Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Digital Slideshows Made Easy: Projecting Slideshows
Get out the screen and turn down the lights—now the classic slideshow can be updated with modern digital projectors
Yes, there are shortcomings: resolution is limited, the spaces between the pixels show, contrast can be an issue, and colors are often different than what you see on the computer screen. However, only photographers go right up to the screen and complain about resolution and pixels—the average person is more impressed with the photos (as we all should be). If the projected size is kept reasonable, the images look very good, plus the other issues can be addressed.
Another problem is that projectors are optimized for PowerPoint and not photography. I've actually projected with many projectors, low- to high-priced, all around the country as I've given classes and workshops, and the same images have ranged from great to garish. There are some adjustments that can be made to maximize any projector, though.
First, let's look at what we, as photographers, can expect from today's projectors. It's important to realize that PCPhoto hasn't tested every projector on the market. However, we've dealt with multiple brands in varied situations and found there are some consistent trends. We'll also offer practical tips to help you deal with these issues and better use a digital projector, whether it's yours, one you borrowed from work or something used by a camera club. It's important to test your projector in your conditions to see if all of the following things apply.
• Projectors as a whole tend to warm up images. Evidently, engineers figure PowerPoint presentations could use a little warming up, and that transfers to photos as well. This isn't always a problem with photographs—photos often look good with some extra warmth. The problem comes if the image is warm to begin with or has colors that are adversely affected by added warm tones.
• Colors have a tendency to be strongly saturated. The solid colors of a PowerPoint presentation often look better this way. However, on a brightly colored photo, this can be too much, making the photo look garish. I once did a presentation in front of a group of professional photographers and was horrified to see garish flowers projected on a screen that had no relation to the image on my laptop. I wanted to pass the laptop around to prove the photo looked good.
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