ProShowGold: For years I searched for a slide show program...something that would allow me to put images and music together and output it in a format that was cross platform compatible. I tried many, from simple consumer programs all the way to Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premier...then I found ProShow.
Photodex corporation makes both ProShow Gold and ProShow Producer, they are by far the best products for making slide shows from still images. I use Proshow Producer but you might be quite happy with ProShow Gold, it has almost all the features at a lower price. Get them here
Programs like Adobe Premier and Final Cut are best at working with video...they are very powerful, complicated and expensive. Since those programs are designed for video rather than still images, I always had trouble creating slide shows, and Quicktime movies which had good image quality. I spent a ton of money and countless hours trying to make them work. I don't know how Photodex does it, but still images look crisp, and beautiful when you create a slide show with ProShow. Unless you're making Hollywood movies, doing high-end videos and/or complex video editing, save yourself close to a thousand dollars and get Proshow instead of Final Cut or Premier.
With ProShow, I can easily create stunning slide shows for my clients, my friends and for posting on my website. ProShow's simple interface lets you select photos and drop them in a "timeline". You can record your own voice-over track or add a soundtrack from a CD or an MP3 file. You can add motion and transition effects to but basically I use only a few, like cross dissolve, and cut. One of the best features is the ability to add the "Ken Burns Effect"...panning or zooming on a still image to give the feeling of "video"
In terms of output, ProShow Gold gives you more options than most any other slide show software. You can burn DVDs and video CDs that play back on your TV, or stream your show on the Web (showing your ProShow programs on the web, requires the viewer to have the proshow plug-in, which may discourage some people).
ProShow has options to generate MPEG video files for PC viewing as well as building screen savers, and you can make self-contained executable slide shows (EXEs), for e-mailing or posting online.
Many photographers, camera clubs and other photo enthusiasts are making ProShow their "standard", so expect it to be around for a while and to evolve into something better and better as time marches forward.
Look no further, at under $70 dollars, Pro Show is the best investment you'll make in a slideshow program.
If you visit the Photodex website you can see some example shows http://www.photodex.com/sharing/spotlight/ or you can view one of mine about Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti, The Indian Ocean Tsunami or about Fighting Hunger ...see my video page.
For Web based FLASH slideshows, I use Soundslides. More about Soundslides click here