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Creating a Slide Show with Music on an iPod Photo

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Whether you're trying to sell a tourist a helicopter ride or just showing off family pictures, Apple has the iStuff (iTunes, iPhoto, and iPod Photo) to make the job easy, fun, and most of all, cool.
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I just bought an iPod Photo. I already had an iPod—the original 5MB model—and I use it quite often. It meets all my needs, even though it holds a measly 1,000 songs. (Come on, how many songs do you really need to take on the road?) And no pictures. But I needed an iPod Photo to write the iPod pages of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger: Visual QuickStart Guide, the upcoming revision of my Mac OS X book. And now that I have my iPod Photo in my hot little hands, I'm coming up with all kinds of ways to use all of its features.

My first idea was to create a slide show to help sell helicopter tours. When I'm not slaving away at the keyboard, I'm often giving tours of the Wickenburg, AZ area in a Robinson R44 helicopter. I figured I'd put a series of photos together that showed the helicopter, aerial views, and happy passengers. I could then use the iPod to show photos to people who were mildly interested, hoping to clinch the sale. Or I could hook up the iPod to the television in the airport office and have a constantly running slide show with music or narration to sell tours while I was flying. Over time, this could be cheaper than hiring a salesperson.

Of course, all this is just another way to justify the purchase of yet another extremely frivolous piece of computer hardware.

So that was the plan. Here's how I did it. Follow along and make your own iPod Photo slide show, complete with music.

Step 1: Use iPhoto To Create an Album

The first step is to use iPhoto to create an album of photos for the iPod Photo's slide show. If you read my article about creating a custom screen saver with iPhoto, you know most of what this step is all about. But I'll go over the procedure quickly.

In iPhoto, click the Create a New Album button at the bottom of the album list. Enter an appropriate name for the album in the dialog box that appears, and click OK. The album appears in the list.

Select the Photo Library or another album in the list to view your photographs. Drag the photos you want to include in the slide show to the name of the new album you just created. When you release the mouse button, a copy of the photo you dragged is added to the new album. Click the album name to view the photos in the album. You can drag the photos around to change the order in which they appear; this technique is handy if you want to display the slides in a specific order.

Figure 1 shows my photo album, with photos in both landscape and portrait orientation. This setup is fine, although photos with landscape orientation look better on the iPod's screen.

Figure 1Figure 1 The Helicopter Slides photo album includes photos I want to show to help sell my rides.

Of course, if you're an iPhoto power user, you might want to take advantage of iPhoto's smart album feature to create an album based on ratings, titles, keywords, dates, or other criteria. This feature makes it possible to create an album that automatically updates based on changes in your photo album. When you update your iPod, the album revisions are copied to your iPod for an ever-changing slide show. The point is that it doesn't really matter how you create an iPhoto album for use with the iPod Photo's slide show feature.

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