First attempt in an audio-visual competition

Most photographic competitions involve the entry of a single image, or a portfolio of separate images. There are however a number of competitions that let you enter an audio-visual (AV) in which you piece together images with music and sometimes narration. The AV is then judged as a whole.

I decided last year to try to put an entry together for the Tauranga AV Competition in the category of “Music, Poetry & Song”. I found a piece of music that I liked written by the Irish band Westlife titled “Flying without wings”. The song had very strong clear lyrics and a reasonably consistent beat so I figured it would be ideal to use.

I actually visualised that the final shot would be a girl appearing to fly off the end of a wharf with a set of wings lying on the ground. Unfortunately that was as far as I got and the entry date passed without me doing anything about it. This year I determined that I would make the effort and enter. This was further spurred on when I bought Fotomagico which is a Mac based tool for producing AV’s.

I started by downloading the lyrics for the song than in order to plan it I put them into an excel spreadsheet. This meant that I could make notes of what images I thought may be suitable to represent them. Ideally you would go out and shoot a series of images specifically to fit the song, but given that it was a love song I was sure that I probably had images that could be used. I went through and reviewed all of the images I had taken in the last three years and selected a number that were possibilities. These were then places against the lines that I thought they most related to.

Fotomagico has two ways in which you can time the slide transitions. You can define markers on the soundtrack or you can set a duration time on the image. I initially set markers but this caused problems in areas where I did not have an image. After having to resetting times after adding new slides I abandoned the approach and set durations instead. I also used a selfie image as a placeholders for this lines that did not have an image.

Over a six week period all bar three lines were able to matched with existing images and I went out and shot the final three images.

After numerous run throughs I thought that the AV was ready but you do reach a point where you can no longer be objective to it so I showed it to a number of other members of my camera club. They liked most of it however the initial four images confused them somewhat. My wife had made a similar comment so these images were replaced. I then showed the AV to an experienced judge who I knew has entered AV competitions before. He gave favourable comments but did express the opinion that he was not sure how it would go as the judges in these competitions seem to have some strange ways in which they judge them.

In the end the concept for the shot that I had right at the start was never taken.

I would have liked to have finished this post by saying that the AV did well. Unfortunately it was “not accepted” and I am waiting to hear comments on what the judges felt was wrong. The AV is below and I would welcome comment on it.

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