Photography tips

Just want some advice so I don't have to do as much experimenting and waste so many DVD's

I have my camera set to take Fine pictures of medium size.  They come out to be about 2.5 megabyte file size.  I want to cut that down so that they are about 1 meg.
I can do that by changing the settings on my camera..(that I'm still learning how to use)...
When I am done with these pics and get them on my computer, they will be changed to a slide show video in wma format at 720 x 536 pixels (which is a very slow process).

My question is, generally speaking, would I be better off to decrease the size, or decrease the quality if I had to make a choice of 1 or the other.

In other words...should I change the size from medium to small, or should I change the quality from fine to normal?...

I'm guessing that I should leave the size like it is and decrease the quality to be sure I can get the 720 x 536 screen size that I need without it being fuzzy, but I'm not sure.  This is probably not enough information to be able to answer accurately, but I'm mainly just looking for reccomendations on which I should try first.  It is so very slow to make the slide show movie, then burn it to dvd format, that if it works right with the first way I try, then I won't even try it the other way, so I'm hoping to increase my chances by seeing what answers I get here...
By the way, in case it matters...this is not a digital is a Nikon D60 SLR camera


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Small, for the D60, is 1936 x 1296, which is still a good bit larger than you need. Fine refers to the image compression, which is a 1:4 ratio. Medium compression, on the D60, is a 1:8 ratio. If you are otherwise getting good quality images, you should have no problem with switching from your current Fine compression / Medium size settings to Medium compression / Small size. I would not go to JPEG Basic compression, which is 1:16.

I am also wondering about the workflow you are using to produce the slideshows. What software are you using, and what steps along the way?


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ahammarAuthor Commented:
Hi lHerrou,
Thanks for that info.  That is a great help to me.  So do you look up this info somewhere, or do you just know your cameras that well..:-)

I take the pics, then put them on my computer (and CD)
(which I forgot to mention these pics need to print in high quality on an 8 x 10 size), but I assume that if the settings you recommended will fill a tv screen and still look good, then they will print good too.
I also forgot to mention that I was talking about a 52" TV.  Using Fine compression and Medium size pictures, then saving them to the wma file at 720 x 536 looks pretty good, but the picture(file) sizes on my computer are to big, and that is part of what makes my software run so very slow.  It's not nearly as slow the smaller the file size is.

So my goal is to get the smallest file size possible, and still have it print crisp and clear at 8 x 10, and look good on the big screen TV.  So from what you've told me, I should be ok with the small size pics, and medium (which I assume is the normal setting since it's the next one down) compression.  That should decrease my file size a bunch.
Do you still agree with that now that I've told you the 2 parts I forgot to mention?

Back to the workflow..

I take the pics and get them on my computer.
I open up my software (AVS4YOU) and import the pictures into it.
Then I drag the pics into the time line (1 at a time, some at a time, or all of them at once to get the order that I want them to show in when the movie plays).  This takes a while if there are a lot of pics and they are big files)
Then I add the transition's between each picture.  There are a lot to choose from so if there are a lot of pics, I normally just use randomize and it inserts random ones between each picture.  Then I have to set the time for each pic and transition to display, but I can do them one at a time, or set them all at once. (This also takes quite awhile if there are lots of pics and they are very big).  Then I add music or whatever sound to the timeline.  I have to play around with the pic and music combination (number of pics, time to display..etc) if I need the song to end at the same time as the pics do, or at a certain pic when the next song starts or whatever....and everytime I change the display time of the pics (if I choose them all), it takes a very long time if there are very many and they are big files)
Once I get everything like I want, then I either choose to convert it to WMA at 720 x 536, or burn to dvd, or both.  I can't remember now if I have to choose the size when I burn to dvd or not, but I think so....Either way, both of these steps take a very long time the more pics there are and the bigger the file size is.  A guess would be:
To convert to WMA at 720 x 536...using
100 pics at 1 meg size set to display for 8 seconds with
Transitions between each one for 2 seconds

about 2 hours.  That doesnt' count all the time for setting it up which would probably be about 4 hours or so.  Like I said, it takes a long time putting these pics on a time line, and each time I change the display time, there is another hour or so...and there is usually around 400  pics, so you can see that this is very slow and is about a 2 day process at least.

