How to Create a Slide Show for iDVD with iPhoto

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60 thoughts on “How to Create a Slide Show for iDVD with iPhoto

  1. Interesting. I am thinking about doing a similar slide show with stills. What resolution – and also what frame size were your stills? I’ve read they should be 72 dpi (ppi) and a variety of sizes. I want to burn a dvd and then project that onto a large screen.


  2. “high resolution” – so not 72ppi? I am doing this for a “slide show” for a non-profit that uses Windoze Movie Maker — and will be projecting on a large screen. I’ve read that iMovie wants 72 ppi. I’ve heard anywhere from 72ppi to 400 ppi for the W MM resolution and am completely confused. (My D70 pix are 300ppi and can be upscaled, but I thought that size resolution was for prints!)

  3. The photos were all kinds of resolutions, from 72 to 180 to 300. iPhoto took care of all the downsampling when it exported in QuickTime movie format. That’s what I brought into iMovie. Hope that helps.

  4. It does, thank you, indicating there should be downsizing to prob. 72 – hurrah for Macs! And, btw, thanks for your books – I’ve appreciated the QuickStart guides, incl. to Tiger!

  5. Thank you for your articles helpful hints.

    After saving the slideshow as iDVD and quitting it (as your suggestion-I don’t want to use the iDVD templates… they look cheesy to me and they are not what I need anyway…) I opened iMovie but could not drag the iDVD project into it… It aapears gray and I can’t select it.

    Can you elaborate more on how to accomplish it? Since yesterday I’ve been trying to do a slideshow using photos with music for a presentation. iPhoto’s slideshow, once exported to burn a disc had a poor quality even in the large res and did not work for me.

  6. Marilu, I think you misunderstood me. You should be using iPhoto to create the slideshow and then save it for iDVD using the following iPhoto command:

    Share > Send to iDVD

    This does not create an iDVD project. It creates a QuickTime movie. You can then bring that QuickTime movie into iMovie for further editing.

    Hope this helps!

  7. When you import the Quicktime move into iMovie, how do you then add title screens before certain shots? I’d like to do this but when I improt the QT Movie I made in iPhoto it appears as just “one” frame and I can’t figure out how to add title pages as you can when you have individual still shots and can put a title page between shots. I can’t figure out how to edit the QT file because it is already one file. Thanks!

  8. If I create the slide show in iPhoto and import the QT file into iMovie, can I then add title pages? I just need a few to add before certain photos. I know how to do this in iMovie between photos, but am not sure how to do it in the imported QT file because it is one long piece instead of photos that I can insert things between. Do I need to split it then add a title page? Thank you. good info on this site!

    d. kelly

  9. I have been looking for an answer for this Ken Burns bug and without a doubt yours has been the best help above a lot I have been reading this week! I have a question though, have you tried or do you think it is possible in this way to insert video scenes in between the photos?

    And is so nice of everyone to be sharing solutions and answers, but don’t you think it blows anybody’s mind that this guys in Apple are so irresponsible that make you spend $80.00 USD for an iLife 6 that in the beginning does not even do right what the previous version could? How come we are all trying to solve what their developers should be doing? It doesn’t sound fare to me…

    Thank you… you saved the day.

  10. I agree with you about fixing bugs, Ilena. I’m really bothered, in fact, that Apple knows about problems in its software and is apparently not interested in fixing them. It’s not just this problem, but it’s the iPod podcast playlist problem I’ve written about elsewhere in this blog. Many people are unhappy about the problem and they’re complaining in Apple’s support forums, which they monitor. But Apple isn’t stepping up to the plate to fix the problems. Instead, they seem busy updating other software to close up perceived security holes.

    Oh, well.

    In answer to your question, if you create the slide show movie in iPhoto, you can then bring it into iMovie and add additional clips, transitions and titles (as Kelly asked). You can also edit and split the iPhoto-created clips in iMovie to do other things with them.

    Me, I’ve decided I’ve had enough of iMovie. I bought Final Cut Express for my movie editing needs.

    Perhaps that’s what Apple expects all of us to do.

  11. Thank you very much for your comments. I guess that in the end I must check on Final Cut Express, which I thought was more complex…. Go figure! ;)

    Have a terrific day!!!!!!

    And thanks again… really.

  12. Hi, Thanks for the great tips here. I’ve got my quicktime movie and the iMovie project. What I can’t figure out, is how do I burn this to a DVD to watch on a television with a DVD player? In iMovie, when I go to Burn Project to Disc it says it’s just burning a copy of the project to the disc, NOT making a video that can be watched from a DVD player. Any suggestions would be most helpful.


