In the multi-media world the audio slide show is often seen as the poor relation in comparison with videos and podcasts. Audio Slideshows can be an invaluable resource and a stunning way to showcase some stories.
Here are some of our top tips:
1/ Take the photos like you would a video with a variety of shots – audio slide shows are particularly good for close-up studies.
2/ Do the interview first – listen and make note of what you need to shoot. It sounds obvious but then you can match the photo and the audio in the edit.
3/ Make use of NatSot – or natural sound. Record at least a minute if not more and use it to cover natural breaks in the interview. Use NatSot at the beginning of your Audio Slideshow as a way of adding atmosphere and a sense of place. This stunning Audio Slideshow about a snake safari in India makes fabulous use of NatSot: http://gu.com/p/3v3pe
4/ Don't have the interviewee introducing themselves. Use your written lead-in to introduce your interviewee, include introductions in your voice over or use titles like this http://gu.com/p/32575
5/ Audio matters – use your headphones every time you record, use fades and monitor your levels during editing to make sure multi-layers tracks are balanced.
6/ Use care if you use the Ken Burns effect in iMovie or pan and zoom effects in windows based editing systems. The effects are a great way to add movement into your photos but don't use it to try and recreate video
7/ Don't make your Audio S too long especially if you have limited photographs – I only lasted 4 minutes into this 12 minute monologue by Tracy Chevalier on Rubens painting The Family. http://gu.com/p/32e9q
I'm not sure I can listen to anyone talking solidly for so long, the photos do not change enough, there is no NatSot to add atmosphere and because of this the recording sounds tinny. It sounds like it was recorded in a echoing gallery, which of course it was, but without the NatSot to introduce us to the fact that it was recorded in a gallery it just sounds dreadful.
We're often asked on our training courses how do we film conferences and lectures and our answer is the same every time - unless you have the facilities, equipment and, of course, the training don't even try it. This presentation on 'The secret to making money online' is a perfect example of why.
From it's distorted audio (should have used headphones guys) to shaky one shot with enough headroom to park a bus (rule of thirds anyone) and out of focus this video is an awful advertisement for such a 'cutting' edge company.
Contrast it with this TED lecture – beautifully lit, great audio, multiple cameras and well thought out powerpoint presentations.
Now yes the TED lecture was professionally filmed with multi-cameras but there are many ways you can film a great lecture or presentation on a budget.
1/ Consider the room – if the lighting is poor and you cannot do anything about it forget filming in it. Record it as a podcast instead.
2/ Use your headphones – if the audio is too loud and distorts there is nothing you can do about it in post production.
3/ Try to establish what the subject will be doing on the stage pre-shoot and go for a good mid-shoot with room for movement either side.
4/ If the speaker goes out of shot re-frame without turning off the camera and use a cutaway to cover the movement in the edit
5/ Don't switch off the camera to get audience cutaways– you're bound to miss the vital announcement. Get your cutaways with the audio running or film them at the beginning or end.
Ultimately consider your audience. Do they want to sit and watch a hour long lecture or would they rather listen to a great podcast of the lecture and watch a related interview covering some of the lecture in-depth or answering post lecture questions?
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