How to Digitally Archive and Share Historical Photographs, Documents, and Audio Recordings

Chapter 8. Creating Historical Slide Shows

Key Points.

·        Slide shows can provide a multimedia experience that is very effective for telling an historical story.

·        Zooming and panning photograph images can bring out historically significant information and make a slide show more dynamic.

·        Audio for slide shows can include narrative about the story or about the content of individual photographs, historical music that sets an appropriate emotional tone, and sound effects relevant for a photograph.

·        Slides with text can provide information about the story.

·        Captions on photograph images can identify key people and events, and note significant details that might be overlooked. This type of information is important for an historical slide show.

·        The display of slides and the type and duration of transitions between slides for an historical slide show for diverse audiences should be simple and consistent, and done in a way that older people can absorb the information.

·        An interesting historical slide show for general audiences will usually be 20 minutes or less. Five to fifteen minutes may be optimal.

·        For the slide show output video, optimal display size, format, and data rate are very different for a DVD, for the internet, and for playing on a computer.



Digital slide shows are one of the most effective ways to present historical information. History is about stories and telling a story is a natural part of a slideshow. As described in earlier chapters, the theme or story may be the story of a person’s life, the story of a couple, the story of a period in a person’s life, or the story of a particular event, building, or piece of land. Challenges and difficulties are part of a good story, including when the difficulty did not have an ideal outcome.

A slide show is a multimedia experience that has a much greater impact than the images or audio alone. The photographs in a slide show illustrate the story. Audio and/or text in the slide show can explain the context or story of the photographs and describe the relationships among photographs. Music can reflect the historical period and set an emotional tone for understanding and experiencing the events being described. Certain details in a photograph can be emphasized by zooming in to enlarge the image, while also maintaining the relationship with the rest of the photograph.

8.1 Basic Guidelines for Historical Slide Shows

Historical slide shows have some basic differences from the slide shows that are usually described in books and tutorials. The most common topics for slide shows are social events, particularly weddings. The primary goal for these slide shows is to provide memories of the event for those who attended the event. Paul Schmidt (2011) notes in his book on slide shows that wedding slide shows usually are intended to appeal to the bride and to the bride’s father. On the other hand, historical slide shows are intended for much more diverse audiences and should provide information and experiences for people who do not have direct experience or knowledge of the original situation.

The techniques recommended for slide shows about recent social events are often not optimal for historical slide shows. More information about the context and story is needed for historical slide shows and more time to absorb the information in each image. Details in the background of a photograph often have valuable information for an historical slide show, but that is rarely the case for a slide show about a recent event.

Some basic suggestions for developing historical slide shows for general use are given below.

·        Identify the theme or story for the slide show. A slide show with a theme or story is much more meaningful than simply displaying a group of unrelated old photographs.

·        Make the style of presentation and timing suitable for the range of intended viewers. Older people need more time to absorb the information.

·        For general audiences, make the display of slides and transition between slides simple and consistent. When people are very interested in images and information that are not familiar to them, it is distracting to display the images as flying, rotating, and/or flipping.

·        Emphasize background details when they have interesting historical information.

·        Keep the content of displayed text concise and the format consistent. Reading text takes time and effort. Only words that convey useful meaning relevant for the theme or story of the slide show should be included.

·        Provide information that will be useful for future generations, such as identifying key people and key events in photographs.

·        Keep the slide show short. In most cases, an interesting historical slide show for general audiences will be 20 minutes or less. Five to fifteen minutes may be optimal depending on the topic of the slide show.

·        Slide shows played on TVs may have the edges cut off. Keep important content, particularly text, in a safe zone away from the edges.

Information can be presented in a slide show as audio narrative or as text on slides. Many historical slide shows have both. In general, audio narrative is more professional, but requires significant planning, effort, and expertise. Text on slides is much easier, particularly when revisions are made. The key point is to provide the historical information in some form. Those who appreciate the information are unlikely to complain about the mode of presentation.

