Creating a captivating video montage or slide show that you can enjoy for years is not difficult, but by taking a few steps prior to creating a slide show or having one created for you can go along way. Here are some lessons that we've learned at DVDPhotographs.com while creating our slide shows.
- Know who your audience is - Knowing who your intended audience is an obvious, but sometimes overlooked step in the process of developing your slide show. For instance, if you're showing your slide show at your wedding reception, perhaps you'll want to include some pictures of the guests, and not just pictures of you and your fiancé.
- Shorter is sometimes better - After you've determined who your intended audience is you can start to get an idea as to how many pictures you'll want to include in your slide show. We've found that video montages that are between 8 - 12 minutes in length are ideal for wedding receptions. This usually works out to about 3 songs and 75-100 pictures. While you can certainly display more photos during your slide show, you want to be careful not to overdo it. You may want to create two slide shows, one you show at your wedding, and another you keep for yourself.
- Choose Quality Photographs - While recent advances in digital photo restoration have allowed torn and poorly developed photographs to be brought back to life, there is only so much that the software can do. Pictures that look great printed (correct lighting, framing, developed properly) will also look great while scanned. Pictures that are extremely dark or grainy, while perhaps improved somewhat, will still not appear the best. Make sure to choose a photo montage company that can make digital enhancements to your pictures.
- Choose a Variety of Photographs - Even though you may love all the pictures of your dog Rusty, the audience may not want to sit through all the pictures of him. Instead of showing 10 pictures of Rusty, perhaps choose the best 2 or 3. Using a variety of photographs can keep your audience interest.
- Landscape pictures show better than Portrait pictures - Given the standard 4:3 dimensions of television monitors, photographs that are in landscape mode (vertical) as opposed to portrait mode (horizontal) show better on a TV. While portrait photographs certainly can and SHOULD be used, you should be aware that there will typically be a black border that appears around the photograph. It's best to use these sparingly throughout the slide show and not clump them all together.
- Give some thought to music - Choose music that has meaning to you, music whose lyrics go well with the pictures. Also pay attention to how long the music you're choosing is. If you're only showing 30 pictures, you might not want to choose a 8 minute song. The photo montage company should be able to give you some suggestions as to the number of pictures with your selected songs.
- Add short video clips - Do you have any home videos sitting around gathering dust? Think about adding perhaps a 10-15 second video clip in the middle of the slide show. The video clip can help break up the video montage and is a great way to keep your audiences interest. Make sure to choose a slide show company that can convert your video clips.
- Add motion to your slide shows - Slide shows developed on PowerPoint and other consumer level software will typically be just static photos that go from one picture to the next. Consider having your slide shows created with the "Ken Burns" effects that Pan and Zoom on each photograph. This can help bring your pictures to life. Make sure you inquire to see if your photo montage company can create motion with your pictures.
- Add transitions to your slide shows - Transitions such as fade in/fade out, dissolve, and image peel are also an effective way to move from one photograph to the next. Be careful not to get too carried away with transitions as they too many of them can distract from the overall slide show.
- Test! Test! Test! - An event as big as your wedding requires that you make sure you test ALL the equipment prior to the big day. Make sure the projector or television, DVD Player or Laptop, and sound is all working.
Creating a captivating slide show or video montage can be done successfully with keeping a few of these tips in mind. Pictures that are preserved to DVD can be enjoyed for years to come. Partnering with an experienced slide show company like DVDPhotographs.com can help create a slide show you'll be proud of.
By Michael Yared
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