Background music effect in a photographs slideshow

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by vale_surfer, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. Hi,
    I recently played a little music in the background while watching a slideshow of some of my pictures.
    It turned out that the music blended well with the overall theme of the images, but I was surprised by my reaction to the images I must have viewed hundreds of times before.
    I realized I was looking at very different parts of an image - corners, details I had never paid attention to. The music evoked a very different response inside of me, and on a few occasions I also felt a very noticeable tactile response. As if i had just touched the marble floor in a picture, for instance.
    I've always believed that background music provides an entirely different meaning to images but I was surprised by my reaction.
    anyone experienced this and has any comments?
  2. I've never liked "background music" with photographs. Likewise, I've never liked "background photographs" with music. I would like to
    experience and appreciate each on their own merits. Maybe it's just me, or I'm reacting to a few bad pairings, or I'm just feeling grumpy
    this morning.
  3. We start with individual photographs. By ordering them for a slide show, juxtaposing the images, we can change the impact of the individual images. The timing of the slide show impacts the images, so does the transition from image to image. Music is just one more element that can change how we view the individual images.
    I have put together several slideshows this spring for funerals/celebrations of life. I tend to get lost in the process and am always surprised when I finish and view the result. i see things I hadn't though of when mired in the creation of the show.
  4. Many of my photos now are saved on iPhoto. To watch them, there's a slideshow option, with available music to accompany them. So far, I haven't paid much attention to the music, and on occasion I've found it somewhat of any annoyance.
  5. I find background music improves slide shows especially if you can match the themes. Here are two examples I did.
  6. I love mixing unlikely flavor combinations in my cooking, and I don't usually finish with a neatly partitioned dinner plate. My different foods definitely touch each other and even get rather intimate before they dance around in my mouth. That said, I think I generally feel like Tom with regard to music + photography. I'll carve out some exceptions when I see music used to pace a presentation, with image changes often driven by the downbeat of each measure. It can be a compelling effect.
  7. Setting background music and foley work to visuals is a specialized skill and even paid professionals get it wrong as often as right in movies, TV shows and audio/visual productions. Same with script writing for narration. Too many narratives accompanying slide shows and videos were written to be read, not to be spoken.
    Most Ken Burns documentaries are little more than slide shows, relying heavily on pan, scan and zoom effects to enhance static images, often recycling the same photos and video/movie clips repeatedly. Yet those documentaries hang together well because the sound design and narrative are expertly done.
    In the less subtle, more music-video oriented vein, here are a few notable riffs on the slide show:
    • This video for David Alan Harvey's book (based on a true story) demonstrates the clever book design while using music that's appropriate for the location where the photos were taken.
    • The whimsical music for the video "Stop Motion with Wolf and Pig" underscores the clever concept of using hundreds of prints.
    • Olympus liked that above concept so well it swiped the idea in 2009 to promote their first digital PEN, the E-PL1, using thousands of photos to create a stop-motion video. In this case the lyrics of the indie hipster pop song are more overtly manipulative.
  8. Lex, I loved those stop-motion videos! Too cool! And yes, the music indeed contributes to (and is essential to) the presentation. :)
  9. Lex - yes, those stop-motion videos are really cool ! I wish i could experiment with that.
    wonder how the best film producers get their background music right....
  10. "wonder how the best film producers get their background music right...."​
    Lots and lots of work in post production.

    Check out the extras on the DVD for The Dark Knight. Director Christopher Nolan and composer Hans Zimmer spent a lot of time working out the musical concept, right down to the timing and build of specific sounds to accompany the opening sequence, and the "Why so serious?" catch phrase. If you don't have the DVD you can probably find the extras on YouTube. The Dark Knight is one of the great American pop culture movies for many reasons, not the least of which is the outstanding sound design, foley work and musical direction.

    Some directors have a good musical sensibility and will direct a scene to suit the tempo or mood of a song they may have in mind, even if that song never actually appears in the finished movie. A couple of notable music-oriented directors are David Lynch and John Carpenter. Lynch has collaborated with Angelo Badalamenti on many projects, and Lynch has produced his own music albums as well. While he's a terrible singer Lynch writes good songs and one sung by Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs is incredibly good (unofficial video for Pinky's Dream, but damned good). Carpenter has created the music for most of his horror and sci-fi movies.
    From a historical perspective, check out the work of Dimitri Tiomkin on High Noon. High Noon and The Exorcist were significant in revolutionizing sound design to underscore the overall themes of movies, as well as specific scenes. Even after the success of High Noon and critical acclaim for the music and sound, many movies continued to use little or no music or background music. But The Exorcist was a major game changer - the horror movie and movies in general were never the same again. Unfortunately too many movies fail to grasp the nuances of the sound design that made The Exorcist so effective.
    Finally, check out the public radio program Radiolab. The sound design is brilliant, particularly the early to mid episodes. Among the best is the Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" retrospective. My personal favorite is the "Musical Language" episode, particularly the "Sound is touch at a distance" segment. Without the brilliant sound design Radiolab would be just another radio show with talking heads and interviews. But co-host Jad Abumrad is a musician and brings a sensibility to radio that's often lacking. The material is more memorable because of the clever little audio things they do to punctuate certain phrases.
  11. Sometimes the combination is a perfect blend, like peanut butter and jam, like espresso with hot milk, like a harp and a flute...what I mean is that the pictures support the song or the music and the music supports the pictures. How could we separate this vocal from the series of family album photos. Or maybe I am sentimental when it comes to a family album empowered by memories. Check out this golden oldie on You Tube with vocal and guitar and bass. No I am not for big ensembles and crashing chords..Enjoy.

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