  13. Great! Thanks. I have iDVD. Do you know of a way to bypass the cheesy themes, so I can just have my simple movie? Thanks so much!


  14. I don’t know the answer to that question. I think you might be stuck with one of the cheesy themes. Do what I do: pick the one that’s the least cheesy.

    Good luck!

  15. Thanks. Great site, I found it through a google search. Also recognize a bunch of photos as I just returned from vacation in AZ (Sedona and Payson) Thanks for your help, VERY much appreciated.

  16. Hi Maria,

    I am confused about your description of saving a iPhoto slideshow, you said:

    Saving the Slide Show as an iDVD-Ready Movie

    This is the painfully simple part of the job. Just choose Share > Send to iDVD.

    iPhoto will create a slide show movie in QuickTime format and save it to your hard disk in the Movie folder. This may take some time — enough for a coffee or bathroom break.

    When iPhoto is finished, it launches iDVD and places the movie in whatever Project was last used. You can use it there if you like or do what I did: delete it from the project, close the project without saving it, and quit iDVD. Then open your iMovie project and drag the icon for the movie into it. You can then add titles and chapter markers and other iMovie things to fancy it up.

    My understanding is that you have to choose File> Export in order for your iPhoto slideshow to be saved as a Quicktime Movie. What is the difference between this an choosing Share> Send to IDVD?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks, Mike.

  17. I think there is some confusion about the application being used to create the slide show.

    My instructions are for using iPhoto to create and save the slide show as a QuickTime movie. Are you, perhaps, thinking that I was talking about creating the slide show in iMovie?

    My article is a mostly workaround for the Ken Burns effect bug in iMovie. It gives you most of the controls you’d have in iMovie (transitions, effects, Ken Burns Effect, timing, etc.) and lets you preview it before committing it to disk.

    Or are you just saying that the File > Export command AFTER creating the slide show (in iPhoto) appears to be another way to export a slide show as an iDVD movie? If so, you are correct. But I think the exported movie’s resolution and quality is higher when exported using the Send to iDVD command. The Export command apparently limits you to 604×480.

    Hope this helps! Sorry for the confusion.

  18. Thanks for the timely response, I understand your concept, I also like the Ken Burns effect and plan to use it it a slideshow, and will follow your procedure.

    I put together a slideshow in iPhoto using random transitions without the Ken Burns effect, and had music from iTunes library, I sent the slideshow to iDVD, used a theme and burned to a DVD-R 8x. I was not pleased with the quality of the DVD at all. When previewing the slideshow in iPhoto it was crystal clear.

    My camera is a Nikon D70, takes great pictures. I have a Mac Mini with Intel Core Duo, 1GB Ram, with SuperDrive DVD player, I have all the latest updates for Max OS X 10.4.9. Any comment on poor quality DVD burn would be greatly appreciated. This was the first DVD that I burned on this system.

    Thanks again, Mike.

  19. Mike, I sure wish I knew the answer. I also followed the procedure to create slide shows in iPhoto and bring them into iDVD to create a DVD. Although the quality was better than when I tried doing it from iMovie, it still wasn’t what I’d consider GOOD. I think that when you’re starting with 7 megapixel or better images taken with a decent camera, you should get better results.

    I’m still experimenting with this. If I come up with any good solutions, I’ll probably blog it on this site. In the meantime, if you learn anything that can help us, please do comment about it here.

    Good luck!

  20. I created a slide show in i photo (i life 06) and tried to import it to i movie, but received the following message:the file could not be imported: QickTime couldn’t parse it:-43. Can you tell me what I am doing wrong.



  21. You might not be doing anything “wrong” at all. It might be a file corruption problem. Maybe one of the photos is bad? I’ve never seen that message, so I really don’t know what’s going on.

    My advice: try making a smaller slideshow with different photos. See if that works. If it does, one of your photos in the original show might be bad. If it doesn’t, you either have a problem with iPhoto or QuickTime.

    Hope this helps, at least a little.

  22. I share the comments from the last couple of posts – I have never been happy with the outputted quality on DVD from a slideshow. They look great on the monitor but pretty awful on the TV – the picture I use are, in the main good quality crisp images. I read somewhere that there is a “mask” that you have to apply to Quick Time to improve the quality. Does anyone know what the mask is and how you apply it? It seems strange that a wonderful programme like Iphoto (and it is!) is let down by the next stage in the process of converting to a movie and burning onto a DVD.