There is virtually no limit to the amount of time and effort that can be devoted to artistic expression and finessing of slide shows. At some point the show has to be declared “good enough.” The discussion in this chapter focuses on clear presentation of historical information with little discussion of artistic details. This is not intended to discourage those who have more artistic interests. Those with the time and talent are encouraged to develop slide shows that utilize their abilities. The recommendations in this chapter are more suggestions for a starting point rather than rigid rules. However, if artistic expression is given a significantly higher priority than historical information, the slide show becomes outside the intended purposes of this book.

My personal reaction to the widely available special effects that make images fly, flip, and spin is that they are often an attempt to compensate for a lack of interesting content in a slide show. If the viewers are interested in and concentrating on the content of the slide show, the special effects are distracting. At the same time, the special effects may have value if a slide show is prepared primarily for an audience with limited interest, such as children or young people with relatively little interest in history. For general audiences, my impression is that the special effects do more harm than good and a simple consistent presentation is optimal.

8.2 Slide Show Software

Slide show software should have certain features for historical uses. The duration of display should be adjustable for each image individually. The software should be able to zoom in to enlarge and focus on part of an image, and pan or move across the enlarged image. The speed of these motions should be adjustable. The software should also allow text to be displayed including title slides, information slides, and information displayed on a picture. Different output formats should be available, including for display on a computer, on TVs using DVDs, and on the internet. Numerous slide show programs are available, but many do not have all the needed features.

The Guidance on Using Slide Show Software at describes specific slide show software and how to implement the suggestions in this chapter.

8.3 Global Slide Show Settings

One key setting that applies to the entire slide show is the background. The slide show background is displayed around a photograph image when the image does not completely fill the frame. The images in an historical slide show usually have a wide variety of sizes and shapes and the background appears on many slides. This is a different situation than photographs of a recent event taken specifically for a slide show. I prefer a dark gray background such as red, green, and blue each set to 60. The background is a matter of artistic preference and other choices are certainly valid. The background used for an individual slide usually can be changed as part of the slide properties.

Another key setting is the aspect ratio, or the rectangular shape of the display device. The main choice is between 4:3 which is a better fit for older TVs and older computer screens, and 16:9 which is a better fit for wide screen TVs and wide screen computer screens.

At the time of this writing, the 4:3 aspect ratio appears preferable for historical slide shows. Most historical photographs are not wide screen in shape and fit the 4:3 aspect ratio better than 16:9. The extra width of the 16:9 display could be used for text on some slides, but will probably not be useful on many slides. In addition, most wide screen TVs will display the 4:3 aspect ratio well, whereas most TVs with 4:3 screens either shrink or cutoff wide screen videos. The 4:3 aspect ratio appears preferable unless the extra room with the 16:9 aspect ratio will be used.

One safe strategy would be to make two versions of the slide show, one for each aspect ratio. That often requires significant additional work because text and features may shift when the aspect ratio is changed. Custom aspect ratios may also be applied and are useful for the rare case that a slide show will be played only on one device or screen.

8.4 Images for Slide Shows

High resolution images are needed for clear display of images with substantial zooming. Some slide show software has limits on the formats and resolutions that can be used.

The images in a slide show generally need less preparation for presentation than images that are printed. A slide is displayed for a limited time and usually with limited resolution. More importantly, the images in a slide show are presented in context of a multimedia story. Defects are much less likely to be noticed under these conditions. The methods for preparing images described in Chapter 5 may be useful for correcting severe defects or defects that manifest significantly when part of a slide is greatly enlarged.

8.5 Timing of Slide Display

The transition between slides must be considered in the total duration of display for a slide. Slides typically fade from one slide to another over a period of 1 to 3 seconds. If the transition between slides is 2 seconds and the basic display is 3 seconds the total duration will be 2 seconds of the slide fading in, 3 seconds of display, and 2 seconds of the slide fading out as the next slide fades in. The image is actually visible for about half of the time for the fade-in and fade-out.

