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Monday, January 7, 2008

DPP Solutions: Get Into Multimedia

Giving new life to still photos with Apple Final Cut Pro 6

This Article Features Photo Zoom

appleToday's technology makes it relatively easy to turn a series of photos into multimedia presentations with audio for even more impact. You can add audio to your still images to tell a story even better, and equally important, provide additional marketing opportunities—there are more places to sell multimedia presentations than there are to sell still images alone, including broadcast media. Multimedia presentations also are a great way to present what you do photographically to potential clients. They provide a new creative challenge, too.

Final Cut Pro 6, the latest version of Apple's Emmy-winning video-editing program, is part of the company's popular Final Cut Studio 2 video-production suite, but it isn't just for editing videos. It also allows you to import any number of still photos (TIFF, JPEG and other popular formats, including PSD, with each layer on its own editable video track). You then can add a soundtrack with music, narration, effects and, yes, even video clips, and deliver the resulting presentation as a QuickTime movie, posting it to the Internet or burning it to a DVD.

You can add music, narration and audio effects to a presentation of existing images to make a “super slideshow” (an interactive one, if you wish, using the DVD Studio Pro 4 software included in the Final Cut Studio 2 suite). Photojournalists can produce still-photo documentaries, featuring narration, the sounds of the action, interviews with the subjects of photos and even ambient background audio that gives the viewer more of a feel of what it was like to be there, for a fuller, richer experience. Pictures-with-sound presentations appeal to two senses, sight and hearing, not just one.

Acquiring Audio
On-scene sound recording is best done with a quality digital audio recorder and a quality professional microphone (make sure the recorder will accept a pro mic; i.e., get one with an XLR mic jack), although Final Cut Pro 6 includes a Voiceover feature that lets you record narration at the computer as you view the images. As for music, Final Cut Pro 6 accepts most popular audio files, including audio CD (respect copyrights). If your budget permits, you can have music produced especially for your project.

Adding Motion
You can add motion to your still images in several ways. With Final Cut Pro 6, you can zoom in or out (a slow zoom in to a key point in an image can be effective, as can a slow zoom out from a key point to reveal the overall scene) or pan across an image and change the rate at which the images appear. While a leisurely pace lets viewers linger over fine-art images set to classical music, a rapid flip-book-style action sequence can almost seem like a motion clip (you can select images from a motordrive sequence or shoot individual frames with a rapid-sequence playback in mind).

Final Cut Pro 6 lets you edit visuals and audio tracks as desired. You might have a music track that plays continuously, increasing the volume for drama or decreasing it during an interview. The interview audio track will play as the appropriate images appear. Audio effects can be brought up for dramatic effect and down to serve as backdrop.

You can choose from a wide variety of transitions and effects (generally, you don't want these to be too flashy), and create title slides like in old silent movies.

Multimedia is a natural for storytelling still photography like photojournalism, but a DVD with a QuickTime gallery of your fine-art images accompanied by classical music—and perhaps your own comments about the images and their creation—can be highly effective as well.


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