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Combining photos and sound

I’ve recently been impressed by combinations of photographs and soundscapes, for example the work of Laura El-Tantawy (see here) – I find the combination of stills and sounds almost hypnotic; perhaps the combined indexicality of photos and sound cause this?

In preparation for C&N assignment 5, I decided to work out the technical aspects of creating a combination of photo and sound. This post notes my findings.

Being an Apple user, the first thing I discovered is a lack of reasonably priced software for video editing. This is in contrast to PC users who seem to be blessed with a range of critically acclaimed software at a reasonable price (Google to see). I was determined not to spend £230 on Apple’s apparently excellent Final Cut Pro for my relatively simple requirements.

I started by experimenting with my existing software options: Photoshop and iMovies. The former worked well for simple combinations of photos and a soundtrack, but offered no level of control over panning over and into an image (just a preset option). iMovies was also limited, squarely aimed at casual home use to create quick movies using templates and presets. The only reasonably priced alternative, was Adobe Premiere Elements (£39 as a download from Amazon or, strangely £54 direct from Adobe) – Adobe’s Premiere Pro weighs in at a mighty £159 per year, every year, for ever; okay if one is generating revenue from video editing, but a bit much for the casual user. I would mostly likely opt for Apple’s Final Cut if I ever need something that sophisticated.

Premiere Elements offers a 30 day free trial (with ‘free trial’ watermarked over movies), but I used this to try before buying to make sure it could do what I needed. I’m please that it does what I need and much more. The video inserted into this post was created after watching some introductory instructional videos on YouTube and a bit of trial and error. It took quite some time, but that was mostly down to learning the new software and, next time, I’m confident that I could create something similar in 30 minutes or so.


Freesound [website]. Soundclips for personal, non-commerical use. Available from: http://freesound.org/ [accessed 25.5.16]

Steve Grisetti [YouTube channel]. For videos on using Premiere Elements. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/user/sgrisetti [accessed 25.5.16]

One comment

  1. Catherine says:

    That’s a good start. I’ve used iMovie up to now for fairly simple videos. The problem for me is that I don’t create videos often enough so I seem to have to relearn even simple techniques.

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