Pictures To Exe


While some folk are new to Pictures To Exe and taking things slowly, others are ploughing ahead and have a number of questions about very specific stuff. I include below some of the questions I have recently been asked:

1. How do you change the music, and how does it affect the overall timeline?
2. Please explain all the stuff about ratios again, you mentioned 4:3, 16:9 and 16:10 and then you mention pixels, 1920×1080 (full HD) and also 1920×1200, I am confused!
3. How do you get the images to a smaller size, with out losing screen display quality? (My PTE exe is 150MB and I can’t upload this…)
4. I have stitched together a number of photos to create one big letter box. But when I try to put it in PTE, it shows the full width and makes the height very small. How do I show the full panorama?

Friday 29th July 2011 – Clubnight


It was Velia’s turn tonight to be first in the line for assistance. She brought along her lovely shiny new Samsung laptop on which she has a folder of photos. Her initial hope was to transmit them by email to England to her son, however this was not possible as we don’t have access internet here in our clubroom. On examination of the folder of photos, it turned out that there was a total of 417mb of files, an impossible sized attachment for Hotmail.
I transferred the files via a memory stick to the main club computer and on Mark and John’s advice, used Freestone Image resizer to reduce the batch size to about 8mb.
A little bit of guidance from John on attaching the files to Hotmail and Velia was happy.

Standing on the sidelines patiently was Anthony, fresh from his recent graduation, with a zoom lens. His problem was that his lens didn’t autofocus on his camera. I tried it on my Canon 40D and confirmed that it wouldn’t autofocus, although I didn’t get an error message as he had. The conclusion was that the lens/camera contacts needed cleaning using a cotton bud and some Eclipse cleaning fluid. Most likely there was an electrical contact problem.

Mike once again treated us to cherry cake at tea break. Thanks Mike, and of course Julie and Shirley for tea and coffee.
Julie put forward her Pictures to Exe slideshow. We had a minor glitch with only the PTE project file being available. However we showed her, on he laptop, how to create the Exe file, and having done that, ran it. She had beautiful photos of a cello, interspersed with images of sheet music. Altogether it was an excellent effort. Well done. An interesting fact emerged that the replacement cost of a cello bow was £3000. The cello itself cost £6000. Wow. You could buy a couple of top of the range Canons and Lenses for that sum!

Julie said that she didn’t have enough photos to fill the music time thus the repeat of some of the sheet music images. We suggested that she could lengthen the slide interval as well as introduce dissolves from a partially desaturated image to a full colour version of the same image. Inserting a semi-opaque small image of the sheet music then dissolving back to the full cello image would add extra images and make it flow a bit smoother.

After tea, I demonstrated ,in Photoshop 7, how to create overlaid images using multiple layers and snap-to guides and by selectively switching layers on and off, you could save each for the web and create a sequence, always remembering to save the whole file as a Photoshop PSD file.

We critiqued members photos from memory sticks and I ran part of an AV showing the Alhambra Palace at Grenada, Spain. I explained that this was done several years ago before I cottoned on to producing short AVs.

Gerry Coe brought in hardback and soft back copies of his Blurb Photobook with photos taken on his iPhone. Finally, I had to admit that I had jumped ship from PC to iMac today, but for you Nikoners, I’m staying with Canon.

In conclusion, a great night was had by all.

Wednesday 27th July 2011 – Clubnight


Today was a really warm day, just as summer days should be.
Julie and Cooperman were at the clubroom ahead of me tonight. Julie was excited that she had successfully completed two Pictures to Exe AVs and placed her memory stick first in the lineup for showing.
We had a new visitor tonight, Alli. I spent some time with her, as we do, to explain what the club is and what we do.
Julie has set herself the task of taking a photo of her son indoors using pop-up flash and trying to achieve a black background. She was inspired by a video we viewed several weeks ago.

I couldn’t turn up the video for her again, but will do so for Friday night.
Mark kindly started the session tonight displaying members photographs for critique.

Bill showed us his Audio Visual of a military motorcycle display team in action. There followed lots of other photos from Helen, Michael, Mark, Henry. When it came to Julie’s turn, it seems that whilst she saved the PTE project, she didn’t create the complete Exe file. This resulted in an error message stating that the music and picture files couldn’t be found. Mark demonstrated the method of creating the Exe file and also the need to create the Zip file to allow transport of the whole project and files to another computer. I asked Mark to replay his Alaska Av again. Later he showed his AV which comprised of Landscape coloured photos with square cropped black and white.

After the tea break, I loaded up PTE again and showed how I synchronised manually, the beat or crescendos in the music with a slide change. This is achieved by firstly, thoroughly listening to your music beforehand and then in PTE, clear the time line and as the music is played, clicking on the New Transition button. No doubt this requires a number of attempts to perfect and maybe a bit of tweaking afterwards. David Best suggested that this can often be easier if the song has words.

Some people wanted to know how to create the multi-layered approach to slide blending. Maybe we will try this in Photoshop Elementas on Friday evening.

Guide Dog Photoshoot – Tuesday 26th July 2011


We had another photoshoot this afternoon as part of the creation of next year’s calendar for Guide Dogs Northern Ireland.
First off was Dotty with her handler, Eilish. Dotty was a very quiet and obedient dog which gave Harry no grief. She was a black Labrador. A large proportion of the shots were of Eilish and Dotty together. There were some really good portrait shots, and of course great close-ups of the dogs’s face. The last shots were of the family group.

