Seminar 3: Sight & Sound Essay, November 20, 2017

On Monday, 20th November, I will be conducting a hands on Sight and Sound seminar. We will be using a software app from Corel called Video Studio X10. You can download the trial version free for 30 days. I have been using this programme for 35 years. It began as ULEAD out of England. Eventually it was acquired by Corel and sometime later it morphed into Video Studio.

I have used it intensively for all my video weddings, silent essays and sight and sound essay projections at the competitions, and to prepare the Spring and Fall shows.

We will be learning ::

  1. Selecting images and how to insert them into the VS programme.
  2. Adding fades and timings.
  3. Adding music to the audio track and adjusting both length and volume thereby.
  4. Finally output MP4 video.

Many look at me with disbelief when I say that in 15 minutes I’ll have you making up an essay. Remember I am a teacher, not a lecturer, and this is hands on.

MP4 is the de facto standard now and can be produced by both Mac and PC platforms. As you have noticed the Silent Essay competition is coming up very soon and they are all MP4’s, as prepared by Darryl on his Mac. Lately 60 to 80% of our essays were MP4, very easy to project and in any desirable sequence.

Like I said it is a hands on seminar. The plan is that we set up 4 or 5 stations – or more – at the meeting. You will set up your laptop fully equipped with the VS 10 Pro software. The software can be downloaded from Corel as a trial version. There are 2 versions of the X10 at Corel…X10 pro and X10 Ultimate. I like the ultimate but the Pro is adequate and is what we will be using at the club.

COST ??:

The trial version is free but, at times, there are specials thus reducing the cost.

Version Normal Special
X10 Pro $79.99 $63.99
X10 Ultimate $99.99 $79.99

This programme is backwards compatible so we get away from the nonsense that the other programme insults us with.

At the Corel site you will find all kinds of software that might interest you. Good to take a look.


  1. go to
  2. click on Trial 3rd from left.
  3. click on the X10 icon, 2nd down on right column.
  4. you can take it from there.

Any questions? call Merv at 902-456-1449

See all you thespians there on Monday 20 th.



Please mark your calendars and plan to attend the Photo Guild’s event in the Halifax Festival of Photography (PHOTOPOLIS).

Meet us at the Viewpoint Gallery and see the digital exhibition that has been put together and produced to Spotlight the many talented photographers among us. Be sure to check out both the Photopolis and Viewpoint Gallery websites for schedules throughout the Festival, the whole month of October. And please bring a friend.

Silent Essay 2017

The Silent Essay competition this year is going to be different. You do not need a slide show app to enter the competition. Because the rules for the silent essay (6 seconds display with a 1 second dissolve) are the same for everyone, the essay can be created for you. In fact, you will not be allowed to create your own essay. This will guarantee that all the essays conform to the essay rules.

To enter the competition all you need to do is upload your images to the silent essay competition upload form, just like entering images in any other competition. This year everyone can enter the silent essay competition! All your images must be in competition format (1400X1050, jpeg). There are 12 competition “categories”, indicating the order that you want your images to be displayed. You can enter fewer than 12 images, but not more.

Individual image titles are never used in a silent essay, but you do need to enter your essay title. Use the “Image 1” title for your essay title. All the other image titles can be anything you want, and the form does require that you enter something, but those titles will not be used. Your essay title and image titles must conform to the restrictions listed in the Upload Guidelines document.

Note that the category list in the upload form is not “in order” but the descriptions are correct.

If you embed your essay title into your first image, as many people do, you still have to enter that title as the first image title in the upload form.

The Silent essay competition is Sunday, November 5, 2017 and the upload deadline is October 22, 2017. This upload deadline is two weeks ahead of the competition. The extra time is needed to create your essay.

Technical information:

Your essay will be created in the universal mp4 format, 30 fps, highest quality and no audio track. The essay dimensions will be 1400X1050, so some or all of your images may be letter boxed. That is fine for a projected essay. All essays will be built with the same template in FotoMagico 5 running on a Mac.

There will be a one second dissolve between images and each image will be displayed for six seconds. A three second blank slide will be added to the beginning of the essay (needed for our projector) and this allows for a one second dissolve from black to your first image at the start of the essay. A three second blank slide will also be added to the end of your essay, allowing the last image to dissolve over one second to black.