Putting on a great travel show presentation is the last and equally as important step to creating a memorable travelogue story experience. You want to get it right, after all those miles traveling and hours editing, don’t you?
At this point, the same way one would frame an art print on the wall and hang it in the appropriate place. So to are you going to play your travel show of your trip in the best possible way to entertain and show it off.
Remember you have an unmentioned agreement with your audience. They are willing to trade their precious time for your entertainment. If you fail, bore them and don’t deliver, they will soon resent your lack of consideration and not return.
What I’m going to talk about this time around covers a lot of different types of travelogues. The two basic camps are hard copy (prints, photo album) and digital show file(s) (video or single images).
Either way you go, this advice applies to all circumstances to better the odds that your audience can enjoy whatever you are showing.
If you have control of the show environment and delivery all the better to make it ideal and do it justice.
The audience has to be comfortable in a suitable venue where your travel show can play with proper video and sound quality. Just look at how movie theatres are set up.
If you bring a photobook or pull out your phone/tablet at work, in a pub or on the subway, pick the right moment. You want enough time to tell them about your trip with few distractions.
If you post your trip online, there is little you can do with your audience’s environment. You have no control on the setting. They may be looking at your Facebook travel album or playing your YouTube trip video just about anywhere.
It may be a little maddening that circumstances may not be as ideal as you wished. There may be screen glare, distractions or have the sound turned off as they watch your well crafted video in line at the bank.
Let’s walk through the process of putting on a “Show”
Finish It ! – First, is your show finished? if not perhaps you should wait; it might be embarrassing to show a half done, patchy show too soon that may be missing important things you saw and did on your trip.
Don’t rush the job of packaging your images and videos together to make a travelogue. It will likely show in the end result that you have not taken the time to produce a good quality show.
I won’t get into it here but one would hope that when you put your show together, it’s not too long, it has the appropriate music, your titles are legible, and you haven’t been too repetitive.
You want to just have the audience get a taste of where you’ve been, not a full-course meal.
Creating a deadline can move you along. It works for me. Set a presentation date as a goal. Put out the invites and now you gotta get it finished!
Output – So now that you have a finished product, your travel show and you need to package it accordingly. For those of us printing a photobook, you have the luxury of creating a hard copy that is low-tech and fairly predictable when you bring it somewhere to show it.
Alas, for others who have folders with digital pictures, slideshows and video travelogues getting the right file format that will play properly is a bit of a trick and sometimes a mystery. Keep in mind what kind of equipment you are going to play this file on to understand what is the best type of file to write to.
When in doubt, try a few safer (more popular) formats like MP4, MP2 (MOV, WMV) for videos and image files for a slideshow JPG is the choice.
It would advised to resize down your output for the screen resolution of the player and not use those huge 16+ megapixel files straight from your camera. Moving around larger files will slow down you transfers and likely tax your player’s processor. Which may slow down and could add “errors” in your video or sound playback.
Test Equipment – I would suggest not only outputting the file in various sizes and file formats but also testing, testing and TESTING that the show plays the way it should. I have had sound out of sync, no audio, jerky video, poor colour, bad cropping….I have learned the hard way – NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING!
The best scenario is that you are using your own gear for playback. Even better at your place. From there anything can happen. (now imagine every possibility x10. LOL)
AV Equipment (Audio Visual) is notorious for not working properly at the worst times. Professionals in the business have duplicates of everything just in case Murphy is in the building. I have seen so many situations; defective cables, dead batteries, electrical speaker interference, gear incompatibility, lost connectors, fuses popping…. You just never know, so be prepared.
This applies beyond just the equipment you wish to use for your presentation. Your choice and file formats need to be compatible with the player. Ideally you’re using your own player but if you plan on winging it at a friend’s place, I’d put the file not only in a few different formats but write to a DVD disc and a USB stick as a backup, cuz shit happens!
I remember once writing my various video formats to DVD to show friends on the other side of the country. I knew he had a large flat screen TV and assumed he could play the disc. Wrong — he did not own a DVD disc player. So instead of showing it on his beautiful 50+ inch screen, it was played on his tiny laptop. (sigh)
Where you show your travelogue is important and key to being entertaining and informative.
Ideally you need a room, a space that has no distractions, no loud noises, bright lights, people coming and going, barking dogs, crying babies or biting mosquitoes…you get the idea, you don’t want distractions away from your presentation.
First you need comfortable seating in an air-conditioned cooled, or heated space. Have enough seats for everyone to get a clear view of the screen. Next you might need snacks, drinks for the audience. Does this sound like a party in the making? You bet. Everyone likes a party with a theme.
A novel effect is to lower or raise the temperature of the room if you are showing a trip from a hot or cold country.
Audience – Now as I mentioned elsewhere on this site, your show is very much based on the audience you’re going to deliver it to. With that in mind, you may need to promote the get together. Perhaps put on a party, make it an event. Does your travel show need to be hyped a little bit? But build expectation you can deliver.
Use email invites as a teaser to create interest, especially if you do not have a reputation. The stigma of boring home movies is still around. I am trying to get us all to rise above that and do it right.
Showtime – Here is the pay off for you as the creator of this travelogue. You’ve made efforts to create the right environment and invite everyone interested to see what kind of wonderful adventures you’ve been on, and now you’re ready to share your stories with an audience.
Don’t blow it! Dim the lights and let your travelogue show play itself out, you do not need to narrate it especially if it already has music, titles and narration in it.
I have been to my share of bad slide shows, where the host feels compelled to say something for every image… “and now here is our dog, and next this is the beach, which is crowded”… ummm yeah, I can see that … stop talking, move along…I think to myself.
Mention to everyone that if they have any questions they can ask you after the show and you can even play your show again this time stopping and talking a little bit more about it if need be.
Also remind your audience to turn off their cell phones, make that bathroom pit stop, get another beer… thank you very much.
Finally, if possible that night or soon, get feedback on the quality of your “show”, what worked, what didn’t for future reference. The audience reaction, comments and questions when you’re showing your presentation are good clues. This feedback good or bad, only makes you better.
Good luck with it. Having a party with a special personal, “exclusive” travelogue show is a treat for many and can be lots of fun for you too. Showing far off corners of the world that others may wish to go to or may never have the chance, is exotic, enlightening. Having you and other familiar faces in the show is also a treat for others.
Enjoy it, you made it, you own the applause.