FPCUG - Alaska in 2500 Pictures or Less

Creating a digital slide show presentation of a vacation trip.

denali (128K)

Denali "The High One"

Before you go:

Besides obvious things like travel arrangements, tickets, reservations, lodging, etc:

  1. Equipment selection.
    • What
      • Digital vs 35mm film (cost of film and processing). If you use film, you will have to either scan your pictures or have them saved on CD when they are processed. The cost of using film will limit the number of pictures you can take.
      • Camera (size, weight, optical zoom ratio, mem card type/size, exposure options, USB connection). My camera of choice is the Nikon Coolpix 5700 with an 8:1 optical zoom plus 4x digital zoom if you need it, 5 megapixels, and a 512 MB CF card.
      • Accessories (extra memory card, batteries, charger, carrying case, flash, tripod, minipod, etc).
      • Image Storage Device (Laptop, Image Tank, Photo Show, etc).
      • A USB 'Thumb Drive' is useful for carrying information in digital form. You can plug it into any computer running Windows 2000 or XP with a USB port and access it as an external HD. Good for keeping your travel itinerary, contacts, addresses and any other important information. You can even load and run a small program for accessing your e-mail from any internet connected computer.
    • Why
      • Total baggage size/weight reduction, airport security considerations, convenience.
  2. Use your equipment enough to become familiar with it before leaving on your trip. Have a feel for battery consumption. It depends on camera on time and your use of flash.
  3. Packing considerations.
    • Airport security restrictions. (Check the latest guidelines at http://www.tsa.dot.gov/public/index.jsp).
    • Digital vs film vs airport screening. Digital is not affected by airport xray equipment. Film is.
    • Carry On. I always carry camera's in carry on luggage. Most accessories can go in checked baggage. Use a 'Day Pack' for carry on and use it for excursions during your trip.
  4. Have some way to offload your memory cards.
    • Laptop.
    • Image Tank.
    • Photo Show.

During Your Trip:

  1. Take as many images as you want. Don't be afraid to try different camera settings. You can select and edit later. Use the highest jpg quality image setting. But do take the time to enjoy what you are seeing.
    • Don't use tiff or raw unless you are planning on making huge enlargements. The image size is huge and time to save is long.
    • Minimize use of flash if possible. It will drastically reduce battery life.
  2. Keep a journal.
    • Either a notebook
    • or PDA device and:
    • Note dates, places, what you took pix of, etc. At some point, correlate this with your photo image names. Make sure the Date/Time setting is correct in your camera.
When you get back home:
  1. Burn all the raw unedited images to CD or DVD.
  2. Go through all the images using something like Irfanview so you can view them full screen. Make a first cut note of your best images.
  3. Make a copy all the best images in a single directory. You are going to need plenty of HD space.
  4. Go through them again and refine your selection. You want to limit the number of images to something that takes around half an hour and fits on 1 CD.

Create your Slide Show presentation: The goal is to burn a Video CD or DVD that will 'autorun'. I use JASC Paint Shop Pro and Paint Shop Photo Album.

  1. Use Paint Shop Pro or your favorite image editor to edit, enhance and resize images to 1024 wide and/or 768 high. If you don't and later create a photo CD, it will take "forever" for the processing time and you will be seriously limited in how many images you can include. Using a size of 1024x768, you can use ~500 images plus 40 minutes of mp3 music.
  2. Load the images into Paint Shop Photo Album or your favorite album creator and drag them into a logical sequence.
  3. Add annotation images, either text images or take photos of brochures, maps, or other information collected on your trip.
  4. Add notes associated with selected images so you will remember what they were and why you took them.
  5. Select the music for your presentation. I use CDex to rip and convert to mp3 format. Select options for your slide show.
  6. Save the final slide show to your HD. You can run it directly on the computer.
  7. Burn your slide show to video CD or DVD. You can also include all the original jpg images.
    • My computer is a 4 yr old 450 MHZ P3 with 768 MB of memory, a 40 GB HD, running Windows 2000 pro. Unless you have a new, really fast (2 GHz or better) computer with a lot of memory, be prepared for this process to take hours. Before creating the VCD, close all unnecessary processes.
    • Rendering the images and music and burning the CD takes around 2 1/2 hrs on my computer and uses 100 % of the computers resources. You will probably think the computer has locked up. Just wait it out.
  8. Your CD will autorun on any Windows computer and 'may' play in some DVD players.

Josh Cockey, webmaster@fpcug.org
January 2004, FPCUG Meeting

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