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Old July 3rd, 2011, 03:00 PM   #1
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Sildeshow question project properties

Hi all, I just got corralled into doing a grad party slideshow due NEXT SATURDAY. It's my niece and apparently she was afraid to ask and put if off, and off and off. I've been out of editing for about a year so I need to 're-learn' some basics but I'm planing on keeping it as simple as possible.

I'm guessing that most of the media is going to be 4:3 (photos, old VHS etc), should I set my project settings to NTSC DV 720x480 since it's probably going to be rendered to a DVD? (I understand that I'll need to pan/crop to fill the screen).

What if the projector they're using is 'old school' 4:3? Would this change your decision on project settings or is that irrelevant since it's going to DVD anyway? Anyway, she's on her way over with a hard drive of pictures and ideally, I'd like to start off right. I have a 'match output ratio' script to use but beyond that I'm open to suggestions. Thanks in advance!
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 04:52 PM   #2
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Re: Sildeshow question project properties

Colin,
Sounds like the standard DV NTSC project settings (720x480, lower field first) would be fine for you.
If the picture files are too large, Vegas may have a problem with them. I generally try to keep still image files (Vegas likes .png) to about double the project size...allows a bit of panning, zooming etc. within the picture.
If most of the material is 4:3, I'd use that. You can always letterbox any widescreen material with pan/crop.

Hope this helps.
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 05:32 PM   #3
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Re: Sildeshow question project properties

I've done 100s of these over the years using Vegas. I don't care what the material is. I leave my project settings at 720x480, scan the pics into photoshop and resize so they are a reasonable size, generally about 2X the project settings do my edit, render to MPG for play in a DVD player or laptop, run it thru whatever projector they supply me OR use one I borrow from a friend which is a 2500 lumim...damn, brain freeze, I can't remember the name but it's small compact and runs 4:3. Just showed one last week to 238 guests on a 10 ft fastfold screen (venue supplied) and no, it didn't and won't fill the sreen 100% but it came close. If there is black around the scanned pic, oh well. Most pics are either 3 1/2 X5 or 4X6 or 5X7 and won't fill the 720x480 frame anyway. Don't set it to or the subject will look way funny. Let it go as it is.
Montage Magic by Edward Troxel (developer of Excalibur) is a great tool to use if you think you might be doing more of these.
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 05:55 PM   #4
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Re: Sildeshow question project properties

Thanks for the replies! This is what I suspected was the best route. I did look at Montage Magic, and may consider buying it. (IMO someone else should pay for this since I'm working for free). Right now I'm scratching my head on why I can't get the VHS to output video into my miniDV camcorder? The feature is supposed to be there, and I'm pretty sure I've got it set right, but nothing. Makes me wonder if the old VHS is actually OUTPUTTING any signal... off to check it now.
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 07:01 PM   #5
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Re: Sildeshow question project properties

Colin, in the Options>Preferences>General setting of VidCap (the Vegas capture tool), be sure to de-select the "Enable DV device control" option or Vegas will think it's controlling a firewire-equipped camcorder (which it really isn't).

Good luck with the project.
I've done several of these over the years and have always done exactly as Don says.
At this point in time, you need to get the project done so stick with simple cuts and dissolves.
If you have some time left over, feel free to get fancy but getting the project done is the key at this late date.
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Old July 3rd, 2011, 11:07 PM   #6
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Re: Sildeshow question project properties

Thank you all for your replies. I decided to skip integrating any video into this project. A lot of the video available is already in MiniDV format, but there is simply too much to wade through to find 30 seconds of usable footage. Already, cutting down thousands of photos to the hundreds we're going to need has taken most of the day (and I'm only up to seventh grade).

The graduate has selected three songs that she wants to use. Her thought is the first song is for baby and childhood pictures, the second song is for high school, and the third song is for graduation and baccalaureate. While I agree this makes the most sense, part of me thinks it's a little "too chronological". I was thinking it would be more interesting to show a series of photos showing her blowing out candles at every birthday, or funny photos all grouped together, and vacation with family grouped together.

I have every intention of keeping it very simple jump cuts, cross fades and a little "Ken Burns" for the different aspect ratio photos. However, how we group the photos is where different ideas come into play. Can anybody more experienced offer some "thematic" ideas?
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Old July 4th, 2011, 06:05 AM   #7
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Re: Sildeshow question project properties

My first thought is to give her what she wants as it will probably be the easiest in terms of organizing images.
Hopefully others who have done similar work (wedding tributes?) can offer their workflow.

I can only offer my experiences having done several grad videos for my daughters' grade school.
I have 5 songs for 5 different sections.
The first song is 3 different shots of each student, one as a baby, one around gr. 2 and the final one from gr. 8 with each shot lasting 2-3 seconds.
The next 3 sections (in any order) are sports (the school is very active in this area), acting silly (goofy shots of kids having fun) and theatre (the school does a play each year).
The final song is the graduation photo of photo of each student with his/her name.
This last section is preceded by class pictures through the years.

Like you, I keep this mostly as simple fades with the odd "Ken Burns" shot thrown in.
I say 'mostly' because I usually throw in several different transitions in the goofy section as it seems to fit.

Create several different folders according to year (if possible) and then use what you think are the best shots from each year.
Once again, you don't have a lot of time so be brutal about what constitutes a "good" shot.
Keep in mind that each song will average around 4 minutes.
At around 3 seconds per song, that's only 80 images per song.
When you have everything ready, start up Vegas.
Add each song and then drop the images from each folder, year by year, onto the timeline.