  23. Is it possible to use more than one song when producing the slideshow in iPhoto for transport to iMovie? I can’t find a way to use mor ethan a single song – I would like an automatic transition from one song to the other as the slides progress. Any deas?

  24. Scott, I don’t think there’s a way to export an iPhoto slide show (as discussed here) directly to your Web site. You’d need an FTP client to upload the slide show’s MOV file.

    Al, it’s a lot easier than you might think! Simply create a playlist that has the songs you want, then select the playlist (rather than one of its songs) as the music for your slideshow.

  25. In answer to Mina’s question “Do you know of a way to bypass the cheesy themes” (comment 14), I think I know one, although it has a flaw. In the iDVD project, if you click the “Map” button, you’ll see a map of all the parts. The first one is empty and says “Drag content here to automatically play when the disk is inserted”. You can drag your movie inthere. that part will play when you insert your DVD, which is your actual movie.

    The flaw is, that when your movie ends, you’ll end up in a cheesy theme, I didn’t succeed in removing that…

    Oh, and I’m still using iLife ’05…

  26. Thanks for all the information on creating slideshows on DVD.

    If I want to divide an iDVD slideshow into “scenes” (ie group the slides in categories accessible from the menu screen of the DVD), which of the following is best?

    1. To create short individual topic slideshows in iPhoto to transfer to iMovie and put then together as one long movie and add chapter markers


    2. Tto create one long (multi-topic) iPhoto slideshow to transfer to iMovie and split it in iMovie and add chapter markers at each split?

  27. Either method will work. I think it depends on how you want to handle the music. Splitting them in iMovie AFTER music has already been made part of the show might not be possible.

  28. Why bother with iPhoto and iMovie at all, when you can create and burn your slideshow directly in iDVD, complete with transitions and music?

  29. Excellent discussion regarding creating a movie from a slideshow! I could not figure out how to get more than one song for music background, so thanks for the crucial hint of selecting the playlist instead of the songs!

    I too have been somewhat unhappy with the quality of the final DVD compared to the original iphoto slideshow, but I think it may just be a feature of the final quicktime resolution (720×540). It would be nice if Apple would add a toggle to up the quicktime resolution to 850 or even 1000. This seems crucial as more of us get HDTVs

  30. Paul, this is one reason why I make my slideshow in iDVD and burn directly to a DVD. In iDVD you can set higher resolution and it will not downsize them like iPhoto does.

    I recently did an iDVD slideshow for a local photo club at 1024 pixels x 768 pixels because that is the resolution of their digital projector. It worked just fine.

  31. Well, on iLife ’08, you would actually have to not click the slideshow button on the botom( there isnt one) but click the plus sign and click slideshow and it will have the name nad click make and it will work the same way.

  32. Ricky, see Step 7 above under “iPhoto to the Rescue.”

    Keep in mind that all of these instruction apply to iLife ’06 programs. Things may have changed in iLife ’08. I haven’t had time to check yet.

  33. I’m new to iLife and DVD authoring in general but I came across a problem in iDVD 08 which apparently has been around since the very first version. When I created my first slideshow with background music and transitions, I burned to DVD and when I played it on my DVD player through my TV at each transition there was a break in the background music.

    I’ve since learned that this is due to some DVD players (not all) treating each slide as a chapter. The only way to rectify this is to create a slideshow in iMovie.

    Greta site by the way Maria, keep up the good work.

  34. Regarding the cheesy themes :-

    In iDVD 08 (i’m not sure about previous versions) you can turn off ALL drop zones and change backgrounds to either still pictures or full screen movies. You can then customize your menus to suit your needs.

    You are limited only by your imagination!

  35. First of all I’m not sure if this post even belongs on this forum. But even if no one can answer my question about why this is happening or how to fix it the information I am giving you is probably usefully.

    OK. So I got all the IPhoto sideshow stuff down and the transfer to IDVD is just a click of a button but I hate that IDVD can’t do a menuless dvd. Yes there is a way to make an autoplay DVD in IDVD but it didn’t work right on anything but my mac once I burned it.

    Anyway, the quality of the video/slide show is perfect when you go straight from IPhoto to IDVD.

    But the slide show I’m making is in loving memory of someones mother who died and a menu is not appropriate. So I’m forced to move to DVD Studio Pro because making a menuless DVD in this program is simple, easy, and works great.

    Unfortunately there is a very noticeable amount or quality lost when making the transfer from IPhoto to DVD Studio Pro.

