What is the best way to show photographs on TV (2021)? To answer this question I call on the experience of creating several hundred slideshows and videos.
The process I use involves images storage and image management, choosing and editing photographs, getting suitable music and populating slideshow or video software with images, video clips and music, and then designing and rendering the slideshow for sharing or watching on TV or mobile device. This works for me as a content creator but is this approach any good for you? Let’s find out.
Over the years our physical photo albums have deteriorated and photographs removed. Physical print albums break, tear and fall apart and the pleasure of using them becomes less enjoyable. At the same time, the number of digital photographs and video files increases with a lower proportion of them being printed and stored in photo books. This process results in a mishmash of print and digital media that is difficult to store and retrieve in a convenient and easy manner.
The solution I use is to scan all my prints and keep the digitalised prints and digital images in my disc storage system. There are many articles about storage options and I invite the reader to research these, but for my purposes, I use two devices. These devices are a Synology networked device that gives 6TB of storage across two discs (12TB), and a G-Raid system that provides 8TB storage over two discs (16TB).
The Synology system enables wireless and cable transmission of videos to my TV whereas the G Raid enables only cabled transmission. I use Plex to play videos from both devices. Prior to these devices, I used many discs, from 250GB to 2TB, to store and access the material. This building block approach is difficult to manage and trust. At one time I had a bank of 10 discs, each of which was a single point of failure. Something had to be done.
I have 300,000+ image files stored on these devices, catalogued in Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom manages these files and enables editing of photographs and the creation of simple slideshows. In addition to Lightroom, I use Adobe Photoshop along with other editing applications to manage, edit and share my files. I use professional slideshow production software for more complex productions such as Wedding Day slideshows. This software gives more editing and design and music options compared to Lightroom.
I use Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) for advanced professional video (film) editing. A 1TB external SSD is used for video editing. This SSD reduces the processing load on my iMac.
The image below shows the filing structure used in my iMac computer. Photograph and video files are structured by year and by month. I file completed slideshows in the same way but in a different file hierarchy. This is shown in the image below.
My file hierarchy as displayed in Finder on my iMac. Edited videos are filed in a different hierarchy from other image files.
Image files are displayed in Lightroom using the same file structure shown above. Lightroom creates its own file catalogue that is different to other systems such as Luminar AI which reads the files directly off storage discs.
I use Lightroom because it is proven for high volume professional photography. It also displays video files which many other applications fail to do. Lightroom is the industry standard and works in a seamlessly with Adobe Photoshop. I have used Lightroom for over 15 years and I am comfortable with the architecture and the strengths and weakness of the tool and its environment.
Lightroom enables slideshows to be made simply and quickly is a seamless process. Lightroom slideshow functionality is basic compared to professional slideshow applications. They tend to be very expensive and complicated to use. 90%+ of my personal slideshow requirements are met with Lightroom.
The first step in the creation of a slideshow video is to choose images to include. Lightroom is used for this as shown below with a selection of 15 photographs chosen from a batch of images. Each chosen image is processed in Lightroom to taste. Once done, the ‘Slideshow’ feature is selected. This gives options on how a slideshow is setup in terms of background, text, order, music, pacing and effects. Once a slideshow is designed a video file is created for playing on video players. I normally choose the 1080p 16:9 HD option.
Lightroom view showing processed images for a slideshow.
An edited image in the slideshow view where display and play options are selected.
Slideshow files are stored in my Synology and G Raid devices.
My broadband router is linked to my TV via cable using the electric wiring system in my house. Plex is installed on my iMac and TV so that my TV can play videos that are stored on my storage devices. These are attached to my computer in another room. Wireless local networking is another option.
Plex optimise video files for TV. I always do this for smooth video playback. Image quality is not degraded on my 55″ 4k TV. They play at 1080p.
I use Plex to play video files on my TV. These videos are edited and rendered using FCPX. They require considerably more bandwidth to play compared to slideshows because of movement and larger file sizes. I render video films in 4k and optimise them in Plex for TV. I am very pleased with the quality of Plex optimised files.
The best way to show photographs on TV(2021) is answered through consideration of several factors:
Digitalised slideshows may best be seen as a complement rather than as a replacement for photo albums. I am convinced though that a slide show is preferable to showing individual images directly from a camera or disc with no processing, context, or music.
The photographs in this slide show date back to 1974 when I was 15. The slideshow and music capture the moment.
So, Is this a sensible project to tackle if you do not have all the tools in place? is this the best way to show photographs on TV, I say yes!
Start with a simple slideshow. Invest time and effort to create and share slideshow. Mobile telephones have many of the tools required.
Chose and repair your photos, design your slideshow, (15-25 images for a c3 minute sideshow), make basic corrections (Colour correction, repair scratches), and place your images into the software for rendering.
In summary, I have the technologies, processes and skills to design compelling slideshows. It is therefore a realistic option to provide slideshows to friends and clients as part of a wedding day or event shoot.
If you enjoyed the creative and technical process move onto your next project. Alternatively, get in touch as I would be happy to create a slideshow for you.