Transition times of 2 seconds and basic display times of 3 seconds often work well for simple images. Longer display times are better for images with multiple people or with text. Transition times of 2.5 or 3.0 seconds may be appropriate for a slide show that is intended to be slow and thoughtful. Transition times of 1 second work well for transitions to a slide with only text. As discussed in a later section, the times for transitions and basic display must also be adapted to match the audio.

Although many different types of transitions between slides are possible, simple fading is usually best for historical slide shows. More distinct transitions may be appropriate to emphasize something unusual or humorous, but these will usually be rare. Keep in mind that the purpose of the slide show is usually to provide historical information, not demonstrate the special effects available with slide show software.

8.5 Slide Motion

Zooming and panning photographs greatly enhance historical slide shows. The value of these methods was widely recognized from their use in the historical videos by Ken Burns, particularly his series on the Civil War. In addition to bringing out details in the photographs that might otherwise go unnoticed, the sense of motion enlivens the slide show and can be coordinated with audio.

One common strategy is to display a full photograph and then slowly zoom in to focus on a close-up of a person or an object. If there are other points of interest, the display can slowly move across the enlarged photograph. Signs on a wall or objects in the background are often of significant historical interest. An alternative strategy is to start by displaying a greatly enlarged small area of the photograph, such as a person or even the hands or feet of a person. Then the display slowly moves across the photograph to reveal other content close-up and/or slowly zooms out to reveal the full photograph.

Zooming and panning provide virtually unlimited opportunity for creatively bringing out historical information in a photograph. For example, opening a slide with a close-up of the hands or feet of a person can be very effective for certain historical images.

Simple motion on a slide is implemented by specifying the part of the image that is displayed at the start of the motion, the part of the image that is displayed at the end of the motion, and the duration of the motion. The slide show software handles the continuous display of movement from the start to the end in the specified time period. A more complex sequence of motion is handled by combining a series of steps with each step having start and end points.

For example, a photograph of a man and wife standing by their house in the distance with children playing off to the side could be displayed with 5 motion steps. The slide would open by displaying the full photograph for 2 seconds. For this step the start and end displays are both the full photograph and the time period is 2 seconds. The next step would be to zoom in on the man and wife. For this step, the start display is the full photograph as before and the end display is the close-up of the man and wife. The time for the zooming movement might be 4 seconds. The next step is to display the close-up of the man and wife for 3 seconds. The start and end displays are both the close-up of the man and wife. The next step is to slowly move the display to the children. The start display for this step is the close-up of the man and wife and the end display is the close-up of the children. The time for the motion could be 3 seconds. The last step is to hold the display of the children for 3 seconds. The start and end displays for this step are both the close-up of the children. The 5 steps for display and movement for the photograph would take a total of 15 seconds. The simplest movement for a photograph typically is hold–zoom–hold and requires 9 seconds or longer.

Duplicate Slides with Simple Slide Show Software

Simpler slide show software can perform one simple motion step on a slide and requires multiple duplicate slides for a more complex motion sequence. For the example given above, each of the 5 steps would be done with a separate copy of the image as a separate slide.

The transition time between the slides in the motion sequence is set to zero. If the transition time between slides in a motion sequence is not set to zero, a jump or fuzziness will usually occur during the motion. The type of transition usually does not matter if the time is set to zero.

Keyframes with More Advanced Slide Show Software

With more advanced slide show software a complex motion sequence can be handled within one slide. A keyframe or keypoint can be defined at any point during the display of the slide. The keyframe defines a point that is the end point for one motion step and the start point for another motion step. This strategy has many advantages, including that the end position of one step is automatically the start position of the next step and the entire motion sequence can be previewed on one slide. Of course the effort and complexity of making many duplicate slides and setting transition times to zero are also avoided.

8.6 Slides with Only Text

Slides that have only text can be used for titles or section breaks and to present information about the theme or story of the slide show. As described in later sections, text or captions can also be displayed on slides of photographs to identify people and provide information such as dates and locations. Slide show software usually has basic capabilities for presenting text, but more stylistic text slides would need to be created with other software and incorporated into the slide show as image files.

