Getting in Sync with ProShow

Do you struggle syncing slide and sound? If you’re a newcomer to ProShow, no doubt you do, but be assured that ProShow veterans can also have problems.

I’ve put together tips, three example shows using 3 very different soundtracks, and a method for easing some of the syncing pain for both newcomers and old-timers.

Will it make you an instant expert? No. It gives you guidance. The rest is up to you.

Download for both Gold and Producer: Getting in Sync

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Published in: on May 24, 2013 at 11:36 am  Comments Off on Getting in Sync with ProShow  
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Go Gracefully between Songs in ProShow

Most songs are 3 or 4 minutes long, but our slide shows can run a whole lot longer, so we add multiple songs. Fading out the end of one song and fading in the beginning of the next can lead to a fade that sinks down into silence before the next song fades in. Very ungraceful. The solution is to overlap the end of the first and the beginning of the next song. Don’t be afraid to apply long fades–they’re far more graceful. For example, here’s where two songs meet:

Notice the flat line between the songs? The first song has a short stretch of silence at the end of it. It’s this kind of thing that makes supplying a formula for fade and overlap impossible, but if you look at the tracks, you’ll be able to take such things into account.

For this pair of songs, I found that using 10 seconds for the first song’s fade-out and the second song’s fade-in worked perfectly when combined with a -2 offset for the second song. Had the silence at the end of the first song been longer, I would have had to account for it, supplying a longer negative offset. Only our ears can tell us when something is right.

Here’s how I set song #1:

And here are song #2’s settings:

Listen for a gradual fading out, and before the first song is completely gone, the second song slowly fading in. You want neither silence nor abruptness.

You can do these adjustments directly in the soundtrack, but for me, the sound options screen is faster and more precise. How you do it is up to you.

Published in: on November 29, 2012 at 11:05 am  Comments (10)  
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Get ProShow Slides & Music in Sync

Trying to sync slides with music is a fiddly affair, particularly since we’re easily distracted by our pretty pictures and fancy transitions. Here’s a simple show of 24 color slides plus instructions for how to use it to find the beat and thus basic slide and transition durations. It’s not scientific, but after playing with various songs, I found it eases the pain of discovering just how long the basic slide plus transition should be. Having this knowledge when building the real show is a huge help.

Click the image to download the shows and instructions:

Tempo Calculator

Published in: on September 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm  Comments Off on Get ProShow Slides & Music in Sync  
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Don’t Fade the Music!

1. The sound fades out so slowly, so gently, that you don’t notice when the fade begins or ends. This is used in movies and TV to transition from mood-setting music into dialogue.

2. The final musical phrase is repeated, each iteration quieter than the last.

If there’s a third type of fade—not a sub-variety of one of the above two—please tell me about it.

You’re unlikely to have a situation calling for fade #1, and fade #2 sounds bad even when done professionally. The only reason you’re thinking about a fade is because you chose music that’s much too long for the show. Yes, it’s the perfect fit in every other way, but unless you can extend the show without boring anyone or unless you’re an expert musical surgeon and can extract parts of the song without folks noticing, you’ll do better finding a shorter piece.

I’ve said it before and will probably say it again in the future: Fading the music at the end sounds just like what it is—you ran out of show before you ran out of music.

Published in: on May 26, 2010 at 8:53 am  Comments (4)  
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Sound Solutions

ProShow doesn’t do the dishes and it can’t replace a real sound editor. I use Adobe Audition, but you can get an excellent and totally free editor by downloading Audacity . You’ll also need an MP3 encoder, which is a separate download with an interesting name: LAME.  You can start learning how to use Audacity by reading the  instructions online or downloading them to your computer.

On to common sound problems and their solutions.

There’s an annoying click at the start and/or end: Add a short bit of pure silence at the beginning and the end of the sound wave. My habit is to add 5 seconds at both ends because it’s usually more than enough. When you load the music into your slide show, you’ll immediately see that it begins 5 (or whatever) seconds after the show begins. Offset the sound by -5 (or whatever) seconds. If it’s just one song you’re using, allow the flat-lined silence at the end of the track to trail off beyond the end of the show. If you’re using two or more songs, overlap the silent end of one with the silent beginning of the next. I guarantee you’ll be clickless.

The fade is far too noticeable: This is because it isn’t anywhere near long enough. Yes, you can do fades in ProShow, but you’ve more control over them in a sound editor. In ProShow, test where you want the fade to begin, commit that spot to memory, and then do the real work in your editor where you aren’t forced to fade off into dead silence.  Sometimes it has a more natural feel to it if it fades out to just barely audible.

You want to stop the sound for one or more slides, then pick up again where the sound left off: One of the easiest ways to do this in a sound editor is to select the first part of the music and save the selection as a separate file, then save the second part as another separate file. Before you use the two files in a show, add enough silence to the end of the first part and the beginning of the second part so you can overlap them to head off any of the dreaded clicks.

The supposedly seamless loop isn’t so seamless: I haven’t tested the solution yet, but I have it on good authority that WAV files are much better loopers than MP3’s. It makes sense since a WAV file, being uncompressed, has all its faculties in good order.

Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 6:51 pm  Comments Off on Sound Solutions