Presentation Power; Tips On Projectors, With A Focus On The Epson Line-Up Page 2
Bantam Weight And Wireless
If you are a road warrior or make a lot of presentations away from your studio, Epson's two newest XGA resolution projectors both weigh in at less than half the heft of the 81p. They are the Epson PowerLite 732c (3.8 lbs, $1899) and the wireless/PC-free PowerLite 737c (3.9 lbs, $2099) (#4). Both models achieve brightness ratings of 2000 ANSI lumens, while maintaining sleek, travel-friendly designs. At 7.6x10.9x2.7", they are slim and compact enough to carry in most briefcases or shoulder bags, and include multiple connectivity options as well (#5). For those times when you can't center the projector vertically, these models offer an impressive +/-30Þ digital keystone correction.
Wireless And Laptop-Free Road Shows
The PowerLite 737c takes advantage of 802.11g internal WiFi technology, enabling users to upload or run presentations wirelessly via both 802.11 "b" or "g" with wireless streaming of video content. According to Epson, these two models are the industry's only projectors to offer wireless compatibility with Apple's Keynote software and are also the only projectors of their kind to offer both LEAP authentication and WEP/WPA for secure, encrypted wireless transmissions. Proprietary firmware also gives you the ability to run slide shows, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, and MPEG-2 videos without a PC, using the projector's built-in PCMCIA and USB slots via storage devices such as USB memory, external hard drives, or directly from digital cameras. Furthermore, slide shows can be controlled by the projector either manually or with automatic/timed advancement, and color temperatures and individual settings for red, green, and blue can be adjusted to the user's personal preferences.
Slide Show Software
Once you've settled on the projector that's right for your needs, it's time to consider slide show software options. Microsoft's PowerPoint has become a standard for corporate presentations at home and on the road. A very full-featured program available for both Windows and Mac, it offers a wealth of options but is geared heavily toward presenting text and charts. For example, it only took me a couple of minutes with PowerPoint templates to create a dynamite title slide with color gradients and two text boxes for a show of a recent Mexico shoot (#6). However, I then had to manually bring in each photo and set parameters for each again and again. With Keynote (Mac only) on the other hand, all I had to do was drag in a folder of pictures from iPhoto and the program automatically set them up in order for the slide show. Keynote also offers a wealth of templates and text options (#7). It is $80 as part of the iWork '05 package. PowerPoint is $210 alone, but is also included in Microsoft Office Professional. Both allow you to incorporate music, narration, and video into your presentation.
If you own Adobe's Photoshop CS or CS2, you can create PDF slide shows
through choosing File>Automate>PDF Presentation. Select the photos you
want and choose Presentation to generate a slide show. Options appear for transition
effects and timing, but you can't add sound. You can burn this slide show
to a CD or e-mail it to be viewed with free Adobe Reader software. As part of
Photoshop CS2, the new Adobe Bridge application (successor to the File Browser)
offers full screen slide shows from photos you've selected. The Bridge
also allows you to rank and edit images in this full screen mode, change magnification,
rotate, and show or hide captions.
If you use Extensis' Portfolio 7 to manage your photo archives, it includes a slide show feature. Put the images you want to include in the active gallery and choose to control the slide advance manually or at timed intervals up to 99 seconds. While there is no choice of transition effects, and no sound option, you can choose to show data on screen, such as the photo caption. Also, you can save any slide show as a stand-alone QuickTime movie and distribute it via the web or CD/DVD discs.
A really exciting slide show solution is Apple's iPhoto 5 (Mac only), the latest version of an extremely easy to use contender. It's free with new Macs, $80 otherwise (as part of the iLife '05 bundle). What any photographer will love is the Ken Burns effect which powerfully enlivens your still images by allowing you to move them across the screen, pan, and zoom in or out on them (#8). You can choose where the motion stops and starts for each image individually, and then play back the show automatically. While Keynote and PowerPoint don't offer pan and zoom effects, they and iPhoto 5 offer a wide array of transitions to choose from. Use these with a light touch and your audience will see and appreciate your photos and not the flashy effects. Also included with iLife '05, Apple's iMovie offers the Ken Burns effect, with even more control options.
In iPhoto 5, you can automatically time how long each picture is on the screen from 1-3600 seconds, or change manually by pushing the space bar and then arrow keys. When you do this, though, a translucent control palette floats over the bottom of the screen for a moment with each change. In contrast, with Keynote and PowerPoint, you can change slides manually easily with no annoying on-screen menu. But you don't have Ken Burns built-in. Seriously, this iPhoto 5 effect is a major breakthrough that really adds a powerful new dimension to your presentations. You can add sound, but to incorporate video, you need to transfer the slide show to iMovie.
Shop In Your Own Closet
Many digital asset management programs and other multimedia software include slide show options. Check out the software you are currently using. For example, Roxio's Toast (Mac) and MyDVD (Windows) offer slide show and movie options with zoom and pan effects. Toast 6's Motion Pictures software effects were good, but not quite as smooth as iPhoto's on my 3-year-old computer.
Armed with your digital slide show and one of these projectors, you are ready to present your photographs with unforgettable impact.