Can this be improved?

I've been taking a photo a day for 763 days. Last year I added a slight challenge but only used one word titles. Mostly for my own amusement but it did serve to keep me more interested. This year I'm trying to attach a song to every photo. It's going to be way tougher and I can't say for sure if I'll be able to sustain it but I'll see. At the end of both years I've put together a video with all the images and used my daughter's music as a soundtrack. They've been a lovely keepsake for me and my family. So this year I thought I would cut the appropriate song snippet for each of my photos and put them together in a mash up.

I thought I'd try doing the month of January as a test. I'll be honest, I don't think it works. It seems sloppy, lacking any elegance.

So while I plan to continue finding a song for each image I post, I'm not sure this will be the way to package it. I like the concept but not sure I can pull it off. I considered titling each image but thought that would simply add to the cognitive load. Maybe there is a way but I'm not seeing it. I could use your help. Can this be improved? Be honest. I can take it.

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  • It's fun but a bit of a sensory assault. I'd get involved in the song and then it'd switch. What if you stuck with one song for a month or a week? It'd cramp your picture-taking a bit, but final product might be more cohesive, Anyway, an idea…

  • Maybe do this for each month (I like hearing all the songs that go with the pics), and then do the retrospective as usual with your daughter's music — that way the retrospective flows.

    • That may be a good idea Andrew. I spend most of my flight home building this so as long as I’m in an airplane for 5 hours at the end of every month, it’ll be very doable! Seriously, I’ll think on that.

  • Outstanding!  Some of the songs made me crack up – Separate Lives for the dogs picture.  I hope you can continue pulling this off each month.  I think the way to go is to break it up monthly, it might be easier.  One tricky part will be to use different songs all year.  You might have to at least use a different part of the same song.

  • Your ability to come up with appropriate songs is awe-inspiring. Each song connects well to its picture. Sure it is choppy and I am skeptical about your sustaining it for 365 days but it is cool too.

  • I'm thinking there might be a copyright violation here. The artist might sue. If she does, give her the dogs. And the Wii.

  • Do you have to do the pictures in order?  What if you grouped your pictures thematically and chose songs to match the theme rather than individual pictures.  You would still have 365 pics, but they would be grouped into 5-6 themes with longer snippets of music allowing you to create smoother transitions between a more manageable number of songs. 
    Love the creativity and the match between each photo and each song… I also agree with Meredith- so many songs create a huge sensory overload.

  • Rebecca

    I enjoyed the video, but it was kinda hard to follow because you'd cut so fast to the next song. I do like the concept though. I created a dvd for my parents with all my sport pictures, accalades, christmas and graduation with music and they loved it. I kept a song or a section of a song for at least 15seconds so it wouldnt seem too choppy. Just a thought though.

  • @Alan, Thanks. That's the fun and challenging part. Using my love of music and trying to make that connection. Sustainability will be tough.

    @Tony I hadn't thought about changing the order but I'm not sure I want to. For me the order is a big part of the story, every day in the year a new story. But yes, the overload is the issue.

    @Rebecca and Meredith, not quite sure how to string them together given that each photo does have a song attached to it.

    Thanks for the ideas. I'll keep pondering and welcome continued input.

  • Very cool, Dean!  It is sensory overload to an extent, as others said, but what a great project!  You inspired me to try the 365/2010 project, and I'm still rolling with it so far.  Although, I can't even imagine putting music with each photo. 
    What if the screen was black as a song faded in, played for a second or so, then the photo faded in for a few seconds, then faded back to black, and then an audio transition to the next song? 
    You are an inspiration to many more folks than you know  Thanks!

    • Thanks John,

      I should give that a try. My only issue is I’m trying to keep it relatively short. Last year my year long video was 27 minutes. That seemed as long as I could imagine it to still be viewable. But maybe i’ll play around with it. I think I’ll do another one in February and incorporate some of these ideas. Great feedback.

  • I think it's a great Idea
    but I think it needs to be way faster: a tiny bit of each song (only the words needed or the refrain)
    and no space between the songs.
    In ohter words, since it is a sensory assault, let it really be it.

