B&W Paris Streets (on music) : Tell me what you think, please.

Started Mar 16, 2013 | Discussions
RoelHendrickx
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B&W Paris Streets (on music) : Tell me what you think, please.
Mar 16, 2013

I have been looking for a way to make slideshows more controlled and dynamic (and to add music), as an alternative for Zenfolio's standard slideshow feature (Zenfolio slideshows do have the benefit that they show the images in maximum uploaded resolution, depending on the viewer's monitor).

I think I am onto something with new software, and the incredible part is that the software does not run on a computer, but is a smartphone app (Splice for iOS).

I have posted my first attempt at making a musical and dynamic slideshow online.

It is based on a collection of B&W Paris candid images (shot on streets and public places) of which I may have shown some already here.  Becasue they were all shot with Olympus E-M5 and a few assorted lenses.  Here is just one image of that series:

La Madeleine

The new slideshow is here: http://roelh.zenfolio.com/p1046028174/h5854a698#h5854a6ba

The gallery of full-size (square format) images is here : http://roelh.zenfolio.com/p187119431

(I mention this because the video-format required recutting to 4:3 ratio.)

You would do me a big favour by taking a look at the video-slideshow and giving me your feedback.

Thanks in advance.

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efg40
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Re: B&W Paris Streets (on music) : Tell me what you think, please.
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 16, 2013

Love all the pictures! So many of them really work well in B&W. The music is very cool too.

The only thing I didn't enjoy so much is the constant zoom in/zoom out. I think it's a very good technique with some of the pictures, but not with others. There were many pics where you want to but never get to see the whole thing. And the consistent back and forth of it was irritating. If the zoom feature were occasional I think it'd be great.

But again, I LOVE all the pics! And this is just a public viewer's opinion - I am no expert!

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19andrew47
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Re: B&W Paris Streets (on music) : Tell me what you think, please.
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 16, 2013

Roel, I am not a fan of the zooming.  Aside from that, I don't know if it is peculiar to my set up or is apparent on any set up, but while zooming there are many very visible artifacts that detract from the experience.  The image quality doesn't seem to be 'there'.  I know the images are of high quality but that doesn't seem to be visible in the presentation.  I understand where you are coming from in attempting to make the slideshow more dynamic.

Andrew

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trevthebrit
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Re: B&W Paris Streets (on music) : Tell me what you think, please.
In reply to 19andrew47, Mar 16, 2013

Really inspired photo essay - motivating work.

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Edmund Dorf
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Perhaps Using a More Capable Slide Show Program Will Help
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 16, 2013

Many great photos. Not sure why B&W. Many of those scenes would be better in color (my opinion).

I agree about the zooming comments. Perhaps some pans left to right, right to left, top to bottom, bottom to top, just so it doesn't lull the viewer to sleep. Also vary the timing of the slides; some shorter, some longer.

I use Photodex ProShow Producer. It can do a lot more. Here is a short example I did a few days ago.

https://vimeo.com/#/home/myvideos

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Bob Tullis
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Dynamic Stills!???
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 16, 2013

Creatively fantastic.    The zooming on the stills, at least as you've fashioned them here, brings a new dimension of interest for what they are themselves.  Each is an active dynamic composition.   All together, I'm simply captivated.

I demand you release me (I have to go to the bathroom, dammit!)  [g]

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RoelHendrickx
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Re: B&W Paris Streets (on music) : Tell me what you think, please.
In reply to efg40, Mar 16, 2013

efg40 wrote:

Love all the pictures! So many of them really work well in B&W. The music is very cool too.

Thanks!!

The only thing I didn't enjoy so much is the constant zoom in/zoom out. I think it's a very good technique with some of the pictures, but not with others. There were many pics where you want to but never get to see the whole thing. And the consistent back and forth of it was irritating. If the zoom feature were occasional I think it'd be great.

I guess I have to confess that I was somewhat enamored with the novelty of that panning-zooming feature.

I'll use it more moderately next time around (or not ... I'm a sucker for bold effects...)

But again, I LOVE all the pics! And this is just a public viewer's opinion - I am no expert!

thanks or your input - very helpful... I need some reigning in...

