Divide and conquer
For multi-day, and especially multi-destination trips, making multiple small shows works well. Even if it’s just family, it’s hard for people to stay interested in a slide show of more than 10 minutes, maybe 20 at most. One way to keep to that is to break the trip into pieces, maybe by day or location, whatever makes sense and keeps the length reasonable. Just remember that each of those shows is now a story, too, with a beginning, middle and end.
One of the coolest things we can now do with slide shows is easily add music and sound effects. Like everything, if it’s overdone it can be horrible distraction, but done well it becomes a powerful reinforcement for the story. It works for movies, it will work for your slide shows, too.
Side note with a little brain science.
There are good reasons why music enhances our experience with a movie or a slide show. Our brains process music very differently than the visual input. While visual input is most important* the sound is a powerful reinforcement for memory and connects very strongly to emotional responses. Exactly why that’s so isn’t well understood, but the truth of it is something nearly all* of us feel immediately. Be careful with the selection of music–picking the right track will reinforce the emotion but something else might set up conflicting emotions. Just trust your own brain, if it feels right, it probably is.
When I do a slide show I always work out all the visuals first then add the music as nearly the last step. Adding the music is, for me, one of the hardest parts of the whole thing. I rarely use vocal tracks because I find the words distracting, but sometimes I’m sure it would work great. Finding just the right piece to use, the right length, pace and mood is tricky and rather time-consuming. Sometimes the general idea is obvious–no surprise what I kind of music I used for big pieces of the show about our trip to Hawaii, or the one to Australia either. But even then, a lazy, quiet scene on the beach needs something really different from what I’d want behind pictures taken at a sports event even if it was in Hawaii.
Sound effects are, for me, used very sparingly. But somehow that shot of the kids in the go-kart just has to have a proper sound for it! I tend to use them to reinforce something surprising or amusing in the pictures and otherwise avoid it. You might feel differently about it and that’s okay, too, it is after all your show and you’ll get the kudos or suffer the ‘slings and arrows’ of your audience. 😉
Go make some slide shows!
I hope this will inspire you go get some vacation photos and make a slide show. If you’ve never done it, give it a shot. It’s not hard and it can be fun–the only danger is that some folks find the whole, highly creative experience rather addicting!
And if you’re not a ProShow user and decide to try it, you should also know that there’s a fantastic by-users, for-users forum all about it that I think is one of friendliest places on the net and a big reason I stuck with ProShow after I tried it a few years ago.
In any case, have fun!
*Note: for some very readable material on brain science, I highly recommend Dr. John Medina’s book, Brain Rules, it’s on my bookshelf. For some fascinating material about music and the brain don’t miss Oliver Sacks’ book, Musicophilia, where you’ll learn that there are a few people who can’t hear music at all.