Posted on April 5, 2009
Do’s and don’ts for slideshows
Having graded 25 students’ Soundslides today, I have a few pointers to offer for anyone producing an audio slideshow:
- Have clear relationships between what we hear and what we see. If the event planner is talking about making the decorations, for example, show the decorations.
- Tell a story. Don’t just slap on an interview in which someone explains something.
- Provide context. Why are these people doing this, or what’s the purpose of the event?
- In an early caption, tell us exactly where we are (including the state, please!) and the exact date (including the year, please!).
- Write captions that provide additional information. Do not tell us what we can see in the photo (if we can see it, you don’t need to tell us).
- In captions, identify each person in the photo with first and last name, and some other information, such as where they live, their occupation, or (for students) their major.
- Begin with an ID ( “I’m Mary Jones, and I’m a finance major”); this is completely boring. It fails to spark any interest in your story.
- Allow the background sound to drown out the interview.
- Use natural sound out of context — for example, a car horn blowing when we see no cars and no street.
- Show objects, walls, signs — unless there is a person (or a person’s hand, etc.) in the photo too.
- Combine audio and photos in a way that misleads (for example, we hear one person singing while we see a photo of a different person singing).
- Repeat the same lengthy information in multiple captions.
For more audio slideshow tips, see RGMP 11: Tell a good story with images and sound.