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boxerman
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Re: B&W Paris Streets (on music) : Tell me what you think, please.
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 16, 2013

RoelHendrickx wrote:

I have been looking for a way to make slideshows more controlled and dynamic (and to add music)

I very much like this kind of presentation, and I think this show is very nice! You certainly have great shots to start with. I do think thoughtful use of zoom and pan is the best. I noticed a few standard tropes in your show of which I approve. Showing the larger frame then zooming into the focal subject usually works. The reverse, too, starting close in, then zooming out to reveal the context. Trickier stuff is to use the zoom and pan to really show two different aspects of the same photo (panning during zoom so that the original focus disappears).

Some other thoughts: Although some of your pan and zooms seemed very thoughtful, some seemed "random." Or, anyway, I did not get the point. I also prefer slower zoom and pan, in general, so that I can "study" the pic better. Variety, also, is, of course, generally good, and my wife (who is pretty darn good at these things) often does some stationary frames, just to vary things up and, I presume, also because some shots have much less of a dynamic point to make. I think it's always good to make such judgments, otherwise it becomes just a trick, and not a mode of visual design.

We use fotomatico software. It's quite flexible. Not on your portable device, as far as I know. Most of our travel presentations are now in this style. We burn blu-ray, which is fabulous on a large screen TV. Among other things, the 60 frame per second, progressive format make zooming VERY smooth.

Thanks.

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PC Wheeler
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Re: B&W Paris Streets (on music) : Tell me what you think, please.
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 16, 2013

Very nice. But Paris is so colorful I'd have trouble limiting myself to B&W.

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ajmoore7
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Re: B&W Paris Streets (on music) : Tell me what you think, please.
In reply to PC Wheeler, Mar 16, 2013

Really good, Love the reflection in the puddle and the person walking under the bridge, Great work!

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RogerMexico
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Re: B&W Paris Streets (on music) : Tell me what you think, please.
In reply to ajmoore7, Mar 16, 2013

Exceptional work. I actually think the zooming adds to the overall effect. You have a tremendous eye. Thanks for sharing the slideshow. RM

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Atwater
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Re: B&W Paris Streets (on music) : Tell me what you think, please.
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 16, 2013

Thanks! I really enjoyed your slide show. Strong compositions and great use of B&W to my eye. I also like the zoom effects, though a possible improvement--if the software allows-- might be to select the motion effects so as to complement or show off the composition of the still photos. Great music too. Thanks for sharing.

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s_grins
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Re: B&W Paris Streets (on music) : Tell me what you think, please.
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 17, 2013

I felt very unsettled.

BTW, I like your use of transitions but, "Microsoft movie maker" has more transitional options you could exploit.

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Chembro
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Re: B&W Paris Streets (on music) : Tell me what you think, please.
In reply to Atwater, Mar 17, 2013

An excellent set of photos, as we have come to expect from you Roel, and the B/W treatment is effective, especially for a Paris street offering - but, as others above have mentioned, for an AV there is too much movement, and, this may surprise you, too many photos. For a slideshow of this duration (4-5 minutes) it is better to limit numbers to 40-50 IMHO. We want time to see the images, not just the movement. As a critic here I should still be in praise mode at this point but because there were so many images, by the time I reached the end I had forgotten what I had seen at the beginning - and this left me with a rather frustrated feeling - so criticism rather than praise is taking precedence. Sorry. I did go back and look at individual images, however, initially just to count how many, and really enjoyed the quality and the variety of scene.

There is a place for panning and zooming, and the temptation to use them is real, but you have used them as the exclusive transition methodology, eliminating a separate viewing time, and have not left us with any opportunity to really see and appreciate the whole image. With each image occupying 8-10 secs the transition time could be 3-5 secs at most with perhaps some variation in the transition format, including timed fades etc.

If you could slow the presentation down somewhat I am sure it would give a more satifying impression. In fact it woud add significantly to my pleasure from this forum if we could see more short slideshows. I personally use Pictures to Exe s/w but I am inpressed that you have been able to use a phone app.

I will look forward to more of this type of work from you. Kind regards, Chembro

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RoelHendrickx
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I guess you're right and I was blinded by enthusiasm...
In reply to 19andrew47, Mar 17, 2013

19andrew47 wrote:

Roel, I am not a fan of the zooming.

