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Build slideshows from your pictures. You can thus rotate, crop, correct red-eye or colors on the fly, without getting too deep into complicated tasks
If PowerPoint isn't really your cup of tea and you just want an easy to use yet powerful slideshow creator, Microsoft Photo Story is one of the best choices.
Version 3.0 is a stand-alone file, but version 3.1 is included in Microsoft Digital Image Starter Edition 2006.
The interface is pretty basic and that's exactly the way it's supposed to be since the whole thing is actually a wizard, but, nonetheless, it helps you get the job done flawlessly.
Microsoft Photo Story supports as many photos as you want, offering a preview window and some basic editing functions straight from the beginning. You can thus rotate, crop, correct red-eye or colors on the fly, without getting too deep into complicated tasks.
Of course, adding text over photos is a breeze, but the most important thing is that you can also pick from a wide range of effects to change the way photos appear and disappear in the video that will be generated.
A special feature that we discovered during our test was the background music editor that not only lets you use your very own files for the video, but also create songs on the go.
You can choose from a number of genres and styles and customize them with your own moods, tempo, and intensity so that the tune will perfectly fit the newly created slideshow.
Microsoft Photo Story will save the resulted file in the WMV format, so you might have to resort to some video converter software for additional formats.
Thanks to its ease of use and given the very good results in creating slideshows that Microsoft Photo Story offers are attributes that can turn this tool into a must-have app.