    The exported (640X480 QT) movie looks great in QT but as soon as it goes into DVD Studio Pro the quality drops. I tried the QT exported for IDVD (slightly larger files size and dimensions) in DVD Studio Pro and I get the same quality loss (it actually looked worse).

    I then tried running both the QT’s through Compressor with the proper DVD settings (even bumped up the bit rates a little bit) without any luck on keeping the best quality.


    My question is: Why is there such a significant quality drop in the video when using DVD Studio Pro? How can I avoid this loss of quality? Has anyone else had this issue?

    As an alternative is there a program that will allow you to burn a VOB file to a dvd without a menu and without loss of quality (no re-encode)? The VOB on the DVD made by IDVD looks great.

    Hmmmm. I wounder if you could create a disk image of the menuless DVD and swap the low quality VOB for the high quality VOB within the disk image then reburn the image with the better VOB…. I’ll give it a shot and get back to ya all.

  36. LOL. My last scenario/idea totally worked (not perfect but it worked). You can copy the high quality VOB created by IDVD from the video TS folder of the Disk image and replace the VOB in the DVD Studio disk image.

    Unfortunately it’s a little tricky since disk images are read only. Here are rough steps of what I did.

    1. Make you IPhoto slide show

    2. Share it from I Photo to IDVD

    3. Go into the “DVD Map” view of IDVD and drop your slide show movie into the automatically play box then from the file drop down menu select save as disk image chose your location and hit save (don’t worry about your menu in IDVD because you wont be using it anyway Just drop your movie on the automatically play box)

    4. Once the images saves double click it then open the mounted drive on your desktop, go into the video ts folder and find the VOB file that contains your movie. (vob’s will open with VLC player which is a free player available on the internet)

    5. Copy that VOB to your desktop

    6. Next make your menuless dvd in DVD Studio Pro (i’m not going to go into how to do this unless someone asks me too. Its easy but a little confusing)

    7. Once you have your dvd ready to burn in dvd studio select build from the top icons. (this creates you dvd’s audio ts and video ts folders in the location you specify.)

    8. Now you go into the video ts folder you just made from DVD Studio find your video VOB and copy the name.

    9. Go back to the high quality VOB on your desktop from IDVD and paste the other (DVD studio VOB) name on it. Basically make sure you high quality VOB is named the same as you low quality VOB!

    10. Now replace the VOB in your DVD studio video TS folder with the one on your desktop. (make sure you replace it)

    11. Almost there. Now go back into DVD studio pro and select the format button. Point the source to the folder that contains your newest audio ts and video ts folders from DVD studio and hit burn.


    now for the issues. Chapters/markers seem to be very problematic when doing this. I had chapters/markers in both the IDVD project and the DVD Studio project and if you try to skip forward or back on the dvd it usually skrews up. Probably because of having chapters/markers in both programs. Other then that it seems to work great.

    I can elaborate on anything I’m talking about but keep in mind this not beginner stuff and by no means is it conventional, but it works (you can get a very high quality sideshow with no menu)! So if you have no prior knowledge, your not willing to waste some DVD’s (I wasted at least 5 tonight), or your not willing to push your tech knowledge to the limit do not listen to anything I’m saying and deal with the quality loss of dumb menu’s in idvd.

    Hope this helps someone out there!

  37. Great stuff. I have a couple of (definitely) stupid questions. What versions are you using of iPhoto, iMovie and Idvd? My very old versions doesn’t have all the features that you refer to.


  38. Maria,

    Thank you for the great information on making a slide show in iPhoto! With your instructions, I was happy with the final result of dropping the resulting QT movie file directly into iDVD ’05 (even playing on my widescreen TV). There’s one thing I can’t figure out: Even though I selected “4:3, iDVD, TV” for the slideshow format in iPhoto, the photos are “squeezed” a little (narrower than the original photos) once I drop the resulting QT file into iDVD and preview it. It’s not so bad that I absolutely can’t live with it, but it would be nice to have the ratio of the original photos. Any suggestions?

    I bypassed iMovie with the iPhoto/QT movie, because the resolution of the photos (when creating a totally different project) was really rough by the time I burned it to a DVD via iDVD. Please use layman’s language for me in your answer – I am pretty hopeless when it comes to understanding the tech side of all of this!


  39. Maria,

    Update: I happened to look at the slideshow (I was describing in my previous post) played in the QuickTime application, and it is fine. The “squeeze” I mentioned apparently happens in iDVD and shows up in the preview before I burn. I can’t find any settings in iDVD that look like they might apply to correct the problem.

