen or 4:3 normal). The Add Files tool configures the sort order (alphanumeric, randomize, and so on), while a drop-down menu offers themes like Romance, Travel, Holidays, and Sports; or we could configure our own from tabs labeled "Themes," "Logos," "Subtitles," "Music Effects," and "Recordings." We set the duration and style of transition effects from a huge list of options. With a microphone, you also can record narration. When all was set, we clicked "Produce Slideshow." Our finished production played normally in our usual media player and we were happy with the results.
By far our favorite feature of Slideshow Studio HD 3, and the one that sets it above similar tools, is its Ken Burns Effect Editor, named for the documentary filmmaker who popularized the technique of bringing still images to life through subtle panning and motion. With its wonderful features and ease of use, Ashampoo's Slideshow Studio HD 3 eclipses other slideshow tools we've tried, free or not.
Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of Ashampoo Slideshow Studio HD 3. The trial version is limited to 40 days.