My experience has been that two to four lines of text with four or five words per line works well for a slide with only text. The time to read text varies greatly among people, particularly when both younger and older people view a slide. Two or three slides with a smaller amount of text on each will maintain a better sense of flow and have larger, easier-to-read print than one slide with a large amount of text. The text should be very concise and contain information that relates to the theme or story of the slide show. Minimum display times that I have used were 3 seconds for 2 lines of text, 5 seconds for 3 lines of text, 7 seconds for 4 lines of text, and 9 seconds for 5 lines of text. Longer display times were sometimes used and may be needed to coordinate with the audio. A good practice is to have the slide show reviewed by someone who is not familiar with the content and who reads at a slow to moderate rate.

The font type, size, and color and the background color are matters of personal preference. The text in slide shows is usually most clear and readable if the font is optimized for display on electronic screens rather than for printing on paper. This is particularly true for slide shows that may be played on a wide variety of TVs and computers. Fonts optimized for electronic display include Arial, Lucinda Sans, and Verdana. These fonts are in the sans serif category, which has simple letters with all parts of the letter the same thicknesses. Georgia and Bookman Old Style have more style and also work well with display screens. Outlines and drop shadows can usually be applied to the font. A white font with a black outline is common and easy to read. A medium gray background can be used such as red, green, and blue all set to 100. The font size is usually about 16 points for a slide show on DVD. An alternative that I have used is a blue font with red, green, and blue set to 0, 0, 200 and no outline, and a light gray background such as red, green, and blue all set to 200. However, many other options for font and background properties can be used. A photograph image can also be used as the background for text slides. I prefer to have the text fade in and out rather than appear and disappear suddenly.

8.7 Captions on Images

Captions on photograph images can identify people or objects in the image, or provide information about the location, date, or occasion for an image. A simple caption such as “New Years 1946” can provide important context for a photograph. Captions can also be used to point out significant details that might be overlooked. For example, “Leg brace for polio” was displayed near the metal brace at a boy’s ankle that would rarely have been noticed without the caption. Seeing the leg brace was very meaningful for the boy’s grandchildren many decades later.

Captions should be handled in a way that enhances the information in the photograph rather than clutters or detracts from the photograph. One useful strategy is to display captions for only part of the time that the photograph is displayed. Sequences of captions that are coordinated with zooming and panning can guide the viewer and avoid a sense of cluttered information overload. For example, when a slide display is slowly panning across a person in a group of people, the person’s name could briefly appear and then fade away. This identifies the person, but also allows the person to be viewed without the caption.

Captions that are placed on a photograph image are difficult to read unless they stand out from the image. In some cases, an area with uniform color and texture can be used as background for a caption and simple letters would be easy to read. If the image does not fill the full frame, a section of the slide background can be used for text. However, in many cases a caption will be most appropriate in an area with shapes and colors that would make simple letters difficult to read.

 The most reliable method for presenting captions in a photograph image is to provide a background for the captions. With this strategy the captions can be handled consistently under any circumstances. The same fonts and background colors that were described above for slides with text only can be use for captions on images. The methods for creating the letters are the same; however, the captions are placed on a photograph image rather than on a slide that is a uniform background color.

For a caption that is a simple name or date, a 1-second display time with 1-second transitions in and out provide a reasonable minimum display time. The image can be displayed without the caption before and/or after the caption is displayed. Longer display times for a caption would be appropriate when more information is displayed. Transition times of less than .7 seconds are overly abrupt for my preferences.

Captions that have the same location and style throughout the slide show have a more professional appearance and are more efficiently created. Putting captions on a standard strip in the lower part of an image is common. However, for historical photographs a fixed location for captions is often not optimal for identifying people or pointing out details of interest.

Sketching a plan for the motion and captions can be very useful when a slide has several motion steps and several captions. The most efficient process is to include any time needed for captions when setting the initial motion effects. The usual sequence is to set the motion effects and then set the captions. However, if the background for captions has a fixed location and size, the background would be set before the captions.

