We recently put on a celebration for my Grandmother’s 100th birthday where family, friends and relatives were invited in from all parts of North America to attend her birthday is actually July 8th. Being the family geek, I was asked if I could put a slide show together that would be played on a projector and looped throughout the party. Also being a hobbyist photographer, I knew I would be taking lots of pictures. Here is the workflow that I used to put everything together including the software and services I used. Without these tools it would have taken me a lot longer than I did to get everything put together.
Slide Show Pictures
I have 7 or 8 years of digital pictures on various computers and external hard drives around the house. I found about seven years worth of picture on equipment that is easily accessible and I know I have another year or two earlier of pictures on some hard drives that are not installed in systems now. Most of the photos however were located on my main desktop, where I have not yet installed Adobe Lightroom. I went through all of the folders using Canon’s Image browser and picking all of the pictures of my Grandmother, these were then copied to separate folder. Once I had gone through all of the pictures there, on my Dlink NAS device and on my MacBook Pro, I consolidated all of the pictures into a folder on my NAS device. I copied the folder to my NAS and then to my MacBook Pro. At this point I had about 330 pictures.
Once the folder was copied onto my Mac, I imported all of the pictures into Adobe Lightroom (there is a review of Lightroom on this blog), where I made the final picks to select the pictures to be used in the final slide show. In less than an hour I had gone through all of the 330 pictures and narrowed it down to 172. These were then exported out of Lightroom to another folder as well as being exported to a gallery on my Smugmug Photo Sharing site (there is also a Smugmug review on this blog).
About a month ago I had heard of a site called animoto.com which takes photos and creates a unique slideshow with music and transitions. When I first saw it I thought it would be perfect for this event so I signed up for a yearly all access pass. I will very shortly be writing a review of Animoto as I think it is a great way to display your photos.
I upload the 172 images to Animoto and then watched to see roughly how long my slide show would be. It indicated 5:59, so I found a piece of music on their site that was close to that length, selected it and hit make movie. I waited about 45 minutes and I got an outstanding slideshow video. This video was suitable for playing on an iPod or computer in it’s native resolution but not great for full screen so I purchased a High Resolution DVD movie for 5.00. This was ready about 45 minutes later as both a High Resolution MP4 file and as a DVD ISO file for burning to disk. Both were downloaded to the MacBook Pro.
Since this was the first time I was going to use my MacBook Pro connected to a projector and I wasn’t sure how that was going to turn out, I needed a back up plan. I took the folder of pictures, copied them to my main desktop and using Ulead’s (actually Corel now) DVD Movie Factory I made a slide show DVD that also archived the pictures themselves on it. I also included the Animoto high resolution file on the DVD so I knew if I could not get my Macbook to work with the projector we could use the facilities DVD player that was hooked up to their projector.
Luckily the MB Pro worked fine after a little fiddling and the animoto movie was a big hit.
I shot the party using both my Canon 40D (24 – 105mm F4 L IS and 430EX Flash and Diffuser) and 30D (Canon 50MM F1.4 and Sigma 10-20MM Wide Angle Zoom). I ended up with about 600 pictures of the event. All shot in RAW format
I was also supplied with the pictures from my Aunt and Cousin for another 600 pictures.
All photos were copied to my MB Pro and imported into the catalogue I had created for the event in Adobe Lightroom. Once all the photos were imported, I selected the ones that I would pick for publishing to Smugmug. It didn’t take very long and for the 330 or so that I picked from mine I also adjusted the exposures and some settings using Lightroom. I would say total time to pick the photos and adjust mine was about 3 hours. All photos were then uploaded directly from Lightroom to Smugmug galleries.
I wanted to make the videos I created at Animoto available to everyone for download and online viewing. To do this I choose Vimeo.com. It is a video sharing site similar to YouTube however it allows for higher quality videos. I have uploaded videos shot with my High Def Camcorder to this site and they look great. This is a free service.
My next step will be to create a photo book of the event that I will be making available to the guests. Looks like I will use a service called Blurb to make and sell the book. I will download their software to my Mac, use Lightroom to narrow down my selections further and then put the book together itself, upload and have it printed.
The tools that I used really made my job easy. Lightroom is fantastic for speeding up my digital photo work flow and without it I think it would have taken many more hours to accomplish what I did. Animoto.com did exactly what I expected it to and I was extremely pleased with the results.