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AV Guidelines Guidelines for creating A-V shows for Showcase

by the BPS Showcase Committee

30 March 2015


The annual Showcase event of the Burnaby Photographic Society (BPS) is a chance to present to the public our club's high-quality photographic work. Large framed prints are hung in the lobby of the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, and the annual Saturday night event features about 20 to 25 short but entertaining audio-visual shows. Typically, such shows are composed of still photos accompanied by music that helps to set a complementary mood. Some shows also combine still photos with short video clips.

The Saturday night Showcase event, which is usually held in late January or early February of each year, continues to draw about 200 to 260 paying audience members who make this the main fund-raising event for BPS each year. This discerning audience has come to expect interesting, amusing, and enjoyable audio-visual shows created by BPS photographers. In 2015, we held our 19th annual Showcase, so to help meet that expectation and to keep the crowds coming, the Showcase Committee has written the following guidelines for BPS photographers who plan to produce audio-visual shows.

  1. BPS members are encouraged to produce shows that impress the audience with high-quality images, entertain them with audio-visual stories, or engage them in a "photographic journey" through special events such as festivals. When selecting and editing your material, please consider all of the information you have gathered during BPS' regular print and projected-image critique nights.
  2. Shows can be humorous, serious, or a combination of those. Photos should be suitable for families who attend with kids.
  3. Audiences will be more engaged if your show illustrates a clear theme and the music that you have chosen enhances the mood and feeling of the photos. In addition, the most engaging shows tell a clear story, are humourus, are informative and/or entertain the viewer.
  4. Audio-visual shows should be unique to the Burnaby Photographic Society Showcase. In other words, no AV show will be used that has been shown publicly at any other time or place (except at internal BPS meetings such as the Don McGillivray Competition).
  5. Family holiday shows should emphasize artistic and creative elements, as opposed to simply being a series of "record shots" of events, family poses, and scenes that would have limited audience appeal.
  6. The audience is entertained most by shows that are 4 minutes long or less. Even one-minute shows have been quite successful in the past, especially if they are humorous! Well-paced durations of slides, simple and consistent transition styles, and a supportive music track are basic elements for engaging the audience and keeping them interested.
  7. Each show can contain both still photos and a maximum of 10 seconds of HD video captured by a BPS photographer/showmaker.
  8. No videos or still photos taken by other people or downloaded from the internet are allowed. Not only does such use violate copyright, but it also does not reflect the spirit and purpose of Showcase — to present the work of BPS members. The only exceptions are images captured by a non-BPS photographer while accompanying a BPS member on a photo outing, either of a scene chosen by the non-BPS person or under the "artistic direction" of a BPS member. An example of the latter would be where the BPS member asks his or her fellow photographer to "Stand here and take a photo of me with that mountain in the background and not too much bright sky." For the exceptions described in this paragraph, contributions of the non-BPS photographer must be a very minor portion of the show and that person must be named in the credits.
  9. To enable us to have a professional-looking presentation at Showcase, all shows must START, AS WELL AS END WITH, a slide that (1) lasts at least 3 seconds, (2) is completely black, and (3) has no music or other sound track during that time. We need such a slide at both the start and the end of your shows so that the audience won't see our laptop's "desktop screen" when we start and end the shows. This makes for a more professional presentation.
  10. Before you submit to the Showcase Committee the "final-final" version of your show in January of each year, the show must include one or more "credit slides" that state who the photographer was, and perhaps even the music you used. In contrast, first-draft shows that you submit in November of each year should be anonymous, that is, without any credits slide, so that written suggestions for improving shows will not be influenced by the maker of the show.
  11. To help set the context for your shows for the Showcase Committee's selection process, you may want to provide background information on the show, both at the first-draft submission stage in November as well as the final stage in January. There probably will be very few shows that need such explanation, but if you have one, please send a few sentences to the current coordinator of the Showcase shows at the same time as you submit your show files.
  12. All shows must follow certain technical requirements to make the Showcase presentations as professional as possible. Here are some examples of those requirements.
    1. You must start your show with a menu that allows the projectionist to put it on "pause" just before it starts so that the Master of Ceremonies can first read the introduction to your show.
    2. Your show must play "full screen" instead of in a small window.
    3. Your show must NOT display a control bar at the bottom of the screen when it starts playing.
    4. Your show must NOT display the Photodex advertising "splash screen" when the show begins.
    5. To make your show display at the full-screen capability of the projector, your show must use the following settings when producing the executable (exe) file. The following examples are from Proshow 7, but there will be equivalents in your own software.
    6. On the "Menu" tab of the "Create Executable" window, the "Menu Layout" pane has a pull-down menu for "Aspect" ratio. Choose 4:3 (Older TVs) because our computer projector uses a 4:3 aspect ratio. If you mistakenly choose 16:9, your photos won't fill the screen.
    7. On the "Options" tab of the "Create Executable" window, the"Playback Startup" pane should have "Window size" 1400 x 1050 and "Full Screen" checkbox checked ON to start playback full screen.
    8. If your version of Proshow contains another pane in the "Options" tab asking for something like "Software fallback" or "Image quality", make sure that reads 1400 x 1050.
    9. To make your images fill either the full width of the projector's capability, its full height, or both, then set the following default in Proshow 5 (or the analogous setting in later versions). On the top menu, go to Edit --> Preferences --> Show defaults (on the left side) --> Default image settings --> Scaling: "Fit to frame".

To learn how to meet these unwavering requirements, please use the following links to find the necessary settings for Proshow and iMovie software. The illustrations in these documents are now for older versions of the software, but you can find similar procedures in newer versions as well.

