Oh, how I wish I owned a Flux Capacitor, a Delorean and had a friend named "Doc" so I could travel back to the Nixon era and start a family. I'd love to be on the cutting edge of 70's technology and invite everyone over to the den to watch a slide show on the drop down screen above the bar of the baby. I'd set it to vinyl and spin Bowie's "Hunky Dory" and dim the lights. I'd love to sit running my fingers through the shag carpeting while I clicked through slide after slide after slide of baby photos. I'd leave in a picture or two of me in a smokey bar shooting pool or of my Firebird parked outside various U.S. landmarks. And if the audience was begging for more, I'd pull out the 8mm projector and throw up some home movies of us playing on the slip and slide or breaking high-scores on the Atari 2600.
But, alas - I'm stuck in the new millennium with scores of digital photos on my hard drive and endless ways to show them off to my friends and family around the globe. Gone are the days of gathering around the screen drinking beer from pop-tops. I guess there are times that I set up a slideshow on the Xbox360 streamed to our HD-TV from a network attached computer that houses backup's of all the photos. But, no pop-tops!
For sharing photos online, my favorite slide show program is on Animoto.com. Although you can buy a year pass of unlimited slide shows for $30/year, I pay for mine ala carte at 3 dollars a pop. The product is great but I'm not sure I'd make more than 10 a year.
The setup is simple and will leaving people wondering, "How'd you do that!" One of the great things about Animoto is it interprets the beat of the music you choose to play with alongside the photos and adjusts the speed of the slideshow accordingly. I've made movies with the same pictures but with different audio and each has a different result.
Once the video is made, you have the option to download the file, share it from Animoto or send it to Youtube. Be warned though - I've had the audio stripped from several videos on youtube for voilating copyright laws. I'm not sure why, but some videos don't get taken down... they just have ads put up under them for places online to buy the track? To avoid this, you can choose from some of the audio Animoto provides for the soundtrack... but where's the fun in that? Give it a try... you can make unlimited 30 second videos to try the service out.