There are advantages and disadvantages with creating a video + stills slideshow in Lightroom. The advantages are that you don’t have to learn how to use another piece of software, and you can save on time spent exporting and moving files over to another program. It’s also fairly easy to do and far less intimidating or time consuming than film editing software. The disadvantages are that you lose some control over the timing of your slideshow, and it’s very difficult to time the pictures and video exactly to the music. Also you can only trim your video clips in one spot which means you absolutely must shoot in short video clips, otherwise you will miss out on a lot of video that you could have used. If you want more control over the exact pace of each photo and video you should look at using something like iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, etc. For my family films I like to use Premiere Pro.
That said, Lightroom is a fantastic tool to use to quickly put together a slideshow with video from a documentary session that your clients will absolutely love. So here is a quick 10 step guide on how to do it:
1. Import your photo’s & videos together in one folder. Go through your normal workflow, edit, and export the images you want to give to your client.
2. Flag and edit the photos you intend on using for the slideshow.(if you already used flags in your initial workflow you may want to use stars here, I’ve used three stars for my photos and videos). Choose one of the photos and crop to 16×9. Select all of your flagged photos, click on sync, untick all the boxes except for “aspect ratio”, and click synchronize. Double check each photo that the crop looks ok and adjust as needed.
3. In the Library module in grid mode (press G on your keyboard) click on “attribute” and then on the far right beside the word “kind”, click on the video icon to view your videos. Flag and edit the videos you intend on using for the slideshow.
4. Edit your videos in the Library module using the same presets you used for your photos (if you didn’t use presets, create one based off of one of the photos you edited). On the right side of the screen click the box next to “Saved Preset” and you will see all of the presets you have been using for your photos. Underneath this area, you can also adjust your White Balance and Exposure by clicking on the arrows until you get it just right. The idea is to match the videos to your stills as much as possible. You can sync your adjustments by selecting the videos you want and clicking “sync settings”.
5. In Library mode, double click on your video clip to bring it up to play. Trim the clip by clicking on the circle to the far right on the play bar and then drag the bars on the left and right to trim the clip to the exact amount you want. IMPORTANT TIP: Your video clips should be very short – between 2-5 seconds long for the most part, unless there is an action in the clip that needs to be completed.
6. Go to the Slideshow module and click on the flag at the bottom right to show only flagged photos and video. On the right side, un-tick everything except for “ending screen”, “identity plate”, and “audio”. Click on the box under identity plate to upload your logo and scale as needed, and adjust the colour beside “ending screen” to match your logo. This will be the last slide that plays at the very end. You can also choose to add a beginning slide to your slideshow but I’ve chosen to start with just video.
7. Click on Select Music to add the track you’ve chosen, and then adjust the audio balance to wherever suits you best. I have mine set just slightly closer to video which means the audio from each of your clips will play slightly louder than the music. If you don’t want to hear the audio from your clips, drag it all the way to music.
8. Set your slides to 1.0 sec – the quicker the better. Check that the length of time for your slides (bottom right, above the filter options) is exactly (or close to) the length of time for your song.
9. Click on Preview or Play and watch your slideshow and adjust as needed. It may take awhile to build the preview the first time so grab a drink and come back to it.
10. Tweak and adjust as needed. It takes some practice to get things right, and you may need to take out some photos or add some photos to get the balance right for the song you’ve chosen. You can also drag and drop to reorder the photos. Once you’re happy click “Export Video” on the far left, and choose 1080p next to Video Preset.
And you’re done!
A quick note on music:
I purchase my music from The Music Bed (www.musicbed.com). There are lots of music libraries out there to purchase music from, but the most important thing is to make sure you do purchase music and have a licence to use it.
And here is the stills + video slideshow I made using this method. Enjoy! View later by visiting it on my Vimeo channel.
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.