MultiMedia Program Salon Judging Criteria

A good multi-image program begins with good images, presented in an interesting way that engages the viewer and maintains interest. Its purpose can be educational or simply to set a mood. Ultimately, it should entertain, whether it informs or not.

Besides still images, presentations can include pans and zooms, animations, and even short video clips, but the latter should occupy less than a third of the show’s length. Audio tracks can include music, narration, and sound effects.

Shows should be 15 minutes or less in length, submitted on CD or DVD, preferably in a self-executing format (*.exe), but in virtually any format playable on a PC-compatible computer.

Programs should include a credits slide at the beginning or end that give credit for any music or image contributions not the work of the entrant.

Important Note:
Please be sure to downsize the photos you use in your program to around 1280x1024. This is the top resolution of most affordable projectors, and having more pixels doesn't increase the quality of the projected image. Rather, having to push big images around can result in synchronization problems between sound and images if the computer's processor isn't fast enough to keep up.

Entries will be judged on four factors:

Image quality -- technical & artistic
Image selection
Presentation Impact
Presentation Technique

Image Quality (1 to 10 points)
The reader is referred to the Slide Salon Criteria page for an in-depth discussion of what makes for good images. Generally, they are nicely lit, well-composed, sharp, and with good depth of field and good color saturation. Judging will also take into account the needs of the overall show. If images add to the flow of the show or the story it tells, not every individual image needs to be a salon winner.

Image Selection (1 to 10 points)
Since a multimedia program is a collection of images, the second score is based on how well the entrant did in selecting images to tell their story or set their mood. Do they use too many? Are they varied enough to sustain interest? Are images irrelevant to the overall flow of the show?

Presentation Impact (1 to 10 points)
The sequence of images are judged for their effectiveness in conveying a story, idea, or mood. There is more to making a good multimedia program than just sticking a bunch of images together with a piece of music. Does the music interact well with the images and support what the program appears to be communicating? Do the transitions used support the flow of images or distract from them?

In general, the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) Rule could be said to apply to a good multimedia program: Don’t try to overwhelm the viewer by trying to show us how many cool transitions your software can provide, and the same with audio. One or two transition types often work best.

Presentation Technique (1 to 10 points)
Technique will be scored according to how effectively the show is put together. Do audio clips seem to start and stop in the right places relative to images? Are transitions applied properly? Is text used well and readable, and not overused (for example, we don’t want to require the viewer to read pages of plain text).

Many presentations involve dissolves or fades. When sequencing images, consider how elements in one will look when dissolving into the next. This can afford a lot of creativity. Some folks shoot images specifically for multi-image dissolves, something that the multiple flash nature of most cave photography lends itself to well. Timing and placement of dissolves is another feature that counts in both technique and impact.

Software sources:

There are a growing number of programs available for making multimedia programs. Some of these are surprisingly inexpensive for their power, and one of them (Photo Story 3) is even free. The below is not an exhaustive list but some of the more popular ones:

Slide Show to Go
Microsoft Photo Story
Microsoft Powerpoint

*For examples of some multimedia programs made with PicturesToExe, and tutorials, visit:

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