One of the most common questions I am asked is “What size should my files be when adding them to ProShow?“. The short answer is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. That’s why I usually reply with the following: “Best in, Best Out “. By that I mean if you import better quality images, you will see better quality results when you output your show.
As there isn’t a single way to define “best”, let’s take a look at a few guidelines to help you figure out what “best” means for you.
A Great Minimum Size
The closest thing to a “best answer” is this: make sure your images are no smaller than 1920×1080 pixels. Why? Because that is the file size for full, 1080p HD video. If you’re making a Blu-ray disc or uploading HD videos to YouTube, resizing photos to 1920×180 will make sure that you’re images will at least be formatted to the native resolution of HD video. As a bonus, 1920×1080 also puts you well above the minimum size for every other output format.
When Big is Too Big
While ProShow is absolutely capable of handling very large files, “Best in”, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to, or even want to import your largest files. As cameras continue to create larger and larger files, this becomes even more important.
For example, my DSLR takes pictures that are 5184×3456 pixels in size. I know most of us hate doing math, but think about that for a second -that’s over 2.5 times larger than full 1080p HD video (1920×1080). That’s definitely a lot of data! In fact, the problem most users run into when using large files is their computer’s ability to process all of that data. Especially when trying to create shows using hundreds of huge files.
When to Use Extra Large Files
I’ll typically only use super large files for certain parts of my show. Specifically when I use effects that zoom in more than 10-20%. Here’s why….
Let’s say I’m going to make a 1080p, HD video and I’ve resized my photos to 1920×1080. What happens if I use a Zoom of 100%? I’ll start to see some fuzziness and pixilation. Why? Because I’m trying to zoom in on something that is already “full sized”. However, If I use the original, extra large from my camera for that effect, I am now working with an image that is 2.5 times larger than the 1920×1080 limit of HD video. That gives me more data (and resolution) to work with, which will in turn provide more clarity when using those high zoom values.
Generally speaking, if I have a show that features 100 images, I may only use an extra large version of an image on 1 or 2 slides total.
Resizing With the Lightroom Plug-In
If Adobe Lightroom is a part of your workflow, then give the free ProShow Plug-in a try. By default, the plug-in is configured to create copies of your images that are resized to a maximum height or width of 2800 pixels (2800×1575 for a 16:9 Widescreen image). That’s about 1.5 times higher resolution than HD -plenty of size for just about anything you’ll need to do in a show.
What is “Best” For You?
What’s perfect for one user, might not be the right choice for someone else. I highly recommend making a test show that features one image saved in a variety of sizes. Output that to any formats you’re interested in creating, and compare the results. It may take a little trial and error testing, but it’s a great way to identify what is “best” for your shows.