8.8 Reusable Effects

If certain types of motion, captions, and/or backgrounds are used with different slides and in different slide shows, slide show software often has mechanisms such as templates or styles that allow reuse of the effects. A template or style can be applied to a slide and then modified for alignment and timing for the particular slide. These reusable effects can be very useful when similar effects are frequently utilized.

8.9 Transitions between Black and White and Color

Color and black and white photographs were both taken throughout the mid 1900s. Slides in chronological order during this period will tend to switch back and forth between color and grayscale. A grayscale slide that follows a color slide tends to be distracting. A color slide that follows a grayscale slide is more acceptable.

Ideally a slide show would have one transition from black and white to color and that would occur at a significant section break in the slide show. Of course, this ideal may not be possible. One option is to try to find applicable black and white photographs that can be used before the transition to color in the slide show. Another option is to make black and white photographs by converting color images to grayscale. Whether this type of conversion would be considered an unacceptable loss of historical information would need to be determined for the particular project. If a black and white photograph would be used if it were available, then converting color to grayscale may be a reasonable option.

When a slide show does have one transition from black and white to color, a distinct type of slide transition will usually be appropriate at that point. One option that works well is to make a slide that is simply a solid black background and have the last grayscale image fade into this black slide. The black slide then fades into the color image. Of course another color could be used rather than black. Another option is to use a color adjustment to make the first color slide initially display as grayscale and then have the color emerge in the slide.

8.10 Audio in Slide Shows

The audio in slide shows can include music, spoken words, and sound effects. Music sets the emotional tone and energy level for a slide show. The impact of a set of slides can be dramatically different with different background music. Spoken words can provide historical information, including information that is too complex or detailed to put as text on slides. Sound effects such as sounds from horses, automobiles, busy streets, or natural areas can add a dimension of realism to the slide show. Sound effects can be obtained from various sources on the internet. Libraries of clips are increasingly offered with audio editing software such as “Resource Central” with Adobe Audition.

The ideal music for an historical slide show would be representative of the music for the time period being presented, as well as setting an appropriate emotional tone. The content, timing, and transitions for slides should be consistent with the emotional tone and energy of the music. Longer transitions between slides are usually appropriate for slower music.

As discussed in Chapter 9, a special synchronization or synch license is needed to legally use copyrighted music in a slide show. Music on a CD or downloaded from the internet normally does not include authorization to use the music in a slide show or video. Synch licenses for popular music in the U.S. are typically too expensive and too much effort for a small project. Alternatives and risks are described in Chapter 9.

Narration that provides information or a story that pertains to several slides is effective. Reading excerpts from personal letters or documents created during the time period can be interesting. Narration can also point out or explain the content of an individual slide. Methods for recording narration for slide shows are described in Chapter 6. Slide show software often has the capability to record voice; however, the methods in Chapter 6 will usually provide higher quality recordings.

Adjustments and enhancements to audio for slide shows can be done with audio editing software as described in Chapter 7. Slide show software is typically limited to adjusting the overall volume of a sound track and making the sound fade out. More sophisticated methods such as noise reduction and applying a dynamic processor to make the sound loudness more uniform must be done with audio editing software.

The basic strategy for coordinating slides and audio is to first develop the slide display for a section of the slide show and then compare the total time for the slides with the time for the associated sound track. If a musical sound track is longer than the slide display, the music can usually be shortened by simply fading out to match the slide display. Alternatively, the time for display of the slides can be increased. If the slide display is longer than the music, additional music may be needed. Other music could be added or audio editing software can be used to add a repetition of a section of the music. There are fewer options when the audio is voice. When the sound track is longer than the slide display, the timing of the slides can be expanded. If the slide display is longer, then additional audio will be needed. Reducing the display time for slides is usually the least desirable option because that would compromise the impact of the images.

8.11 Video Output for a Slide Show

The output of a slide show is a video file that can be played on a TV, computer, or other video device. There are a wide range of options for video output, including many different formats and different settings for each format. Video files suitable for use on the internet typically have lower quality and smaller display size.