OK, I realize I may have gone overboard on that in my initial enthusiasm for the feature.

Aside from that, I don't know if it is peculiar to my set up or is apparent on any set up, but while zooming there are many very visible artifacts that detract from the experience. The image quality doesn't seem to be 'there'.

Probably an adverse result of working not with "raw material" (LR jpgs).

I know the images are of high quality but that doesn't seem to be visible in the presentation.

Well, there is an awful lot of resizing going on, of course.

When I upload SLR-made photos on my iPhone for viewing "on the go", the original JPGs are not transferred, but rather Apple-made customized files for the phone's screen.

And it are those files that are used on the phone by the slideshow and video-software.  Exported results is then again resized to 640x480 maximum.  And the resulting exported file is pretty huge:  several hundred Megabytes.

So I guess that the defects you are seeing, are attributable to all that manipulating.

Other (PC-based) software will probably be better, not only because of more options, but also because it works with the original material and will probably have better algorhythms for output.

So, Andrew, thank you for your honesty and clarity of C&C.

While I of course hoped that my enthusiasm would be shared, it is reactions like yours that make me look beyond the gloss and realize that I should do better if I really want to make the most of slideshows : better in terms of software, but also better in terms of my skill in sequencing, transitions, adding variety, not overdoing effects etc.



I understand where you are coming from in attempting to make the slideshow more dynamic.

Thanks for the encouragement.  Now the task is to tune down on the novelty. It is always like that with me.

And I should probably also look into getting good PC based software.

I was just overwhelmed by the intuitiveness of the iPhone experience, but it MUST be possible to do better on PC.

The trouble with slideshows and any kind of organized presentation is that the more possibilities there are, the more cramped (and even paralyzed) I become, because I want to do well and am always feeling the end result is lacking or "could have been better" (the eternal "close but no cigar" feeling...).

In that sense, working with easy and intuitive software (and on a phone, where you already anticipate less than perfect results), was oddly liberating : I just went ahead and did it, instead of doubting endlessly.

Andrew

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RoelHendrickx
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Edmond, thanks + request for other software suggestions
In reply to Edmund Dorf, Mar 17, 2013

Edmund Dorf wrote:

Many great photos. Not sure why B&W. Many of those scenes would be better in color (my opinion).

Well, the B&W was a deliberate creative choice (not only for the slideshow, but also for the individual stills, that are all square too), for two reasons:

* creation of a classic loooking style (Doisneau-ish, if you like)

* creation of harmony and uniformity throughout the series : that was just not there in colour.

I agree about the zooming comments. Perhaps some pans left to right, right to left, top to bottom, bottom to top, just so it doesn't lull the viewer to sleep. Also vary the timing of the slides; some shorter, some longer.

Yes, I realize I have a lot to learn, and variation (and reining in of the effects) will be a task.

Maybe you would like this older slideshow better (it has not pan-zoom effects at all): http://roelh.zenfolio.com/p1046028174/h5869b780#h5869b780

The point of this thread is mostly, I see now, the enthusiasm at finding a truly intuitive and easy way to create those pan-zoom efects (en then going overboard on that.

The few slideshows I had made so far, were just with Lightroom.  That software lacks the ability to do those effects, though it is possible to add music.

I use Photodex ProShow Producer. It can do a lot more. Here is a short example I did a few days ago.

https://vimeo.com/#/home/myvideos

I think you made a wrong link here : it links to Vimeo in general.

About Photodex ProShow: I took a quick glance at their website, and the features look OK, although I feel that for my needs, the "Gold" edition (much cheaper) would probably be sufficient without need for the "Producer" edition.

I am wondering if there are any other good recommendations for (preferably cheap, because this will not become a main activity) Slideshow software?

I would be looking for software in which I can:

* upload photos and sequence them easily (dragging), adding and deleting with ease

* upload and add music (maybe also mix and edit the audio a bit)

* synchronize video with audio

* determine the look of the slideshow and make it automatic, or adjust manually for every slide

* use panning and zooming effects with great ease (determine start, end and speed)

Thanks for all recommendations.

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RoelHendrickx
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Thanks Bob, for the encouragement on "Dynamic Stills!???"
In reply to Bob Tullis, Mar 17, 2013

Bob Tullis wrote:

Creatively fantastic.

