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Tutorial: Adobe Lightroom CC

In this tutorial we'll look at the newly updated slideshow production capabilities in Adobe Lightroom 6--also known as Lightroom CC, depending on whether you buy it standalone or whether you download it as part of your Creative Cloud subscription service.

Adding Music

Next up is adding the music (Figure 13, below). Music is something you could already add in Lightroom or previous versions. However, now you can add a playlist of up to 10 songs. There are two songs that Adobe provided to reviewers for the demo. You can see in Figure 13 that, for this project, I have chosen a longer track that clocks in at 6 minutes, 58 seconds.

Figure 13. Add your music track(s) here.

You can click the + (plus) button shown in Figure 13 to browse to and add another track, and you can see in Figure 14 (below) that I’ve added the other (much shorter) track that Adobe provided to reviewers. Now Lightroom indicates the entire duration of the music selections at almost 7:39.

Figure 14. Two music tracks selected.

I know I don’t need the short one for a slideshow of the duration I’ve chosen; I need the long one only. When my slideshow is complete, Lightroom will automatically cut the music off with a fade out at the end--even if your audio track is longer than your slides.

Playback Options

Under Playback, you have a few options, as shown in Figure 15 (below). You can tell Lightroom to sync the slides to the music. At the bottom left of Figure 15, note that it says slide 1 of 40 and has the duration. When you check the “Sync slides to music” checkbox on and off, that time will change according to how you set the Slide Length and Crossfades sliders. 2:47 is how long the slide will remain on screen with the current settings--3 seconds per image with a 1-second crossfade. The slideshow will continue for as long as my settings determine, and the music will just fade out whenever it gets to the end.

Figure 15. Here are the Playback options, where you set slide and transition duration, and Lightroom adjusts accordingly.

You might think that when you check the “Sync slides to music” box, the time for the slide on screen would get longer to match the 6:58 duration of the audio track. But it does not. In fact, it gets shorter, going from 2:47 to 1:22, as shown in Figure 16 (below). The reason for that is that slideshows in Lightroom can now automatically synchronize to the music. Lightroom analyzes the waveform, an algorithm determines the beats per second, and the application actually cuts the images on the beat.

Figure 16. Playback options in Lightroom 6/CC.

This is an awesome new feature. Before, you would have to sit there in your NLE, either looking at the waveform, finding the beats, and tweaking frame by frame to match the images to cut on every beat, or you would just have to put them in there and let them fall where they may if you wanted all of the images to be on screen for the exact same amount of time. Now, the track that I am using in this project is very easy to work with because it has got an electronic music beat. It is very consistent; it does not change time signatures or tempo. This makes it pretty easy to work with.

The next thing you could do is adjust the Audio Balance slider shown in Figure 15. if you had any video clips in your slideshow, is to have Lightroom automatically adjust which audio is more dominant--your background music or your video’s audio track. Since I do not have any video in this project, it does not matter where I set the balance slider.

Pan and zoom, of course, has been a staple in showing still images on screen for many years. The effect is now associated with Ken Burns (Apple even calls it “The Ken Burns Effect” in iMovie), even though the technique predates the popular documentary films Burns began making in the 1980s.

To add pan and zoom in Lightroom, you adjust the amount of pan and zoom from low to high using the Pan and Zoom slider in the Playback adjustments section (below Audio Balance in Figure 15). How much pan and zoom you include will depending on the mood you’re going for, or the music track that you have. You might want it to be quick, in and out. You might want it to be very slow and subtle. For this project, I’ll leave mine on the slow side.

The next Playback option, Repeat Slideshow (see Figure 15), involves looping--do you want your slideshow to play continuously, repeating/looping playback until the user stops it? Below that, you can check Random Order (see Figure 16) to have Lightroom randomize the order of the images. Since I have got my images in chronological order, that is where I want it to stay.

Finally, you can adjust the Quality. Your options are Draft, Standard, and High. You can do a draft just to start checking it out, make sure you have got things right. I’ve already rendered this project, so I am going to go with high quality. Here’s what it looks like.


I am going to stop it right there and go back. A few images ago, we saw an image that focused on a guy’s back (left side of Figure 17, below). We don’t want to see his back. We want to see his face. It’s really quick and easy to fix this--just click the image and drag it to where you want the focus to be (right side of Figure 17, below).

Figure 17. Before (left) and after (right) dragging an image to shift the viewable area to what we want to focus on.

Next, I’ll click through the images quickly (by clicking on the thumbnails at the bottom of the UI) to see where Lightroom is cropping the images to determine if I have any more images that need adjusting. There are a handful of others in the slideshow. I’ll use the same click and drag technique as before to adjust the viewable area of these images.

Keep in mind that you could not do this so quickly in your NLE. As soon as I click and drag these images, Lightroom makes the change and records it for the slideshow. I do not have to click on an image, and then go to the effects panel and adjust a slider. I can just click on the image, drag it to about where I want it, and Lightroom will take care of the rest.

To preview again with those adjustments made, I click on the first adjusted image, and Lightroom starts previewing the slideshow right at that point, as shown below.


Export Options

You can see in the video above that those adjustments took care of the problem. I now have a slideshow that I can proudly display to my customers, or to my friends that participated in this ride. How am I going to do that? I am going to have to sit them down in front of my computer and show it to them this way? No. You can see the two export options in the lower-left corner (Figure 18, below).

Figure 18. Click one of these buttons to export your slideshow as a PDF or a video.

I can export either a PDF slideshow which won't have the music, or I can export a video very easily by clicking Export Video. As you can see, in the Export Slideshow to Video dialog box that opens when I click Export Video (Figure 19, below), I can export it at any resolution I want.

Figure 19. The Export Slideshow to Video dialog box.

After the slideshow is exported, I can then upload it to the social media network of my choice, or send it through email, depending on the file size.


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