Video files must use extremely compressed formats to obtain manageable file sizes. Uncompressed video files are not feasible for routine use because a very large number of images must be stored and processed. For example, a DVD displays about 30 images in a second, which requires about 18,000 images in 10 minutes. Rendering is the process of creating the thousands or tens of thousands of images required for the video output of a slide show.

New and modified formats for video files are continually being developed. I am not confident that any current video formats will be reliably accessible 50 years in the future. Major changes in video formats are highly likely.

It is important that re-encoding of video be kept to a minimum to avoid the degradation from compression. Video authoring software traditionally implements an overlay of instructions for displaying video files and menus without re-encoding the video. On the other hand, video editing software typically makes changes to the video that require re-encoding. Authoring is preferred over editing if video quality is to be maintained. However, most video authoring software re-encodes files that need to have the play time changed and transcodes files that are not in the specific format used for DVDs.

The Guidance on Using Slide Show Software at provides more detailed and quantitative information and recommendations based on specific slide show software.

Menus for Slide Shows

A menu at the beginning of an historical slide show can be very useful because it allows people to go directly to a selected section. This is particularly useful for longer slide shows. Slide show software often has significant limitations for developing menus for the output video. For historical slide shows with several sections or chapters it may be easier to use video authoring software to make the menu. Video files in the format needed for a DVD can be created with slide show software and these files are input into the video authoring software. I use TMPGEnc Authoring Works for video authoring. Adobe Encore is more advanced authoring software.

Slide Show Output for DVDs

DVDs currently provide the most diversely accessible output format for slide shows. The quality of the display is significantly better than the typical video on the internet; however, it is significantly lower than the quality that can be displayed on a computer or on high definition TV.

My usual practice is to create DVD compatible video files from slide show software, use video authoring software to create the menu and files for a DVD, and actually burn the DVD with Nero Burning ROM. This has several advantages. Video authoring software typically has more flexibility in creating menus than slideshow software, including defining menu items for sections within one video file or within one slide show. My experience has been that Nero is more reliable at burning DVDs than slide show software. Nero also allows additional files to be added to the DVD and provides good control and organization for the additional files. These additional files can be very useful for distributing historical information. In addition, Nero can save the full specifications for burning a DVD, including the additional files. This is very useful when more copies are made later after the details of the burning specifications have been forgotten.

The additional files put on a DVD can include a video file that plays much better on a computer than the basic DVD video plays. These files are described in the next section.

Slide Show Output for Computers

Slide shows that are output specifically for playing on a computer can have significantly better quality than a DVD video and a significantly smaller file. The standard resolution for a DVD video is 720 x 480 pixels while most computer screens are at least 1024 x 768 pixels and the great majority of newer screens have much higher resolution.  For an aspect ratio of 4:3, dimensions of 1024 x 768 or 1280 x 960 pixels are frequently suggested for slide shows and provide good results for a variety of computers. For an aspect ratio of 16:9, 1024 x 576 and 1280 x 720 pixels are common, but 1408 x 792 and 1600 x 900 could also be used. 

In addition to higher resolution, a video file for a computer will be progressive rather than interlaced. Interlaced video displays every other line of an image in two passes and was developed for TVs with picture tubes. It is the standard for TV but often displays as soft or fuzzy on a computer. Computers use a progressive display that displays every line in one pass.

Two general strategies for playing slide shows on a computer are described in this section. These strategies assume that the slide show files are on a disk drive or device directly connected to the computer. The more challenging methods for displaying slide shows over the internet are described in the next section. The discussion in this section assumes that a slide show will be played on a variety of computers. In the unusual case that an historical slide show is intended for playing on only one computer, the settings can be optimized specifically for that machine.

Executable Program Files

One strategy is to create executable program files that can be played on a computer. These files have the extension .exe and the slide show is played when the file is double clicked. These files are much smaller than video files because the rendering of the slide show to video is done when the program files are executed. The executable file contains (a) the images and audio used in the slide show, (b) the specifications for the slide show, and (c) programming to generate the video from the images and specification. The file is usually much smaller than a video file because the thousands or tens of thousands of images needed for video are not stored in the file. The executable file for one eight minute slide show was about 35 Mbytes and a corresponding video file with the same resolution was about 577 Mbytes.

