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Whether you’re presenting a photo slideshow at a camera club meeting, conference, rehearsal dinner or wedding, we’ve got some great tips to help make sure your presentation plays perfectly.
Looking for a great tool to create your own photo + video slideshows? Check out ProShow >>
The Set Up: Laptops and Projectors
In most cases, you’ll be projecting your photo slideshow from a laptop to play for your audience. Projectors provide a great vehicle through which to display slideshows to any size group. Depending upon the set up of the event, you may or may not be using your own laptop to playback your slideshow. That’s why the key to making this process picture-perfect is starting with good source material.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you output shows for this medium.
Choosing Your Output Format: Embrace the Video Revolution
Output your slideshow as a video file. Video is the best option for presenting in front of an audience at an event. The format is efficient, reliable and most importantly portable. You’ll find that most video files play well on the average Mac or Windows machine, making them a great cross-platform choice. Sometimes you just don’t know what type of computer is going to be hooked up to that projector. It’s best to have a video in those cases.
Videos come in a variety of formats and subtle variations, from AVI to MOV. Picking the right options can be a little daunting but it doesn’t have to be. ProShow provides many HD video presets from the “Video for Web, Devices and Computers” dialog, available from the “Publish” menu. Just look under the “Video File” section within this dialog to find many 1080p, and other, profiles that will work across a range of Windows and Mac computers. You’ll see options for QuickTime (MOV), Windows Media Video (WMV), and others all designed to help simplify the process of video output so you can get back to business.
Your Best Bet: Two solid video types that will play across any operating system (Mac or PC) are MPEG 4 720p or 1080p and QuickTime h.264 1080p or 720p. We use these formats to play looping slideshows at many live events and ProShow outputs directly to these file types.
HINT: Once you’ve created your video in ProShow, save it to a flash drive to easily copy it to your laptop for playback.
What About EXE?
The EXE format has in the past been a great way to present high-quality shows and remains useful for certain situations. When playing back a slideshow at an event, video files offer a more reliable playback experience than EXE’s across a wider range of systems. You’ll get smoother playback with a video no matter what computer you’re using. The intensive part of processing video is done during the initial output, not playback, minimizing the chance for complications at crunch time. If you want a super-reliable version of your slideshow to playback at an event – output as a video file, not an EXE.
Match Resolutions for Best Results
All videos have a resolution, which details the number of pixels that make up each frame. The same is true of projectors, where the ‘native resolution’ defines the number of pixels through which output is shown. Matching the resolution of your video output to the ‘native resolution’ of your projector is ideal and will provide the best viewing experience. If the projector resolution is not known, or will vary, then output your show to HD. It’s better to scale that video down during playback than to scale it up. Ultimately, a quality 1080p HD video is going to look best when shown on a 1080p projector and this should be your goal.
Projectors are a commonplace presentation tool these days. A bit of variation exists between these devices but with a little preparation you can be ready for any setup, avoiding crunch-time complications and undue frustration. For the over prepared among us, consider outputting several videos at various resolutions so you’re never caught in a tight spot. Flash drives make a great vehicle for keeping these variations handy.
Photo and article by: Josh Green