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Old February 10th, 2006, 05:27 PM   #1
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Wedding Montage: FCP or iPhoto?

Well, I've been appointed the task of editing a photo montage that will be played during the reception. This photo montage will run about 1 hour and will include about 500-700 pictures (an insane amount if you ask me).

So, normally, I would probably do this in final cut pro, so that I can have more control and put emphasis in the proper places. However, they need this project by this weekend, and we're still scanning in the pictures.

The easiest thing that I would do, and the more I think about it the more appealing it sounds, is to throw ALL the pictures into iPhoto, then make a slideshow and let it do its thing, then throw that into iDVD and just do a very simple menu.

iPhoto has given me pretty good results as far as how intelligent the slideshow puts in the ken burns effects, however I've never tried burning a slideshow to DVD, so I don't know how good the image quality would be. Does anyone do this for their montages, or is it considered cheating? :D

Thanks.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 06:07 PM   #2
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Good luck with that Brian, 500 photos is a long slideshow.

I have used both FPC and Iphoto/IMovie for 10min slideshows. In your case, I'd throw it in Iphoto/Imovie. An hour is a huge slideshow presentation, and unless you have the time to go through each photo in FCP to do any motion with your photos, I'd go with Iphoto.

Cheating, no. Making the most of your time, yes.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 07:39 PM   #3
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Check out phototomovie or the bundled software that comes with toast 6 and 7. You can set the default transitions and a certain variance in the motion, so the pictures will move slightly, fade into each other, and it is fully automated. Both are cheap options and the product will be 10x better.
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Old February 10th, 2006, 08:53 PM   #4
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i'm not sure how imovie will handle 500-700 photos + ken burns. my last experience with imovie (the first version with ken burns) was not a positive one. lots of waiting.

this sounds like a job for automator, photoshop and fcp. just set it up, run it, and watch it do the brunt of the work for you (resize, color correct, drop into fcp).

when all the photos are in the timeline, hand key three or four different ken burns-style moves, then copy the clip and "paste attributes" (make sure "motion" is checked) peppered randomly throughout the timeline for randomness. repeat for the rest. let cool. serve.

hope this helps. good luck!
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Old February 11th, 2006, 01:41 AM   #5
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I think you're right about this being a pain in the a** with FCP - primarily due to the size of your project....it could take awhile.

I think iPhoto is certainly adequate in general for this type of task, but I have used all three methods you proposed, and personally, I like alot more control than the iPhoto method affords - its great for a quickshot 1-off slideshow of a dozen or two photos - but I have never tried it with 500-700 photos, and I would fear that it would choke - plus I really like having more control over what I emphasize in an image and the amount of time I allow an image to show.

For your task, I would strongly consider the iMovie option - but keep in mind, it is a consumer product - powerful..,l but still consumer. I think you would want to at least be using iMovie HD from iLife '05, or newer - as it offers a more stable environment than previous versions, including the ability to retreive from the iMovie trash in case anything should go wrong.

Three things to consider:
1.) Try to determine more specifically how many photos you will actually be using, and the time frame needed to present them. There is a huge difference between 500 and 700 photos, and you will want to make sure you have the time to present the images in a way that is comfortable for the viewer to absorb them. I think in general you will want to display Ken Burns style images somewhere between 5 seconds and 12 seconds - always depending upon the image itself. If it is boring 12 seconds may be too long - if using Ken Burns effectively it may be just right and any shorter could be too short. In some cases, you could want them even longer for effect depending upon how you transitioned into it.

It is amazing how much the Ken Burns effect can make a static image interesting and compelling.

Just be aware that with 500 photos, you can estimate that 7 seconds on each will make you slideshow just under 1 hour - not including transitions. 700 photos will give you less time to display them, and if you add in decent time for effective transitions, you will end up flashing these things for apprx 3 seconds each - so take the math into consideration when determining how many, how long, etc..ultimately the appropriate length and speed should be determined by the integrity of the selected content.

2.) Speaking of transitions - it seems there is a little bug with iMovie HD that is not well documented - as it may not be enough of a problem for non-professionals to have ever caught - and most professionals use higher end apps, but it has to do with the way iMovie HD works with transitions - and I don't know if it was 'fixed' with iLife '06 as I haven't used it. From what I have been able to discern and have read on other forums, some of the transitions (such as dissolve) have a problem with the in and out points of the transition - what can best be described as some kind of progressive/interlace anomaly (sp?). And it may be because I think this was the first version of iMovie that allowed an option of progressive data - I think - and therefore is in its baby-steps. Anyway, what you might notice using the dissolve transition is that at the dissolve in-point the frame is duplicated - and at the out-point, the frame is dropped. This doesn't alway happen, and seems to be dependent for some reason on the scope of the screen content, but it can be annoying to anyone who pays attention to a video for every 30th of a second. When it happens (again it is intermittent) you generally won't see it while playing back in the timeline, but you will see it on your rendered movie (either in a quicktime file or in your DVD) - and it gives the impression of a freeze frame stutter going into the dissolve and quite simply a dropped frame coming out of it...either way it appears to freeze and jump even it it is for the length of 1 frame. If you are using Ken Burns, theoretically the whole frame image will show some degree of motion and thereby present the unwanted anomaly to the discerning eye. I have presented a number of such files done in iMovie and have yet to run across anyone other than myself who cared about or even noticed this annoying little bug.

