Have you ever wished you could put together one of those great slide shows using your personal computer? Well, wish no more! With a digital camera, its photo extraction software, and Powerpoint 97 or later installed on an ordinary computer, you can create custom slide shows of all your local church's events. Here's how.
1. Take your digital camera along on your next church event and go shutter-happy; if you don't have a digital camera, you can also scan regular printed photos with a high resolution scanner and accomplish the same feat
2. Download all your digital photos onto your personal computer using its custom software (this is included with the purchase of most digital cameras)
3. Start Powerpoint and create a new, blank slide; since I'm still using Powerpoint 97, the menu commands, software features, and capabilities I've mentioned here may vary with later versions of Powerpoint; if you don't have Powerpoint, you can get it through the United Methodist Communications (UMCOM) Office on the web at http://secure.umcom.org/techshop/ or at a variety of other retailers, such as CDW (http://www.cdw.com or call toll free 1-800-836-4239)
4. Choose Insert | Picture | From File from the menu, select the photo you want to display from your collection, and click the Insert button
5. Repeat these steps with each new picture you want included in your slide show
Next, you can dress up your slide show with a few niceties. Follow these steps to add neat slide transitions, sound effects or background music, and hands-free automation.
1. Choose Slide Show | Slide Transition from the menu
2. Select the transition you want from the drop-down menu in the Effect frame, then choose the speed you want the transition to occur: slow, medium, or fast
3. Check the On Mouse Click and/or Automatically After XX Seconds check boxes in the Advance frame (XX represents the number of seconds to elapse before the slide transitions to the next slide); the Automatically... check box enables you to automate the transitions so you can walk away and leave the slide show running in an infinite loop; to end the show, simply press the Escape key
4. Choose the sound file you want to play from the Sound frame; select Other Sound if you want to use a sound file not listed; you will need to choose this option if you want to play a music file in the background; however, the file must be in wave file format
5. Check the Loop Until Next Sound check box to have the sound file restart each time it finishes; NOTE: select this on the first slide ONLY, and leave all subsequent slides with No Sound selected, so your music file won't be restarted with each slide transition; you can even use your own pre-recorded narration, but you'll need to time your slide transitions accordingly so they will be synchronized with your narrative, or you can record a separate wave file for each slide and describe what is being displayed on it
6. Click the Apply button to save your settings; don't click the Apply to All button, though, because, once again, you don't want your sound file to restart each time your slides transition; nevertheless, you could click the Apply to All button BEFORE you choose the sound file if you want all the slides to have the same transition style and timing, then change the Sound setting on the first slide only
7. All you need to do now is choose View Show from the Slide Show menu, and voilá! Your show is on display!
Custom slide shows are great for sharing the highlights of recent events. They can also be excellent evangelism tools, because you can post them on your church's web site for downloading by seekers, new residents looking for a church to attend, and casual browsers alike. It's a wonderful way to share the Good News from your church! Just be sure to save the finished file in the slide show format instead of the usual Powerpoint format. Doing this makes the file a stand-alone which doesn't require the end user to have Powerpoint installed in order to view the show.
There are several examples of these sorts of slide shows on my web site at http://www.parsonplace.com Just click on the Parson Place FREE Software Downloads link on the contents list, then click on the Inspirational link. The last five files on that page are Powerpoint slide shows which illustrate just how powerful this medium truly is. Feel free to download them all with my compliments.
If you have missed a previous Church Online article, you can read them all at my web site. Just click on the Articles from the Parson link on the contents list to get there. You may also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments or questions.