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
• Contrast is often high. Lower-priced projectors, in particular, don't have a long tonal range from black to white, and will increase the contrast of a photo.
• Reds can be a problem. Because of the warming and saturating tendencies of the projectors, reds quickly can look bad.
• Text can be an issue. With lower-resolution projectors, text can be hard to read if it's too small and fine.
Working With A Projector
It's a good idea to preview a slideshow by yourself before showing it to anyone. In the days of slide projectors, you'd do that to be sure no images were upside-down or backwards. Today, you need to do it to be sure images look okay on screen and that they work well together. Once projected, mistakes just look worse.
Okay, so much for the challenges. Before offering specific solutions to get the most from a projector I need to mention something that isn't a projector issue, but is a digital slideshow challenge-image size. If you leave your photos at their original resolutions (projectors don't need megapixels), you'll slow down fast slide changes and make transitions run poorly.
Resize your photos to slightly above the projector resolution (I recommend that because you may want to use a higher resolution in the future). Most image-processing programs allow you to resize photos. ACDSee has a very easy-to-use batch-resizing interface that lets you change the size of your photos and resave them in a new file. A good choice is to size images to approximately 1200 pixels wide by 900 high (this will vary, depending on the format of the original). Be sure to tell the program to resize within these parameters and not exactly to the sizes (the latter can stretch and pull an image).
Since projectors mostly tend to warm up and saturate images, typically you may want to decrease both factors. I don't recommend batch-processing everything since you may find you like the look of an image projected as is. I find a good way of doing this is to use adjustment layers. Start with an adjustment with a Hue/Saturation layer on one photo and see how it looks. You might try a Color Balance layer, too, to remove some warmth. If they work, then you can use that photo as the "source" of all adjustment layers.
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