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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

Apple Final Cut Studio 2 may have been designed for videographers, but it's a valuable tool for still photographers looking to expand into multimedia.
Doing It

It's not difficult to produce a great multimedia presentation of your still images. The first step is to come up with a concept. A random selection of nice photos is nice—but it's not the most effective package. The concept could be the story of an event you've covered or are about to cover, a human-interest feature, a presentation of the birds in a local natural area, a client's classic car or motorcycle collection (the sounds are as important as the looks to many vintage vehicle buffs!) or a collection of images that demonstrate what sets your photography apart—there are many ways to organize a selection of photographs into a cohesive whole. You might even write a “shooting script,” positioning the narration, music and effects with the images.

Choose the images and the order in which you wish to present them. Then gather the audio files. You can present a fine-art collection to classical music, write and produce narration or interviews with subjects in the photos and include ambient sounds (such as the calls of the pictured birds).

Once you have all of your elements for the project, transfer the files to a project folder on your hard drive. Put the photos into a folder called Photos or Images and the audio files in a folder called Audio or Sound. (In Final Cut Pro 6, folders are called bins.) You can further organize files in each bin; for example, the Audio bin might contain subfolders called Narration, Music and Effects; the Narration bin might contain subfolders for Voiceover, Interviews and Photographer's Comments. The Interviews subfolder could contain individual sub-subfolders for each interviewee.

Now it's a matter of transferring the files to Final Cut Pro 6's browser window (by dragging and dropping or using the Import command) and then placing the photos and audio clips on the Timeline where you want them. You can decide when and how long each image will appear, how to transition between images (simple straight cuts or dissolves are generally best, but Final Cut Pro 6 provides a variety of effects), and where and how loudly narration, music and other audio will appear. The Timeline accepts multiple image and audio tracks; the Canvas window shows you, in detail, the active items in the Timeline.

For excellent examples of Final Cut Pro 6 multimedia presentations of still images, go to www.mediastorm.org and click on a Project. Also check out Brian Storm's free Final Cut Pro tutorial at http://seminars.apple.com/seminarsonline/richmediafcp/apple/index1.html.

In addition to Final Cut Pro 6, the Final Cut Studio 2 suite includes Motion 3, Soundtrack Pro 2, Compressor 3, Color and DVD Studio Pro 4.2. It sells for $1,299, and is available for Mac only (OS v10.4.9 or later). Visit www.apple.com/finalcutstudio.


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