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So — you have come home from four weeks in the Caribbean. You’ve loaded your images on to your computer and yes, you have some stunning shots! How are you going to share the wonderful time you had with family and friends? Two great ways to share your images are coffee table books and AV slide shows. Creating a travel book of your adventures is especially good if you want to share your trip with co-workers or give it as a gift. In addition to your photos you can add annotations, poetry or thoughtful insights about the places you visited, and don’t forget your brief biography.
This article will focus on AV slide shows; however, many of the steps would also apply to preparing a book. AV slide shows are great for sharing with a group of friends, your local camera club, as a guest presenter at a community event or entering a CAPA AV competition. There are several software packages available for producing AV slide shows, see my list below.
The first step is to separate the grain from the chaff; in other words, select only those images that are technically well executed and contribute to telling your story. At this point isolate the selected images by putting them in a separate folder or creating a collection in Lightroom. Now that you have a pool of images to choose from, give some thought to how you want to present them; for example, will it be chronologically, by theme or by location?
The process of creating a good A/V show always starts with a storyboard. A storyboard is simply a way of organizing the elements of your slideshow (images, titles and sound track) and will help you define the length. Hint: it is usually better to divide your presentation into several slideshows of three to five minutes rather than one long show. This allows you the flexibility to pick and choose which parts of your trip to show. Adding a musical sound track can dramatically enhance the impact of your slideshow. Selecting music appropriate to the mood of your show will make the images seem alive, create emotion and engage the viewer. You will have to decide whether to have the images spread equally across the length of the music or synchronize to the music; which is transitioning from one image to another on the beat of the music or the feel of the music. If you have seen both styles of shows, you may have found that synchronized shows are more interesting and evoke more emotion as the images surge and drift with the music. So let’s look at how to choose the music.
There are shows that need the emotion only a song can give; however, in most cases an audience will concentrate on the words of the song rather than your images. Popular songs or instrumentals may have already imbedded images in the listener’s mind that may differ from the message you intended. Consider original works or tunes that are less known. When choosing the music, ask yourself, “Does this audio enhance the CANADIAN CAMERA – 29 images?” Hint: it is important that you love the music; you will be listening to it many times before your show is audience ready.
You can use music from your CD collection if it is just for your personal use and to show your friends. But, if you are going to present your slideshow to the public or enter it into a competition, look for royalty free music or make sure you obtain the rights to use the music. There are many sources for royalty free music online. For inexpensive or no cost royalty free music check out my personal favorite below.
As you created your storyboard, you will have noted that the number of images in your show will be determined by the length and tempo of the music you choose. If the music is lively, you will use more images than if it is slow and melodic. Hint: as you make your final image selection, remember that your audience doesn’t need to see every image you took. Select only enough images to tell the story and avoid too many shots of the same location or event. Once you have your music and images aligned in your software program and you are happy with the results find a spouse or friend to test it on. And finally, if you will be using unfamiliar equipment to present your slideshow, be sure to test it before your audience arrives. A show created on a fast new computer may stagger and stall on an older computer.
Congratulations you have just created something that your audience will truly enjoy. I know, all of this sounds a little scary, but the greatest advantage photographers have is fellow photographers ready to help. Get together in small groups or talk to the AV experts in your club for some one-on-one mentoring. Your first show will, without doubt, stir your creative soul.
Here are a few of the many resources available to get you started:
Book Software: Blurb www.blurb.com
Apple – iPhoto www.apple.com
Audio/visual Software: WnSoft – PicturesToExe Deluxe www.wnsoft.com
Photodex – Proshow Gold or Proshow Producer www.photodex.com
iMovie or Final Cut Pro for MAC users www.apple.com
Music: Jamendo www.jamendo.com
Sound Click www.soundclick.com
Royalty Free Music Library www.royaltyfreemusiclibrary.com/free-royalty-free-music.php
About the author:
Deb Hall has created AV shows both pre and post digital. Together with her husband, they have created shows from less than 2-minutes to 1-hour, from a one-day event to a 12-day Mediterranean cruise. They have taken their shows out to senior’s homes, church fundraisers and camera clubs. She asks, “How will you share your images?”