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Slide Show Making - What Size / Resolution Photos?

Richard Hoover , Sep 17, 2005; 04:02 p.m.

I'm doing a slideshow for a friend's wedding. I'm going to use Powerpoint or Photoshow gold and the slideshow will be projected onto a large screen.

I need to scan pics for the slideshow - most or 4x6 snapshots. What size/resolution should I scan them in. Do I need to scan at 300 dpi and above or can I stick with "web resolutions" of 72 or 100 dpi (or is it ppi?].


Aaron B , Sep 17, 2005; 05:41 p.m.

What matters is overall resolution of the images and the resolution of the displays you will be using. To be a stickler, you would normally want a final image resolution that is as close as possible to the resolution of the projectors you will be using without going over. If your pictures have more resolution than the projector, the slide-show software will be forced to scale them down. Although the routines they use to scale could be of any quality, I've never really seen that it was enough of a problem to worry about.

Still, if you're not planning on saving the images or using them for anything else, to save time, you're better off just scanning to match your projector resolution.

For example, if you are scanning a landscape format 4x6 picture, for display on a projector with a resolution of 1024x768, you want 1024 horizontal pixels. So, you would scan the picture at about 175 DPI (or higher and then crop & scale the image back down in Photoshop). If you're scanning a 4x6 in portrait orientation, you would scan it at around 130 dpi (or higher and then crop & scale in Photoshop).

Jim Strutz - Anchorage, AK , Sep 17, 2005; 07:24 p.m.

Either way, I think you will generally want to crop as well. The 4x6" prints are 50% wider than tall, and the slide program will either cut off the edges, or show the print in "letter box" format with a lot of unused space on top & bottom. Personally, I like to fill the screen when possible, since digital projectors don't have that much resolution to start with, and not using all of it seems to be a waste of precious pixels. Doesn't always work for me though, since some images are best seen vertical, or even as a panoramic.

I try to get everything scanned to at least 768 pixels high (800-1000) is close enough) and then crop the edges to fit. You can scan higher resolution, and as Aaron says, if you are going to use these images elsewhere, it's a good idea, but otherwise higher resolutions just slow the process down. Some slide programs even drag transitions when dealing with large image file sizes.

William Wallace , Sep 17, 2005; 09:09 p.m.

Make all of your final images the same resolution as the projector. However, you might want to put boarders around the images, or sometimes put 2 or more images on the same slide.

Robert Medina - South Jersey/Philly , Sep 19, 2005; 04:06 a.m.

I use pro-show gold. I use whatever image size is in the folder (typically hi-res) The program is pretty cool, although it has been acting up on me lately. It keeps skipping, and it really annoying.

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