Pictures to Exe

Back in August 2016 we spent a couple of days in Hartlepool, meeting up with family, but I did take a camera. We took a trip around the historic quay and its collection of fascinating dioramas and then wandered to the marina.  My original intention was to combine video and stills and create a short video to record what we had seen. I was in one of my regular phases of wanting to try my hand at video making and was full of enthusiasm for the two days I was shooting video and stills.  Back home though I didn’t follow through (for so many reasons and excuses) so the files languished on my hard drive.

© Dave Whenham

A few months later I had cause to investigate Pictures to Exe (PTE) for a club project but despite buying the software I never really got far with that either mainly because of frustration with a slow to senile laptop.  As I posted yesterday though I have in the last few days managed to get PTE running on my iMac and have even created my first audio visual slideshow with the software.

This morning I carried on working through the tutorials I purchased and in need of something to practice with I remembered the Hartlepool folder. I had prepared a selection of images when I first bought PTE and luckily these were still on an external drive. Whilst working on this second effort and working through the tutorials I evolved a provisional workflow:

  • Shoot images – keeping the proposed AV in mind and shooting plenty of options
  • Edit and process image files as normal
  • Resize images to aspect ratio of proposed AV (unless planning on animating them)
  • Copy all image files and proposed music track(s) into a dedicated folder
  • In PTE drop all images into the timeline
  • Using slide view rearrange into initial running order
  • Create animations as desired
  • Add in music track
  • Remove or reposition images as necessary
  • Tweak running times and positioning to work with the music
  • Export the masterpiece!

OK, this is a very simplified workflow and there’s lots that go into most of the bullet points but I like to be organised and knowing how I’m going to be managing a project helps me to make best use of time.

One thing that is clear to me is that running PTE to create what are effectively slideshows is a better choice than using Final Cut Pro (FCP). Not only is FCP a bit of an overkill but PTE is designed for one purpose and does it superbly well once you understand the principles. Some principles, such as using marks for the start and end points of transitions, are very similar and the logic learned in FCP is readily transferable to PTE.  I can see me using PTE to create the slideshow elements of my video diaries for example which I will continue to create in FCP.

Getting to grips with video and FCP has given me the impetus to explore the use of movement in my photography more and takes me back to the 1970s when I dabbled in audio visual using slide transparencies and two slide projectors. I will post the Hartlepool slideshow in a separate blog post once I’ve tidied it up.

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