If you find that you need to slightly stretch or shorten the total number of images per song, click the first one, shift+click the last one, press 'g' to group them all together, place your cursor at the end of the last one, hold down the Ctrl key and drag left or right to fit the song.
I've done this numerous times to make things fit properly and it works like a charm :)

Once again, good luck with the project.
When you see them alternately laugh and cry, you know you've done your job.
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Old July 4th, 2011, 07:35 AM   #8
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Re: Sildeshow question project properties

slightly off-topic....

i read your using 3 songs, and mike's done some with 5 songs - so we're looking at a min of say 7 minutes, and that time loaded with stills, video, etc...?

now, as an act of love / friendship / whatever i can understand it, but commercially?

i'm trying to work out how much one charges for such an intensive project relatively to the hours worked.

i know many wedding videographers endure a seemingly unendingly long, full on, day, followed by an equally intensive edit, and generally charge around $1.5 > 2k, which seems fair enough for a couple of days work. i might add i have nothing but admiration for the ones i know (and i do know a great many), and for their sometimes almost cinematic edits - and can see the business model it's based on, but for graduations and the like, is it practical?

i'm asking cause i'm curious since i'm semi-retired now (though still working for a few of my old corporate clients) and occasionally teaching and am often asked by my students about the business prospects for both commercial and event careers...
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Old July 4th, 2011, 08:14 AM   #9
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Re: Sildeshow question project properties

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie Wand View Post
now, as an act of love / friendship / whatever i can understand it, but commercially?
Leslie, the only way I could this see this being commercially viable is if you used something like Animoto - Video Slideshow Maker.
Scan and upload the images, let the software create the video for you, download the file, make several DVDs and bill the happy client :)

For me, it's definitely a labour of love.
I tracked my hours one year and it was over 100, mainly because I'm somewhat (OK, really) anal about photoshoping most of the stills to get them to look decent.
Let's face it, the average parent is not a professional photographer and it shows.
You'd think that, in this day and age, most of the stills would be digital but no, most are taken from photo albums or from a shoe box so I deal with scratched and faded images a lot.
I could just simply scan and go but my work ethic won't let me do it.

I get paid $400 for doing this as that's what the school used to pay a guy who did it on VHS several years ago and the rate hasn't changed.
As I said, I have a personal reason for doing this.
If I was doing it professionally, I'd charge at least $1,500.00 but I'd never find any school willing to pay me that much.

p.s. summer is here with a vengeance.
With the humidity factored in, temps will be in the low to mid 30s (that's Celsius - 90s in F.) all week.
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Old July 4th, 2011, 05:42 PM   #10
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Re: Sildeshow question project properties

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Kujbida View Post
My first thought is to give her what she wants as it will probably be the easiest in terms of organizing images.
Mike, thanks for your input. Honestly, does any 18 year old really know what she wants? LOL! My cousin was here all evening and told me last night that the slide show will be shown during the program. Hmm, earlier it was going to be shown in a TV out by the pool on a loop where guests could wander by to causally look at it as their leisure. Now I have their full attention for my 10 minutes. Great.

So now I've decided to go ahead with grouped pics vs. a straight chronological order. Try as I might, I can't make myself go 3 minutes straight of baby pictures. So I think I'll compromise, 1-2 minutes of baby and toddler pics, focused on the adult in the pic, (looking specifically for those attending the party). Followed by groups of pics showing xmas through the years, travel through the years (they went all over the place), then goofy pics as she grew. The last song will be the grad pics and baccalaureate as she requested. (IMO, they all look the same, her posing with a different friend but whatever).

I've added scripts I've seen mentioned, slideshow to markers and match output. The newer pics need to be scaled back, and I'll use irfanview to do this. God, I hope this is the right direction, my biggest concern 'artistically' is whether grouping all the silly stuff together will make the rest 'boring' to viewers.
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Old July 7th, 2011, 12:36 PM   #11
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Re: Sildeshow question project properties

Update, I spent yesterday working on the project, and cut it down to 2 songs. Honestly, the last song would have been 100 images of the graduate posing with a friend. Same framing, different face over and over again. I told the niece that for the viewers it's would be boring to see the same thing over such a long period. Naturally she complained. Ha Ha, she told me that her cousins video was 20 minutes long and people got bored. I told her, that her cousin needed someone like me to tell her 'no, you're making something to entertain your guests, not something to feed your vanity' (I guess when you're working for free you can say that?)

One thing that bothered me, was that although my project settings are NTSC DVD 720x480, I seem to have a file that looks best on a 16:9 TV in pillarbox mode. Am I missing a Vegas or DVDA setting somewhere cause I swear I've created a 4:3 project. (even the preview window is 4:3, do I need different pixels or something?)
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Old July 13th, 2011, 06:33 AM   #12
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Re: Sildeshow question project properties

About 7 or 8 minutes is the right length for these. I've made many and have observed the reactions of the people watching it. Anything over 10 minutes and the only ones truly interested are the subject and close family. Westinghouse corporate studies performed on these types of presentations show an attention span of about 12 minutes maximum.
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Old July 13th, 2011, 07:33 AM   #13
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Re: Sildeshow question project properties

hi mike,

sorry, missed your reply - a labour of love is priceless (mastercard anyone?)....

as gregory points out, 7>8mins would be the MAX, but i'd go for half that with a quick pace. get the maximum attention for the piece and make it truly memorable rather than a long drawn out epic that fizzles.

interestingly enough there was a wedding guy i did some post for years ago who offered a 3 > 4 minute piece cut music clip style to the couples choice of music, along with a 25 min FULL length feature for the cut rate price of $2500. he was booked out for years while most of the competition was offer 1/2hr highlights and 2hr features for $1.5k and fighting for jobs....

old adge - less is more (or something like that).
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