Proshow Gold Settings
Proshow Producers Settings
iMovie Settings

More specific tips for making excellent shows are given starting with the content below. As well, please consult other documents for information about software to use, technical aspects of AV shows, and broad suggestions for choosing a theme, appropriate photos, and music, for example.

Check out the following links for additional information on creating "Great audio-visual shows".
Creating a Great Audio-Visual Show by Paul Sparrow
Paul Sparrow's Audio-Visual Show website

Creating Your Slideshow

by John Wilson

  1. Make a Story Board
    • Make 4x6 prints of the images you plan to put in your show. Lay them out where you can see all of them and rearrange them until you have the sequence/flow that you are happy with.
    • Number the prints from top left to bottom right with the sequence 01-09 and normal numbering thereafter.
      This is important to ensure the images load into ProShow in the correct sequence and will save a lot of time rearranging them in ProShow.
  2. Create a file with the images numbered in the order you wish the slides to appear
    • Rearrange the images to match the sequence in 1 above and number them accordingly.
  3. Select the your music
    • Ideally you should have some idea of what music you want to use before starting the creation of the show.
    • For ProShow 5 or earlier you will have to convert it to MP3 or some other form that ProShow 5 or earlier can read.
    • You can store the converted music file in the same file with your images for the show.
  4. Load the images into ProShow
    • Open the ProShow application. It will open as a blank show.
    • In the Folder List, locate your show file and open it. The images from the file should automatically load into the File List window in the correct order.
    • Drag and drop the images into the Slide List window.  DO NOT DRAG THE MUSIC FILE INTO THIS WINDOW! 
  5. Add a blank starting and ending slide
    • Right click on the first slide
    • From the dropdown menu select - Insert
    • Select - Blank Slide. A black slide will be inserted to the left of the first slide.
    • Scroll to the last slide and repeat the process. Drag the blank slide to the right of he last slide.
  6. Check the sequencing
    • Under the preview pane, click on the last icon just before the numbers
    • Click on the right pointing arrow to start the show. It should open in full screen mode
    • Click on the beginning blank slide
    • Watch the sequencing to ensure there are no additional changes required
    • At the end of the show hit Esc to return to the work screen.
  7. Add a Title and End slide
    • Select the slide you wish to use as your title slide and place a copy at the beginning just after the blank slide.
    • Double click on the slide. You should now be in a window titled Slide Style.
    • In the Captions pane at the top left, click on the + sign. A cursor will appear in the pane to the left of the image.
    • Type your title in this pane. Notice that it also appears on the slide in a box with handles. The Caption Place pane below the slide will also have become active.
    • Use the top handle on the text box to size the title.
    • You can change the font, add an outline and add a shadow if you wish.
    • When done, click OK
    • Repeat for the end slide. Use the following format:

      Images (or Photography) by - your name
      Production - name of whoever actually put the show together (Not necessary if it is you)
      Music - Group/Musician and Song title

    • In the Caption Behaviors pane you can experiment with how your captions appear on the screen. Play till you find one you like.
    • Leave the boxes in Caption Setup UNCHECKED!!!

       Captions must be large enough to be read from the back of the theatre. 

       Save the show and give it a title you will recognize. In you need to come back to it at a later time, click on File, click on Open Recent and click on your show title to reopen the show where you left off. 

  8. Add the music
    • Drag and drop the music file into the Soundtrack area at the bottom of the screen. When loaded, there should be a green bar in this window.
  9. Adjust the flow
    • Adjust Music Start - The music must start at the Title Slide. Right click on the music track just slightly to the left of the title slide. Select - Start Track Here.
    • Adjust the slide timing - In the bottom right corner of each slide is the duration of the slide.
      To the right of each slide is a box with a similar number for the transition to the next slide.
      You can independently adjust each of these for each slide and transition.
      You can also select all the slides, or a group of slides, change the timing of one and click in the empty space between the slides to change the timing for all.
      Run the show and tweak the timing of the slides and transitions so they flow with the music. Do this as many times as you need to till you have a flow you are satisfied with.
       Remember to save your work!!! 
    • Add motion - You can add movement to your slide show - BUT USE THIS SPARINGLY!!!
      Double click on the slide. In the top left of the Slide Settings window click on Slide Style. The pane will change to Slide Style and a new pane - Slide Styles - will appear at the bottom of the window. Scroll through the options and experiment to determine what type of motion/action you want to apply. When done, click Apply Style at the bottom right of the pane.
    • Add Transitions - You can vary the type of transition between slides - BUT USE THIS SPARINGLY!!!
      Double click on the transition box. The Choose Transition pane will appear. Experiment to determine what type of action to apply. When done, click Apply at the bottom right of the pane.
    • Adjust End of Music - Right click on the music track just slightly to the right of the end slide. Select - End Track Here.
    • Fade Out - If the show ends before the music track you will need to have the music fade out. Double click on the music track. The Soundtrack window will appear. Under Track Settings, click on Edit Fades and Timing. A new pane will appear. In the bottom right is the Fade Out box. Your fade time should be the duration of the End slide plus the transition on either side. Type that number in the box and click OK. Then click OK on the Soundtrack window.


       Test Run your show as many times as necessary to determine you are satisfied with all aspects of the show. 

  10. Create your Executable file

You can use the following links to access the preferred settings for Proshow and iMovie software or use the orange navigation bar called "Showcase tips and guides" on the BPS web site.

Proshow Gold Settings
Proshow Producers Settings
iMovie Settings