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13. Creating a slideshow

Choosing a series of pictures and assembling them thanks to coherent and appropriate editing: there’s an original way to rehabilitate photography in the digital age. The techniques used make it an easy, light and fun task.

Keep your slideshow in mind when taking pictures

Not everybody can become a professional photographer, however every journalist should know how to take informative pictures when covering an event. Let’s take a common example : a protest. To cover it, you need to take your digital camera and/or a smartphone, but most of all you need to take into account the time it will take to take proper pictures. Why ?

  • Because in order to create a slideshow you need to come back with a huge amount of pictures, so that you may choose and have more freedom when editing.
  • Because you’ll need to have pictures taken from different perspectives: crowd shots, establishing shots, long shots, close ups.
  • Because this way you can contribute to a picture database which may illustrate other articles.

Before leaving to cover an event, think about how you could tell your story only with pictures, keeping in mind that improvising and listening are cardinal virtues for reporters. Still, the more prepared you are for an event, the better you’ll cover it.

Which tool ?

Back in the newsroom you need to upload the pictures on your computer (via mail, MMS or a USB cable). Then you need to edit them thanks to software such as GIMP to resize them and eventually remove flaws.

There are many types of slideshow creating software available. The one Google developed is called Picasa3. It’s intuitive and easy to use. Once you’ve downloaded it, the software will create folders with the pictures in your hard drive.

The “Create video clip presentation” tab will launch an editing interface based on the pictures in the selected folder. It allows you to pick pictures, caption them, add music or audio commentary, and also to set transitions and how long each picture stays on the screen.

When you’re done with editing, don’t forget to click on “Export clip” to save your slideshow in .wmv. Then you can export the file.

As a rule don’t put too many pictures and avoid making your slideshow longer than 2 minutes : you’ll bore your reader. Be picky !