This blog merits a Mr. Curmudgeon heading because I am angry at Apple for changing a function in iPhoto for the worse.
I have the occasion to make slide shows from time to time using iPhoto. Why? It’s simply because iPhoto does it better, sharper, cleaner and faster than any other software. Final Cut Pro, and iMovie won’t produce the high resolution files that I need, and I don’t know of any other software that will do what I need.
The QuickTime tab at the top of the Export palette in iPhoto was a convenient and powerful tool. It’s gone now.
One example of this is that I want to take a bitmap image (JPEG, Photoshop, PNG, etc.) and convert it into a QuickTime movie of a specific resolution and of a certain duration. This used to be simple. I would import the bitmap image into iPhoto, then Export that image (or a group of images) to a QuickTime movie of a specific resolution and with a precise duration. It took seconds. And, QuickTime seems to be able to make a movie of any resolution (there may be a limit, but I have never discovered it).
Four times each year I prepare high-resolution image shows (I will refrain from calling them “slideshows”) for an event called Pecha Kucha. These shows consist of 20 images arranged in order, and exported to QuickTime at a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels and at an interval of 20 seconds each. They must be exactly six minutes and 40 seconds in duration, finished. I choose this resolution because it is the maximum native resolution that can be projected by the fabulous Epson projector that we use. These shows are simply stunning in quality. Bright, clear images that gently dissolve from one frame to the next
In the new iPhoto menu there is only a Slideshow menu. This has been enhanced, but the process is convoluted and confusing. It’s also much slower than it used to be.
The only weakness of this method is that the only transition possible is the dissolve. But, I like that, and can easily live with that.
I have been teaching time-lapse photography to my students for over a year, and we use this technique to create title and credits sequences to paste at the front and back of the student time-lapse projects, and it has worked perfectly.
That was until last week when my students went to iPhoto to make these little movie clips only to discover that Apple took the QuickTime feature out of the Export menu, making it about 12.23 times more difficult to make a QuickTime movie from a still frame in iPhoto. It’s still possible, but it’s harder, and it takes a boat load of steps to get it done where it used to be one step. And, it’s about 17.23 times slower now – I don’t know why.
It is now necessary to enter the Slideshow mode, then click on the gear (settings) that is in the control badge. Once in that palette, one must set (or reset) the controls for the style of the slideshow (it wants to default to the Ken Burns effect), the sound settings, and the duration and transition effects.
This is the first of three panels where changes must be made to the Slideshow settings in iPhoto. Here I enter the duration of the image in the final movie – 5.0 seconds, and here I turn everything else off except the Transition. Here it is set to Dissolve.
I like the ability to define a different transition than dissolve – which used to be the only choice – so this story is not all curmudgeonly. Apple gets some style points for this change.
In the music panel I turn off the Play music during slideshow setting so it doesn’t insert Bach’s Air on a G String into my title sequence.
Once you have made the changes to the Slideshow settings, you select your image – and there can be only one image in the Album – and choose Export from the File menu. If you have more that one image in the Album, even if not selected, all images will be exported into the movie you make. As a result of this dumb change, I am now forced to make a separate Album for each individual image I want to export. That’s not a big deal, but it’s not like it used to be.
As charmed as I am by Ken Burns, I don’t like the effect for my simple movies. I use the Classic setting, which means: leave it alone.
In the Export palette you choose Slideshow, then you uncheck the checkbox that automatically exports your work to iTunes, and then you click on the Custom Export button at the bottom.
After changing the Slideshow settings, I choose Export, then click on the Slideshow tab, and choose Custom Export. I also turn off the default Automatically send slideshow to iTunes setting.
In the Custom Export palette, you choose a new name for your movie, and choose Custom Settings, which takes you to the QuickTime palette. Here you uncheck the Sound checkbox (unless you want sound, which forces you to go back a few steps and include sound in your Slideshow settings), and you uncheck the Internet streaming checkbox (unless there is a reason you want that).
The next palette that comes up is this one, where you add a title for your movie, and you can select the Options for exporting to QuickTime – which are critical to success.
In the Video settings, you can choose from a huge list of standard codecs for various types of output. Mine is a custom size, so I choose the Size button, and then pull-down from the next palette to Custom and enter my custom dimensions. Once that’s done I click OK, and OK, and Save, and then I go make a cup of tea because it takes so long. Making a five-second title sequence took about six minutes this morning, which is about 50 times longer (really) than it used to take. Again, I don’t understand why except that I can see that they are using Compressor to make the movie, where I don’t think that was the case in the previous version.
In the Movie settings, I uncheck the Sound and Prepare for Internet Streaming checkboxes, and I set the size of my movie to a custom dimension that matches the original images (or the projector). Once I have done that, I click OK, and then Save the movie to QuickTime.
In the end, the results are gorgeous, so I shouldn’t be complaining so loudly.
But I hate change when it makes my life more difficult, or when it doesn’t make sense to me. This makes no sense to me.
Why did they make it so hard when it used to be so easy?