Kai's Power Show

Format: Power Macintosh and Windows 95/NT4/98 MMX

Kai's Power Show 1.1 is an easy-to-use and versatile presentation program that encourages personalization and creativity into what could be just another slide show. Priced at $49.95, it is a good tool for quickly customizing a concept and constructing a presentation to mock up a show design and event visuals.

The "In" room is where you import, acquire, and view the different visuals to make into a show. It can import standard graphic formats (JPG, BMP, TIFF, PSD, FPX, TGA), AVI, or QuickTime video clips and imports .wav sound clips. Images from digital cameras and scanners can be brought in via Twain, and Show supports the "acquire" function via Photoshop plug-ins. It does not, however, import most text files.

The "Sort" room is where the most important planning takes place. Here, you can click and drag the slides in the frame sequencer. The play command moves the show through default transitions. The sort and select menus help to organize the slides quickly by different groupings and criteria and to cut and add as you shape the show to match your message.

In the "Edit" room, you can add the timing, rhythm, and effects to make the presentation more cinematic and effective. The library of sounds and effects that comes in the package is substantial, and you can always add more. It's easy to experiment with the collection of 20 text templates and 100 background presets.

There is an extensive collection of 28 real-time text effect presets with many complex moves that can make the words squash and stretch, flip and twist, or fly across the screen. You can overlay the animated text on backgrounds, or directly over photos and pictures.

You can attach .wav sound clips (voice annotation or sound effects), drawn from the extensive sound clip library of 100 clips, to any slide. Or record and import your own. You can even enter sound cues to play a CD track in the background as long as the audio CD is in the computer drive. There are 69 real-time transitions that can make your show seem more like film or television than slides.

The "Out" room is where you save it as a Show presentation, or to print it out in several layout formats. You can record a show to videotape if your computer has a videographics card, like some of the AV model Macintoshes, to convert the RGB signal to NTSC or PAL.

Show's Internet abilities assure that your presentations can go far indeed. Email copies of the 1.5MB Mac and PC Show Player utilities and your recipients will be able to play your pieces around the world. Use the Export to HTML button and your slides can go directly on the web. Show provides a very rich audio-visual palette to design and display finely attuned and customized presentations for a wide range of topics to every kind of audience.

MetaCreations Corp., 6303 Carpinteria Avenue, Carpinteria, CA 93013; (805) 566-6200; www.metacreations.com