3.) iMovie will give you more control about selecting appropriate transitions, the length of each individual photo display, and of course, the route of the Ken Burns tracking than iPhoto...just be aware that Ken Burns kind of sucks in iMovie. For some strange reason, the movement speed can change up to 3 times in a single photo! For example, you can apply the KB effect to a photo and find that it starts moving very quickly at the start, then slows down to the speed you intended and then as it nears the end of its track, it speeds up again - or vice versa - slow, fast, slow ---no idea why and it is extremely intermittent - it also won't show up in the preview.

I remember one time I was trying to apply the Ken Burns effect on a photo showing a Man standing next to an elephant..I just wanted to show it for about 8 or 9 seconds - but the start of it was just so fast and then as it got half way through it creeped to a near halt and very slowly finished it...extremely irritating....I worked with it forever and what I ended up doing was to extend the photo display length to its maximum 30 seconds (totally freaking ridiculous) and way way way out of frame so it was just black, and then I did the same with the end of the photo, and rendered the effect. After the effect was applied, I had a 30 second display of the photo with about 10 seconds of swiftly moving black before and the same at the end, I then just trimmed it to include only the photo part moving steadily along in a nice consistent speed.

It made me wish I had taken the more involved route in FCP, but at least I learned something.....so hopefully you won't have such headaches, but if so, I hope that this info is a little helpful to you. Good luck.
-Jon
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Old February 11th, 2006, 03:13 AM   #6
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I would use FCP. I can't imagine doing this kind of project in Imovie. Make a few nice ken burns that differ some then copy and paste attribues / motion, If you make 5 or 6 different motion/scale effects your slideshow will be interesting. If you use some thought and pre sorting of images that will work with each effect you could do 500 in a couple of hours. You can save these attributes. In other words you make a nice ken burns that ramps nicely and zooms to this part of and image and call it ken 1, another that turns left and goes to another area of a clip and call it ken 2, A zoom out from center with a right twist ken z3r, or what ever naming convension you come up with, you get my dirift. FCP is very powerful for Ken Burns and by using the same attributes over and over slide shows can be made quickly. Having said that if you are not farmiluar with these features and how to use them you many be better off with Imovie for now. I don't know if you can get the same workflow with Imovie, maybe you can but I like the above poster found the Ken Burns in Imovie to be not very good.

Mike

Last edited by Mike F Smith; February 11th, 2006 at 03:57 AM.
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Old February 11th, 2006, 10:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike F Smith
I don't know if you can get the same workflow with Imovie, maybe you can but I like the above poster found the Ken Burns in Imovie to be not very good.
No, you can't get the same workflow out of iMovie....at least not '5 or earlier, haven't tried '06, but I doubt it. I hadn't even thought of your idea of making pre-set attributes for this in FCP - I generally only do 1 or 2 dozen or so at a time and it was fine - but for so many photos, I really like Mike's suggestion for pre-set attributes in FCP. That should definately do pretty much what you need with far more control and quality than you would get with the other options (iPhoto or iMovie) and you could avoid the annoying bugs I listed in my earlier post.
-Jon
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Old February 12th, 2006, 06:27 AM   #8
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Do u have access to a PC??
No??
Go borrow or hire one..

grab a copy of vegas6c, demo whatever...
Go grab a copy of VASST's Ultimate S and use the Slideshow script...

you WILL save countless hours... fulll track motions, zooms etc, and u can throw in your Ken Burns whereever u like... (god knows why its called that when this technique has been used by many before it was even known as "ken Burns"... parallax animation is closer to what this is... I call it "Parallax Photo Animation", and ive been doing it since Vegas 3 over 4 years ago now.. and i know afew other companies whove been doing it with Combustion for about 5 years.. anyways moving right along.... )

If you think this is too much of a hassle (hiring a PC and Vegas etc), think about tring to manage 500 photos...
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Old February 15th, 2006, 06:07 PM   #9
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A.J. you said "this sounds like a job for automator, photoshop and fcp. just set it up, run it, and watch it do the brunt of the work for you (resize, color correct, drop into fcp)." any chance you'd be willing to point me in the direction of a tutorial or something on how to set that up? It sounds like a huge time saver:-)
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Old February 16th, 2006, 12:38 AM   #10
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auto

yeah I'd like to get automator working for a change... the back and forth stuff can get tired.
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