Glimpses builds photo slideshows, but leaves me flat

Glimpses ($9.99) from Eternal Storms Software lets you make photos slideshows, or "still motion videos," to share with family and friends. Simply add a few images, pop in a soundtrack, export and you're good to go.

I spent a few days with Glimpses and, while I can say it does in fact work, it left me uninspired. Don't get me wrong, there are some very nice features here. You can make an attractive slideshow with a lightweight, inexpensive app that's a breeze to learn. However, there are also some areas that could use work. What's good about Glimpses is very good; what's confusing is just that. Let's gets started and take a look.

Looks

Glimpses has a minimal look that lets you get right down to business. There's a small toolbar at the top of the main screen, and a large import button dead center. There isn't much to say here other than it's efficient and sparse, so let's move on to use.

Use

Images

As I said, Glimpses makes photo slideshows with music. The process starts with importing your images. Unfortunately, that's where the trouble starts, too.

The large, "Import Media..." button in the center of the screen is the logical place to start. Click it to open a dialog box that lets you navigate to the images on your computer that you'd like to use. Once you've found them, click Import and they're brought into the app.

The problem is that there's a much smaller import button in the toolbar without a label. It feels like this button can be safely ignored, yet it's the only way to import images from Flickr and Instagram. The main import button is so blatant in purpose that its smaller counterpart seems divorced from the process. If you ignore the smaller button, however, you won't know that integration with those other services exists.

The good news is that Flickr and Instagram integration work very well. Once you've authorized Glimpses to access each account, you can browse your collections. The app lets you navigate Flickr albums as well as tagged or untagged images in Instagram. To bring images into your project, just highlight them and then drag-and-drop the lot into Glimpses.

Imported photos are displayed as rather small thumbnails. Fortunately, you can pinch and zoom on your Mac's trackpad to adjust there size. Also, you can use Quick Look to see any image at full size, or double-click to open it in Preview. Lastly, you can re-arrange images with a drag and drop.

Advanced image options

There are some super helpful features hiding one right-click away. Click any image to reveal a pop-up menu of these nice options:

  • Sort photos by date
  • Sort photos by title
  • Sort photos by color
  • Show smallest photos
  • Show portraits
  • Show landscapes

You can see how each of these options would be useful when making a slideshow. Sorting by color is especially clever, given you have an certain idea in mind.

Audio

Glimpses lets you import music, or what it calls "soundtracks." You'll find a soundtrack button in the toolbar; click to to navigate the the music you'd like to use. I've got an issue here as well. Once you initiate the import, there's no indication of its progress, success or failure. The window simply closes and puts you back at the main screen. To see if you were successful, you must click the soundtracks icon again.

That's an oversight, but there are some niceties here, too. Glimpses displays your track's cover art, title and album (if applicable), plus duration. You can opt to loop the track if necessary and add a second track just as easily. Glimpses also offers an editing tool that's pretty nice.

Click the Edit button to view a waveform of your track. You can select a certain section, and even zoom in to work with your highlighted portion more closely. Right-click to trim at the beginning or end of your highlighted section. This is quite handy when you need the audio to be just so.

Video Settings

Next to the soundtracks button is video settings. You'll find several resolution settings, from 2160p to 240p, including an auto setting that chooses a resolution that best suits the smallest photo. You can also determine the amount of time each image is displayed, and opt to reduce letterboxing.

Export and sharing

Once everything is set to your liking, click the Create button to export your still motion video, which you can then open in Quicktime and share freely.

As I said, Glimpses does what it says on the tin. There are a few hangups but my main issue is, after making my first project, I wasn't itching to build another. It's just not inspiring, which is precisely what an app like this should be. Creating and sharing videos of your favorite experiences should be great fun. Instead, it was "eh."

Perhaps that's not the app's fault. It's possible that I'm just desensitized to musical photo slide shows, as I've made them for years.

In the end, Glimpses works for 10 bucks. It has quirks, but if you need a simple, down-and-dirty utility for pumping out slideshows, it'll do the trick.