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Software

Spice up your photos with VMix slide shows

Spice up your photos with VMix slide shows

I believe the world has a sufficient supply of photo- and video-sharing services, but that isn't stopping companies from trying to nab a slice of the market. Case in point: VMix, a video-sharing site that offers the usual video upload and viewing features (as well as a camera phone upload feature--YouTube was not the first). Its special power: an easy way to turn a bunch of photos into a slide show, with a music track, and slow zooms and crossovers like a Ken Burns documentary. You can do this with iPhoto on a Mac, too, but VMix works on a PC (or a Mac), and it works over the Web--no software is required.

It's a clever tool for adding life to photos. See my take at a slide show. You're in control of the pacing and the captions, and the capability to add music makes a big difference in emotional impact. At the moment, unfortunately, there are only a very few music tracks to choose from, but CEO Greg Kostello told me that there will soon be thousands of rights-cleared indie tracks available.

The slide show creator tool works well for the most part but could stand more development. For example, uploading photos is tedious: you can't drag photos from your desktop into the creator tool, and the file selection window is tiny, so it's hard to find the photos you want. There are limited transition effects; the zoom effect only zooms in, not out, for instance. And in my testing, slide shows took forever to buffer before they started to play, although videos from VMix play almost immediately.

There's also a limit on slide show length: 180 seconds. But this is a huge bonus, if you ask me. Watching a slide show of a dozen or so photos set to music beats paging through an entire vacation's worth of undifferentiated pictures any day.