    Thank you again!

  40. Hey,

    I’ve been reading the posts and they’re really informative, can you explain to me how to make a photo slideshow using final cut express?

  41. Whoops! Just answered my own question. When I drag the bottom right-hand corner of the window, BEHOLD! The ‘settings’ button! I am now willing to answer questions on the advisability of simultaneously making slideshows and drinking beer.

  42. I also have been creating slideshows in iPhoto and exporting them to iDVD and burning them with the iDVD software option. I agree with posters who said the image quality degrades on even the finest LCD Mitsubishi tv after burning on Promaster dvds. I also tracked down the degradation was just as bad in iDVD before burning. I have 10 megapixel resolution photos, and they are degrading from the export to iDVD. AppleCare rep today told me it’s a known issue in iPhoto export of slideshows. Now, I see it less if I use no Ken Burns effects at all, but then, duh, all you have then is a little slideshow. My husband doesn’t notice it, but I sure do. Also, if I play the same slideshow on the iPhoto program, not off the dvd, it is perfect. If I run the dvd on the same iMac, it’s not so good. I would be willing to pay to get better quality, anyone know of any other software that doesn’t shake on zoom images once processed for burning?

    I found the picture quality to be higher and best quality if I did the slideshow in iPhoto rather than in iDVD even on best quality widescreen settings. I also found that in iPhoto if you select to fill the screen, it crops off things you may wish it hadn’t (if you are artsy about your photos or careful about content and no-crop zones). That’s just a FYI.

    Any pros out there? I know there’s a cleaner way to view zooms than this. It’s too shakey, especially on fine lines and even more so on fine lines with high contrast and all black edges, especially vertical shots.

    Help appreciated.

    PS I don’t know how you say to take a coffee break while the images process… I did a full dvd in iDVD and it takes about 5 hours to process the images from imported slideshows for me! And, one out of 5 times, it completely crashes part way through.


  43. I was using all three iMovie, iPhoto, and iDVD and couldn’t decide which was the least complicated way to create a movie of all my still photos to play on TV. This site is great. My understanding from this site is that it is better to create the slideshow in iPhoto and then drop it into iMovie for more manipulation. I found the slideshow in iDVD doesn’t allow do very much.

    The one problem I’m having is that my iPhoto slideshow plays fine in QT, but when I dropped it in the iDVD project, the music will not play. I read the instructions above and the checkbox is selected to play the music. Can anyone help me on this?

  44. I have spent hours creating a slideshow in iphoto, timing each slide individually to songs on my itunes play list. It is perfect on my PC. When I burn it to disk by sharing to idvd, not only is the quality poor but my music is no longer timed to my photos! Is there a way to fix this,or other software that works better burning iphoto slideshows to a dvd?

  45. I have high resolution pictures in my iPhoto slideshow. If I go form iPhoto slideshow to a slide show movie in QuickTime format which is a lower resolution and then to iDVD I get a lower resolution DVD. Do you know if it is possible to create an iPhoto slideshow and place it directly in iDVD with the same resolution and then make a DVD? iDVD always want to add a lot junk to the slideshow.

  46. I followed the steps from iPhoto – made three slideshows with music, and port them one by one directly through “Share – iDVD”, and the burnt DVD played well with my home DVD player on a LCD panel TV, and the menu feature actually worked well for three slideshows in one DVD.

    I skipped the step of iMovie because I had tried it, and the end result of resolution did not make any difference at all. (iLife 2008).

  47. Just wanted to say a BIG THANKYOU FOR MAKING ME WASTE 4 HOURS OF MY LIFE MARIA, iMovie does not import .mov files SO TO ALL = BE AWARE THIS POST IS A WASTE OF TIME!!!!

    • Lee: Wow. You just wasted another few minutes of your precious time writing this comment!

      If you would have READ the entire post before “wasting your time” you would have seen that it’s an old post created with older versions of the software. Don’t blame me for writing something years ago that so many people obviously benefited from. Blame yourself for wasting your time when you had newer versions of the software.

  48. Hi,

    I have a question about using Iphoto & importing into IDVD. I’d like to know how to keep the order I have placed my images in using Iphoto and then importing into IDVD. When using the IDVD wizard to create a slideshow it randomly re-orders the photos. I’d like to keep them in the order I have them in Iphoto. Does anyone know how to do this? I appreciate your response as this is doing my head in and i’m new to using a MAC.

    Many thanks.


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