Sexy Slideshows With Aperture

by Steve Simon

I often do presentations and I find that one of the most effective and entertaining way for you and your audience to digest a large number of images in a short time is to put your images to music.

Generallly, I like to have total control of the presentation and for years I have been creating audio slideshows using a software program called Live Slide Show. Then, after my slideshow is exported as a QuickTime movie, I drag and drop the QuickTime onto its own slide in Keynote. What’s really nice in Keynote, is when you advance to a slide with a QuickTime Movie the movie automatically launches, making for a slick and seamless presentation.

Aperture does have a slideshow function, but you can’t save said slideshow as a QuickTime movie. I’m hoping in the next version you can, but there are a lot of great things you can do when creating slideshows in Aperture.

More and more, I’m choosing to show my work directly from Aperture, and when I do a demo or teaching, it’s nice to be able to move directly into a slideshow with music, and Aperture accommodates nicely.

What’s nice in Aperture Slideshow, is the ability to create as many albums of images you want as separate shows, each with it’s own unique soundtrack. So during the course of a presentation, you can set the tone and the mood for a body of work with the right audio track selected from iTunes as a pre-set.

I first make an album with the images I want to be in the show and I put them in order. Then, when I click on Slideshow, a dialog box and pulldown menu appears. I choose Edit in the pulldown menu which brings me to a bunch of options for the show.

1. Choose Edit Slideshow.jpg
Scroll down to edit and reveal the host of options below.
2. Slideshow options.jpg

This is where you can determine the look of the show, the music to play, and save these directions as pre-sets. I have chosen to keep a consistant look using the traditional dissolve from one slide to the next and my first soundtrack pick is Coldplay’s “In My Place”.

First quick on the + sign at the bottom of the preset window and then call it whatever you want. I label presets by song title which makes sense for me, particularly if I want to use the same music for different presentations.

After I choose a bunch of different songs from my iTunes playlists and make them presets, I make sure the “play music during slideshow” checkbox is checked. Then, when I go to an album of photos and click slideshow, I simply scroll through the dropdown menu to the song I want to play with the images and in seconds, the slideshow begins.

Just make sure that Aperture has rendered the previews for those images beforehand, so when you click on the slideshow and preset, the show starts almost immediately. Otherwise, you and your audience have to wait for Aperture to render the previews, leaving you to tap dance during the awkward silence while the progress bar slowly makes it’s way from start to finish.

Once these presets are created and the previews are rendered, it’s quick and easy to show different bodies of work from within Aperture, each with it’s own unique piece of music. If either no image or a single image is selected in a project or album, the slideshow displays all images in the current album or project.

Another nice feature is having Aperture fit the slides to the music, for nicely coreagraphed shows. But choose a track keeping in mind the number of images in your show. Choosing a three minute song over a six minute one means your images will be up on screen for half the time, and you want the pacing to be fast enough to keep the audience interested, but slow enough to appreciate the work.

I find that a 3 or 4 second per slide pace works well. So if you were showing 50 slides and wanted to “fit slides to music” then 50 times 4 seconds equals 200 seconds or a three minute and change tune.


2007-12-07 04:43:20
I find it a hassle getting aperture to present slideshows on my projector from my laptop....have to arrange windows on my systempreferences to make the projector the main display before the show, then switch it back after...that should be a no brainer, that the slideshow would be presented on the projector, not the laptop.
definately not your usual Apple elegance....
2007-12-07 06:57:34
I don't like it, that Aperture uses only Preview-JPG's for display.

First of all, I don't have Previews for all my Projects. Then I'll have to increase the quality slider to at least 9 to have a decent look on a 23" ACD or 24" iMac. Otherwise you'll easily see JPG artifacts, especially in the skies.

There's a lot to improve there for Apple and future versions of Aperture.

Also: how do you fit the slideshow to the music? I don't see any button for this in the menu.

random bob, a.r.c.
2007-12-07 08:35:38

Manually. You do the math (like Steve did at the end, "50x4=200 =3+minutes").

steve simon
2007-12-08 05:59:54
Under "Timing" there's a pull down menu that lets you fit the slides to the music.
2007-12-10 11:12:42
Steve: Thanks a lot, excellent. I was looking for a flag-button somewhere in the Music-Section.

But my rant goes on: why can't I select only one song at a time (or a whole playlist)? I want to select 3 or 4 songs and not put them in a new playlist everytime.