In defense of the slide show....

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by ted_norris, May 22, 2007.

  1. If the availability of slide film locally is any indication, the slide show as either an art form or a family
    experience must be nearly dead. Whereas for a professional, the ultimate aim of the photograph is the
    print, for amateurs (of all levels) it need not be. I am continually struck by the qualitatively different impact
    that a well-projected slide has relative to a print or to a picture on a monitor. It has a "you-are-there"
    quality the others just don't. Am I alone in this ?
    I seem to be, except for my non-photographer wife (who considers digital photography carried out on a
    computer to be somewhat antisocial - people tend not to gather 'round the monitor to share
    photographs), and my 6-year old (who can't get excited about any print or computer image for more than
    a few seconds, but for whom watching slides is an enthralling and interactive experience, as she re-lives
    all the places we've been). One way to enhance the impact of a photograph is to make it BIG !
     
  2. If you haven't sat down in front of a reasonably well put together on-screen show in something like HD format on Uncle Bob's 52" plasma display with some nice music in the background... it can be pretty compelling, actually. But just like you have to know how to make the most of the slide format and media, you do need to know how to best prep yourself a DVD for NTSC or 1080p, etc. The difference? I can crank off another copy of that DVD and send one to Aunt Sally, where cousin Jimmy can show her how to pop it in her DVD player... which he can also pop into his Playstation, or XBox, or a laptop to show Dad while he's in the hospital recovering from the broken leg he got while hotdog-skiiing on the very trip that you photographed. I have some pleasant memories of fussing with the trays on my Ricoh projector... but not many, compared to all of the other ways I can quickly share good quality versions of the same images with family spread all over the country (or the world)... for the cost of a $1 blank DVD or via the 'net.
     
  3. there was an interesting article in the Washington Post, 2004.11.25
    "Chuh-Click. Sunset. ---Last Kodak projector manufactured"
    posted in usenet and may be still available through Google cache
     
  4. "except for my non-photographer wife (who considers digital photography carried out on a computer to be somewhat antisocial - people tend not to gather 'round the monitor to share photographs), and my 6-year old (who can't get excited about any print or computer image for more than a few seconds, but for whom watching slides is an enthralling and interactive experience, as she re-lives all the places we've been). One way to enhance the impact of a photograph is to make it BIG !"

    I AGREE!!

    Projected old Kodachromes RULE within my clan. Too many at one time or of one subject can be boring. Chit-chat over prints is not the same as full group bantering about cousins growing up and ......... the projected image seems better than a computer image, and cheaper. Regards.
     
  5. Just a couple of summers ago I attended a fantastic seminar that featured Bruce Dale (http://www.brucedale.com/) and Steve McCurry (http://www.stevemccurry.com/) both of whom are Masters Masters! And their images were projected on perhaps a 20x16 ft. screen for the 120 odd attendees. That said, Bruce displayed images using digital projection and Steve 35mm slides. The Bruce digital show was organized, succinct, always in-focus, but viewing his wonderful images were as if looking through a porch screen! The Steve slide show was often off-focus, sometimes fickle, but OMG the image quality was SO superior!

    Then again, if you have never watched a 6x4.5 or 6x7 slide show, then in truth you have never enjoyed a REAL slide show! HD digital displays better than 6x7 slide, NOT! Just MHO.
     
  6. Every year at a convention that I attend (NSS2007.com is this year?s) there is a Thursday night slideshow. In this show we project onto 2 16x16 screens. There are at least 5 professional cave photographers, people who make their livings shooting, and sometimes dozens of accomplished amateurs presenting to 500-1500 attendees.

    In past years, we actually used slides even for the titles. These slides were meticulously hand created by our professional presenter. Two years ago we started the transition to digital, as they no longer manufacture the slides that we used for titles. The first Slide and Digital salon was a virtual catastrophe as the projectors were not adequate. But leave it to technology to catch up quickly.

    This last year (2006) when I ran the acquisition of equipment, I managed to convince Epson to contribute two of their highest quality digital projectors. We also had the largest number of entries in the salon in recent years because digital wasn't just allowed it was actively encouraged.

    The film slide projectors were slow, and since we had a short throw on stage, the lenses offered slight distortion that required some focusing (they were run by a very accomplished professional). The digital projectors on the other hand were crystal clear and offered no problems at all. The professional photographers all swore they were entering their slides in digital format next time.

    As for family slide shows, I use a Media PC, hooked into my 60" high-def plasma and the slideshow only stops when I go to bed or actually want to watch television. It takes me 5 mintues to set it up, and there is no chance of melting an irreplaceable slide (not that any of my photos are so important to be irreplaceable).

    I would certainly argue that the slide show is not only alive, but is about to have a renaissance, the theme's are the same, only the presentation is different.

    Now about those sticky paged photo albums...
     
  7. Clearly the sheer image quality of projecting from transparencies, 35mm or larger, is
    superior to any digital technology available today. Yet technology is bound to catch up.
    Besides other advantages of digital projection described above, any photojournalist can
    tell you that "the slide show" as a genre is currently undergoing a HUGE comeback - on the
    websites of newspapers all around the world. Photojournailsts now carry audio equipment
    in addition to still cameras and produce silde shows with sound for the web edition of
    their respective publications. Great examples can be found in the online archives of the
    NYTimes and other papers. Or check out the audio slide shows on Magnum's site. While
    projecting
    digitally may compromise image quality (especially color accuracy), digital slide shows with
    synchronized ambient sound and interviews can be powerful and complelling - adding
    another layer of meaning.
     
  8. Very interesting and insightful comments above! I really like film projection and have kodachrome slides from many years ago that have remained quite stable color-wise. At this point, I don't know if anyone knows if digitally produced images will have an extended lifetime. In 1998 I got into medium format photography (Hasselblad and a Kindermann projector). The projected images are truly outstanding in terms of color, clarity, depth, etc. Viewers are always impressed. However, the preparation of transparencies in glass mounts is quite labor intensive. And setting up the projector and screen and feeding the slides into the machine (in a darkened room) can be a little cumbersome. Having said all this, I've gotten into digital photography and seen how well images look on a high definition TV. Not as good, in visual terms, as medium format film projections (or perhaps 35mm) but improving all the time. I'm really glad to hear that slide presentations are making a come-back. I hope to continue with film and learn more about digital - thus having the best of both worlds!
     
  9. I have seen PowerPoint slide shows set to music that overwhelmed the audience. Using the MS PowerPoint advanced animations in combination w/ transitions can produce an exquisite show comparable to video.
     
  10. Projecting a 3x4 lantern slide makes a decent image; an ancient backdrop tool for plays and movies
     
  11. A great posting! No digital image, from the most expensive DSLR and viewed on the best state of the art display, can compare to the color, resolution or overall impression of an image on Velvia, Provia, or VS. It is unfortunate that so many folks buy into the convenience at the price of quality. But no doubt, these are the same people that bought "the cheapest" print film they could find and had it processed at their local drug store.
     
  12. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Most slide shows over the years suffered from lousy images, regardless of Velvia, Provia, etc., and the world has been greatly improved by the replacement of projected slide shows by the ease of browsing on the web. Unlike the prior poster, I would rather view great photographs than ones made with a specific medium.
     

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