I really like emailing slideshows as a way of showing the results of a shoot or of telling a story, rather than just emailing a series of shots. For one thing, most slide show programs have some way of automatically reducing file size to make the whole thing more e-mailable. It’s also nice if you can put a little music in for drama. Finally, I like to use the image description metadata so that there can be some verbal guidance under each slide for the story being told. By putting that information in the metadata, I’m also able to keep that description with the image when it’s sent to clients, stock agencies, and the like.
Lightroom does a pretty decent job of most of these things. The objection I have is that it only produces PDF slide shows. I usually tell my audience to make sure they have the latest version of Adobe Reader installed, but that scares some people away. I know, it couldn’t be simpler, but lots of people are downright paranoid of installing anything that their consultant or The Genius Bar didn’t tell them to install. It’s also difficult to add a soundtrack to a PDF slide show or to create your own background from scratch in Photoshop.
Here is an example screen from a quick and powerful alternative:
I’ve been looking around for a good alternative that can produce a decent show straight from the RAW files–or from anything I’ve jumped to Photoshop to do regionally. A couple of days ago, my friend Doug Sahlin asked me if I’d seen Dr. Brown’s Services 1.9.2. I’m a big fan of Russel Brown’s so I immediately jumped on line to check it out. This version has two new video scripts and some updates to 1-2-3 Process. Here’s a full list of all the scripts in this download:
- Dr. Brown’s Background Remover
- Dr. Brown’s 1-2-3 Process
- Dr. Brown’s Caption Maker
- Dr. Brown’s Slide Show
- Dr. Brown’s Stack-A-Matic
- Dr. Brown’s Black and White
- Dr. Brown’s Place-A-Matic
- Dr Brown’s Fit Video to Audio
- Dr. Brown’s Interpret Footage
Just in case you don’t know about Russell Brown, he’s probably Adobe’s most notorious evangelist and he’s famous for creating Actions and Scripts (such as the original Image Processor) that he gives away as a good will gesture from Adobe. He also does amazing blogs and video tutorials, so I don’t see much point in giving you step-by-step instructions on all that Dr. Brown’s Services and Dr. Brown’s slide show do and how you do it. Just paste this in your browser and check it out yourself: http://av.adobe.com/russellbrown/Slideshow_SM.mov.
Despite the fact that this slide show isn’t made in Lightroom, it’ much faster to enter the metadata you want to use for captions and to label the images that you want in the slideshow in Lightroom. You can then export flattened files to a directory that will be used for the slide show. Then you can just open that directory in Bridge, which is where the script resides, Select All, and let the script build the slide show for you automatically.
Why would you want to bother when Lightroom has such an outstanding slide show maker? Perhaps you don’t mind using a PDF slide show. However, you can add a soundtrack or music to the Photoshop slide show. Better yet, click a button and the whole slide show is auto-timed to start and stop with the sound track, which each slide given equal time.
The background for the slide show is the Photoshop background layer. So you can create all manner of frames and put a title or a photographer’s credit, company logos, or anything else you can create in Photoshop. So it’s even more versatile at creating a signature look that sets your slide show apart and makes it more memorable.
When you finish the slide show, it is saved as Quick Time Movie. That makes it really easy to incorporate it into video, so you could have a “talking head” presentation or show some motion frames between slide shows. There are also plenty of ways to convert this popular format to just about any other video format.
On the downside, there’s still no “Ken Burns” effect in this slide show. Mac users can get that in the latest version of iMovie if they have Aperture as their RAW processor. Not having a Mac in my possession at the moment, I don’t know if that’s possible with Lightroom.
You can have a different title for each slide by entering specific metadata to the Description field for each image in Lightroom or Camera Raw.
You can add music or pre-record a soundtrack that’s timed to the length you’ve designated for the slides to have on screen.