High Quality Video Files

The second strategy for playing a slide show on a computer is to make a high quality video file with a resolution significantly higher than for a DVD. In addition to computers, video files often can be played on other devices such as electronic picture frames. High quality video files require large files and high data rates that can overload some computers or devices. The safest strategy for a video file that will be played on a variety of computers is to use the smallest file size and data rate that provide adequate display. The most reliable format for high quality video that may be played on a variety of computers is currently MPEG 2, although MPEG4 has also become widely accepted and compatible.

Slide Show Output for the Internet

Making slide shows available on the internet can provide the largest audience but can also present the greatest challenges. Putting a slide show on the internet in low quality video that is widely accessible is easy. It is also easy to put a better quality video on the internet, but accessibility will be limited to those with fast connection speeds and video quality may still be moderate. Trying to find the optimal balance between video quality and accessibility requires knowledge of the rapidly changing technology for viewing video on the internet. Keeping up with the latest technology in this dynamic environment and balancing the benefits of new technology with the wider accessibility of older technology requires specialized expertise.

The goal in this section is to note the general strategies that are currently available for playing slide shows on the internet. The details for placing slide shows on the internet and expertise about the current state of the art will need to be obtained from other sources. In general, one of the best strategies when possible is to offer two or more versions of the slide show that have different degrees of video quality and associated internet requirements.

Slide shows primarily intended for use on the internet can be developed to minimize the adverse effects of poor video quality. Choppy motion is a conspicuous manifestation of low data rates. Zooming and panning can be kept to a minimum and made slower in a slide show for the internet. Also the letters in text can be made larger to compensate for small displays. Unfortunately, these methods significantly compromise functions that are very useful for historical slide shows.

The easiest way to get a slide show on the internet is to put it on a video internet site such as YouTube or Vimeo, and/or on a social media site such as Facebook. These sites require little expertise about the internet and video. They handle a range of video quality and frequently upgrade their capabilities.

For those who want to put a slide show on their own website, Flash video and the MPEG4 format are commonly used. The settings for the Flash option include the size of the display window and the video bit rate, which ranges from very slow to moderately fast broadband internet access. Flash video with low bit rates usually produce very poor results for historical slide shows. Putting an option on the website for higher quality video for those with faster internet connections can be very useful with Flash video.


Schmidt, Paul, 2011. Secrets of ProShow Experts: The Official Guide to Creating your Best Slide Shows with ProShow Gold and Producer. Published by Course Technology in Boston, MA.


[Version of 9/21/2013]

Historical photos and documents

Chapter Contents

Chapter 8. Creating Historical Slide Shows

8.1 Basic Guidelines for Historical Slide Shows

8.2 Slide Show Software

8.3 Global Slide Show Settings

8.4 Images for Slide Shows

8.5 Timing of Slide Display

8.5 Slide Motion

8.6 Slides with Only Text

8.7 Captions on Images

8.8 Reusable Effects

8.9 Transitions between Black and White and Color

8.10 Audio in Slide Shows

8.11 Video Output for a Slide Show


Chapters in the Book

Introduction: Background, Purpose, and Example Archive Projects

1. Basic Principles of Archiving Photographs and Documents

2. Good and Best Practices for Making Digital Images

3. Setting Tone and Color in Master Images

4. Documentation for Historical Images

5. Preparation and Display of Historical Photographs and Documents

6. Good and Best Practices for Making Audio Recordings

7. Preparation and Presentation of Historical Audio Recordings

8. Historical Slide Shows

9. Copyrights and Other Legal Rights


A. Practical Color Management

B. Overview of Scanning Software

C. Effective Resolution of Scanners

D. Using Copy Stands with Cameras

E. Batch Processing of Images

Other Resources

Guidance on Using Scanning Software

Guidance on Using Slide Show Software

Downloads and Links

This website and book were developed by Jim Kennedy.


© 2012, 2013 James E. Kennedy