Monday, February 12, 2007

02/11/07: Slideshow Timing...


I've been creating slideshows as long as I've been shooting pictures with SLR cameras (almost 25 years). A question I'm often asked is...how long should I make the slideshow or how long should each image be on screen? The answer is -- it totally depends on a multitude of factors (content, music / tempo, audience connection to the show, etc.).

  • Content -- a wedding slideshow may seem short to a bride who would probably sit for hours looking at her images (assuming they are high quality, professional images!) whereas some of her co-workers or distant relatives might only be interested in seeing the best of the best -- perhaps 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Music / tempo -- appropriate music for slideshow content can have a dramatic influence on the impact of the show (e.g. up-tempo for sports or action photos -- or kids!, slow to moderate for romantic or reflective type images). You can pack many more images in a fast-tempo song and get away with it.
  • Audience -- an audience that is attached to the images (i.e. they are IN many of the images, or they are closely related or attached to the photo subjects) will concentrate much longer on slideshows than one who is comparatively detached. However, like cinema, suspenseful and engaging images will hold an audiences' attention for much longer than repititive content and poorly captured images.
A good rule of thumb I've used is 5-6 seconds per image for a slow to moderate paced / themed slideshow and anywhere from 1.5 to 3 seconds for faster action. For slow to moderate pace, I recommend a 1 second fade between images, less than 1 second for fast paced images.

As far as story-boarding your slideshow and selecting the right number of images based on a large assortment to choose from...pick the keepers, then pick the best of the keepers for the slideshow. If it still seems too long (or the # of images seems too quickly paced for your music selection), then keep culling the best of the best until the slideshow "fits" the music and your audience (of course you can also experiment with longer songs!). You can also try short versions and long versions of the same show depending on the audience.

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