Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CVS Picture DVD Slide Show

CVS has installed some cool Kodak kiosks in their stores to get your megabytes of photo data onto something more permanent than your Facebook page. I tried one of them out this week and turned out a DVD that's pretty darn cool. It took 60 of my photos (the max) from two vacations with my family and made a DVD with motion and music. Not bad for $12.99, especially considering the almost-instant gratification.

You can bring in your photos on a media card, on a burned CD, or on a USB thumb drive. The machine reads your photos and you then decide which ones to use and in what order. You make choices just by touching the screen and dragging things around. Then you give it a title, select which song you want as background, and hit "burn." Then you wander around the store looking at painkillers, condoms, and chocolates while it does its thing. (10 minutes in my case)

The music choices on the one I used were limited to 16, but for most people that's enough to find something that will work. The Isley Brothers, Willie Nelson, and KC and the Sunshine Band may not be current, but they're pretty good accompaniment for this kind of thing. Then the photos zoom and pan their way through to provide movement the whole time. When the combination ran on my average TV at home, it looked great.

I'm sure you can do the same thing yourself at home if you're willing to play around with your Mac all day, but since the price of this equates to about 20 minutes of my time, screw that.

I hit a few snags though. The CVS closest to my house didn't have the right machine yet. One machine at the second location I tried gave me an error message just as I was finishing and I had to start over on the one next to it while a clerk rebooted. As you would expect for the wages they get, the clerks aren't exactly tech wizards when something goes wrong either. But as long as you're not cutting it too close on your schedule, you should be okay.

Overall, this is a nice way to preserve your travel photos from one trip or to group a bunch of them together by theme. It offers you a way to show pics to friends and relatives later in the comfort of a living room or to send a neat gift off to someone who was along with you.


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Unknown said...

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