I can decrease my time a LOT just by having smaller file sizes.  It goes by quite a bit faster with smaller file sizes (I've figured that much out).  I want to get it to where I can do 400 pics in 4 or 5 hours total from the time I get them on my computer till the time I have a completed slide show .wma movie

Considering I am fairly new at this and haven't done very many yet, and I am learning as I go, I think that is a goal I can shoot for.

So your info gives me a good experimental starting point and will save me a LOT of time in trial and error (and it's what I was hoping to hear).
Thank you sooooooooo much.

Now that you've read this book (if you did, I wouldn't blame you if you didn't), does it sound like the settings you suggested will work ok...they will defineately decrease the file size a lot and after you explanation, it sounds to me like they should work fine.  I will eventually be selling these pics and videos, and there is no second chance at taking the pics (such as my first wedding next month).  People will be relying on me to do a good job, so I have to get it right the first time as far as the camera settings go.  I"m trying to go semi-professional (with no schooling I might add) and learn this stuff on my own.


Well, given your need for printing 8 X 10s, I take back what I said about the settings. I would stay at Medium size and Fine compression. Instead, I would consider reducing the image sizes before starting the video production process. What software are you using to manipulate the photos, Photoshop?
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ahammarAuthor Commented:
I'm not doing any photo manipulating (yet) except I did use Microsoft Office Picture manager to make all the  pics smaller the last time I did this (they were originally someone elses pics that were 4 meg file size and I reduced them down to 1 meg).  It did a good job, so maybe I'll have to continue doing that like you said.  I have done some picture manipulation with "Capture NX2"  which is the software that Nikon gave with the camera (seems quite advanced too but it should be for the price after the trial runs out [$180.00 I think it was]), but I think that will only have to be a select few pics.  I haven't actually took any pics that I have used to make a slideshow movie yet, but I'm going to.  I needed a good starting point though and you sound like you know what you are talking about, so untill I learn otherwise, I'll keep the settings I have and use software to reduce their size after I get them saved to a CD.  I think I'll try reducing them down to about 600 or 700 k though and see how that turns out.
Sound like a good starting point to try?

ahammarAuthor Commented:
Thanks for your help.  That was good info to know!
Well, what I would suggest is using software that can run a batch, so that you can drop the images into a folder, run the batch process on them, and not have to worry about it. You could take a look at IrfanView for this - it has pretty good batch processing capabilities, and it's free -
ahammarAuthor Commented:
Hi lherrou,
Thanks for that added info.  I downloaded IrfanView and checked out a little bit.  I like the way it reduces picture sizes quickly.  I was also able to get it to make a decent slide show just playing around with it a little bit, but I don't see where I can add transitions between the pics, which is a nice touch to the show.  So I did a little experimenting and this is the process I came up with so far..

When I save a project in my software, it does not actually save the pictures, but only the locations of the pictures on my when I open a project it just reloads the pics again.  That does cause problems in that I can't move or rename pics if they are part of a project...
Anyway, I put a bunch of my pics into a folder on my desktop....then made a copy of that folder, so now I have 2 folders with identically named pics.  Then I used IrfanView to reduce the pictures in one of the folders down to really small 100 kb or so.  I load the small pics into my software  and manipulate them, add transitions, sound and all that stuff, get it all the way I want it to be presented...which isn't to bad working with these tiny files.  After I have the project like I want it, I save the project and close the software.  Then I replace the tiny pics with the originals (that are still very large), then open up my software again and open up my project.  It doesn't know the difference that I've replaced the pics with the large files now because they all still have the same name and location as when I saved the project, the pics are just bigger, so it loads them all up (although it is quite a bit slower loading) and all the timing, transitions, music, text I've added or whatever other stuff I've done is still all the same.  Now I convert it to wma, or burn to dvd or whatever.  This converting process is still very slow and takes 3 hours or so, but I can walk away and do whatever during this time.
I haven't experimented a lot with this idea, but a little bit and I looks like it will work.

You've saved me a lot more time than you probably think, so I thank you again.  I would never had known (or at least not without much more experimenting) that I needed to keep my current camera settings for the 8 x 10  prints, or what those settings you told me even mean.

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