Bob, thank you.

You are looking through all the (very real) defects of this attempt and just viewing my intentions.

Thank you for that (but I also like the technical and more reserved comments by the others).

Getting the pat on the back is good for encouragement.

Getting the constructive remarks is good for improvement.

The zooming on the stills, at least as you've fashioned them here, brings a new dimension of interest for what they are themselves. Each is an active dynamic composition. All together, I'm simply captivated.

Well, you see it the way I saw it, but the thing is that I am very familiar with these images and I wanted the panning-zooming to guide the eye of the viewer in the directions I wanted it.

It is clear from your comment that this works for some people.

It is clear from some other comments that it does not work for everybody.

It's like you say in your signature quote:
"Well, sometimes the magic works. . . Sometimes, it doesn't." - Little Big Man

I will have to work at finding the ideal middle ground.

I demand you release me (I have to go to the bathroom, dammit!) [g]

I'm sorry I read your comment only just now.

I trust no little accidents have happened...?

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RoelHendrickx
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Boxerman, some detailed responses (excuse me for the delay)
In reply to boxerman, Mar 17, 2013

boxerman wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

I have been looking for a way to make slideshows more controlled and dynamic (and to add music)

I very much like this kind of presentation, and I think this show is very nice! You certainly have great shots to start with.

Thanks.  Yes, that would have to be the basis for any slideshow.

I do think thoughtful use of zoom and pan is the best. I noticed a few standard tropes in your show of which I approve. Showing the larger frame then zooming into the focal subject usually works. The reverse, too, starting close in, then zooming out to reveal the context. Trickier stuff is to use the zoom and pan to really show two different aspects of the same photo (panning during zoom so that the original focus disappears).

I have much of one and much of the other (in fact, the whole slideshow is a consistent one-two-one-two of zooming in and out, to various degrees.  The panning is additional for some shots, and that is mostly so because the originals are squares, so I would zoom in from a larger secondary subject to a smaller primary one.

Some other thoughts: Although some of your pan and zooms seemed very thoughtful, some seemed "random." Or, anyway, I did not get the point.

Well, some were indeed more considered than others.  Of those that were less considered, I should have NOT zoomed at all.

I also prefer slower zoom and pan, in general, so that I can "study" the pic better.

Well, I just wanted to show a near-maximum amount of shots over the course of the song duration.  I plead guilty : that is not ideal.  Picking and culling comes hard for me.

Variety, also, is, of course, generally good, and my wife (who is pretty darn good at these things) often does some stationary frames, just to vary things up and, I presume, also because some shots have much less of a dynamic point to make.

I agree : I should do that too in next attempts.  But this was a first try and I was like a kid in the candystore of zooming and panning...

I think it's always good to make such judgments, otherwise it becomes just a trick, and not a mode of visual design.

True.

We use fotomatico software. It's quite flexible. Not on your portable device, as far as I know. Most of our travel presentations are now in this style. We burn blu-ray, which is fabulous on a large screen TV. Among other things, the 60 frame per second, progressive format make zooming VERY smooth.

OK. Fotomatico is another I will look into.

Thanks.

No thank YOU for your feedback.  Much appreciated.

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RoelHendrickx
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In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 17, 2013

RoelHendrickx wrote:

boxerman wrote:

We use fotomatico software. It's quite flexible. Not on your portable device, as far as I know. Most of our travel presentations are now in this style. We burn blu-ray, which is fabulous on a large screen TV. Among other things, the 60 frame per second, progressive format make zooming VERY smooth.

OK. Fotomatico is another I will look into.

PS :  Is it FotomaTico or FotomaGico?

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RoelHendrickx
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Why B&W?
In reply to PC Wheeler, Mar 17, 2013

PC Wheeler wrote:

Very nice. But Paris is so colorful I'd have trouble limiting myself to B&W.

I agree.

I did not limit myself to B&W though.

I shot in colour (RAW) but when I was processing, it just occurred to me that it would be a good idea to process towards B&W for reasons of emulating a classic style and of uniformity.

There are certain shots that would definitely work well in colour too, but I saw this as a series and for that purpose B&W really was the way to go.

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