Later we had Sarah with her charming little boy, Shobby, and dog Nemo, a golden Labrador. Shobby was really the centre of attraction with his blue shirt and brightly coloured schoolbag. He really wanted to be in every shot!
Again a variety of poses were shot although Nemo looked a little bored by the whole affair and just wanted to lie with his head flat on the ground, thus the majority of his photos were in that mode.
As a final set Sarah, Shobby and Nemo walked slowly across the set to give a shot showing them on the way to school.
Harry used his new Canon 60D with 18-135 lens. I was impressed with the sharpness. Unfortunately DSLRRemote did not recognise the 60D so we used EOS Utility Remote which was just as good.

Perhaps we will see some of the photos on Wednesday night.

Friday 22nd July 2011 – Clubnight


Slightly smaller turnout tonight.

Mike was early as usual and I took the opportunity to go outside with him and explain the use if his 70-300mm Zoom lens, particularly the fact that when fully zoomed, it becomes difficult to handhold if the shutter speed is too low. I explained that it is recommended that the minimum shutter speed needs to be in the range of the inverse of the max zoom, in his case 1/450 (i.e. 300mm x 1.5 crop factor of the Nikon). He took a shot of a distant wind turbine rig out in Belfast Lough at a relatively slow shutter speed, then we set up on Aperture Priority mode at F9 and shutter speed of 1/500. The resultant photo was much sharper. I also explained the sometimes he may have to compromise on his ISO setting if the light was poor. In the present scene there was plenty of bright light.

Back inside, the usual hubbub of folks chatting, could be heard. Helen and Julie closed in on the computer and I attempted to solve Julies problem with attaching music files to Pictures to Exe slideshows. Hopefully she now understands. (Breaking News. She’s just notified me that she’s solved it.) Helen has still the limited trial version.

Peter has produced an excellent Audio Visual of his recent travels in Tuscany, Italy. It contained stunning shots and all were captivated by his photos of poppy fields. Following the showing, we gave good feedback on some minor points picked up by more experienced PTE’rs. Detailed discussion took place on the issue of correct registration of portrait formatted photos to ensure that there is no slide to slide mis-alignments.
Mark suggested that they should all be in one multi-layered psd, using lowered opacity to re-position and by switching on the appropriate layers and “Saving for Web”, good registration could be achieved.
On the other hand, one could take the scattered photo approach by adding a photo and fading the underlying photos.
I had a re-run of an AV made several years ago. It was of a trip to Barcelona. This AV showed the scatter effect for portrait format and also the synchronisation of the beginning of each bar in the music, particularly with music which has a strong beat pattern.

Mark and others offered complete PTE projects for new users to examine and pick up the tricks and techniques.

As a roundup, Cooperman had us wringing out our hankies at his AV showing tears. Can’t remember the title, but I’m sure someone will comment and remind me.

I spoke to Mark at the end and suggested that he could become a contributor to my (our) Blog. Depending on how it works out, I may well open it to others.

Next Wednesday, we’ll have a full session on PTE as so many have now purchased the program.

Wednesday 20th July – Clubnight


Wow, what a rowdy night!!

Julie was first in followed closely by Mike.  Mike very kindly brought us a lovely lemon cake for our tea break.   We certainly aren’t used to this sort of fare of an evening.  Julies mission was to capture my attention regarding the installation of the Lame encoder file into the Audacity folder.   She brought along her laptop and we had it installed in a couple of minutes into the root folder of Audacity which resides in the Programs folder.

We also covered the method of transferring(ripping)  tracks from her CD into her music library as MP3 format files.    Her intention was to use them as musical accompaniment to her Pictures to Exe slide shows.   We look forward to seeing her results.

A couple of minutes were spent outside with Mike and Julie demonstrating the use of a grey card whilst in Manual mode and with the viewfinder filled with grey card view, adjusting either the speed or aperture till the metering pointer was zeroed.   Julie took several test shots and saw the benefits.

Back inside, it became apparent that we had problems displaying photos on our projector.   Somehow the lead had become disconnected from the graphics card.  Mark kindly set about restoring things.

Part way through the evening we thought that war had broken out when Cooperman announced that we would be having a guest speaker on Friday (Alan McMorris) who was going to demonstrate High Speed photography.   The aim was to capture a woman with her mouth shut.   Can you imagine the uproar that followed.  Of course it was all said in good fun and banter and not at all meant to be sexist.

Mark Allen kindly commented on this blog and recommended that members use the comments facility to give direct feedback on what they would like to be discussed or demonstrated in future sessions. He said that this blogging method is nearer to the objective of a little community than Facebook or Flickr.

The promised Freebies were revealed and were snapped up.   There were two quite substantial laptop carry bags and a Wacom Graphics Tablet on offer.

William Ireland’s son came along tonight and I demonstrated the Sony Nex 5 camera to him.   He in turn produced a unique little camera which can be used underwater or attached to a bike, skateboard or whatever.   It takes quite decent 5mp photos as demonstrated later in the evening.

Once again we had our usual photo critique and Michael’s zoo photos were outstanding.

Thanks again to Shirley and Julie and Helen for tea.

Don’t forget., feedback would be welcome.