    • That’s an interesting perspective.

      since it is a sensory assault, let it really be it.

  • Hi Dean

    I think the project will be a great success.  I agree with many of the comments about the jerkiness, but your ability to choose the right music is epic.  For me, there were a couple of really great transitions where the music seemed to soften and the next track entered quietly – very professional effect – and trying to repeat that might take some time.  Overlapping pictures and tracks with soft start would be the transition I'd really try to master.  Also, the time the track plays has an effect as some pieces of music need to play for longer and others are ok short.  A real tricky but very satisfying project – look forward to the end result – good luck.   Makes me want to have a go now.

    • Mike, any appearance of professionalism is total fluke. I likely need to spend more time playing with the audio.

  • What a great way to preserve your family life 🙂

  • Reminded me a little of when the car in Transformers talks to Shia Lebouf's character using the radio and lines from songs…lol

  • It's an interesting idea, but if you're going to use a separate clip for each picture you really have to cross-fade the songs (one fades out as the other fades in), otherwise it will be a jarring jump at every picture.

    • Stephen,
      No matter what I do, i’m going to have to take way more time getting the audio correct. I’m considering Guzman’s suggestion but most seem to be suggesting the cross fading may be the way to go.

  • Dean,

    Let me offer some pushback by way of my experiences.  When I taught middle school, I would take photos and videos throughout the year and compile them in an annual movie, that we would show at the end of the year with all of the parents in attendance.  it was always a crowd pleaser.  But, after a few years, I started getting bored with it, because I found that year over year – the chronological progression through 7th grade was similar, both academically and developmentally.  I shared this with one of my colleagues and she said, don't do it chronologically, find another way to present the images.  So I started looking for patterns, and themes throughout the year.  I would come up with such themes as "social", "hands-on", "computer work" … -you get the idea.  What I noticed was the relative stamina of these themes – (kids worked with computers year round, but did hands on work in spurts). 
    Ultimately, obviously, it is your project, but I know that when I was challenged to look at the year in a non-linear manner, I noticed patters and themes that I had not before.  It reinvigorated my project and it gave me a new perspective on my year as a teacher.

    • I agree that that’s a perfectly valid approach. The one thing I was hoping to do was alleviate the extensive time at the end of the year and be able to build as I go. I think you can mix it either way and tell a story. Part of it is selfishness on my part to distribute the work load more.

  • I don't have a whole lot to add. I do have to say that I am quite impressed by your ability to pick a song for each picture. Regardless of how you present the final product I hope you do manage to keep going with the songs. What happens if later in the year you want to use a certain song again? Will you allow yourself repeats or be forced to choose something that may seem slightly less appropriate?

    • Jenny,
      No idea about sustainability. I may have to cheat but I’m hoping I don’t.

  • Sia Vogel

    I like it very much! Can you put the viewer through to all the numbers in You Tube or so :-). Great idea! I don't have suggestions but want to let you know how amused I was.

  • I like it. Sure, it's choppy, but so what. You could fade the music and pictures in and out, and perhaps make each picture stay on screen a little bit longer to get more of each song – at the expense of a longer video. But for just a month's video, I don't think it would make it too long. So I'd continue doing this each month, perhaps trying all of the various suggestions above, one each month, and see what happens. Then make two for the whole year – one with your daughter's music, and one with all the songs using whatever you've learned works best over the year. Can't wait for next month.

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  • What if you continued to do a video at the end of each month, just the way you have done this month and then at the end of the year choose a handeful of songs that you feel best related to your year and do a sort of 'year in review' video. This way you eliminate the need to change the order of the pictures. I have to agree with Karl Fisch in that so what if it is choppy, it is your project! This is such an interesting project and I can't wait to follow you as you continue to develop it.

  • What a great idea Dean! A picture a day sure tells a great story. I would love to try this. The first year would not have 365 pictures but it should not take too long to get into the habit of taking one a day.  It is funny because one day I was driving and saw this huge moose and wished that I had my camera. I forgot that my new phone has a camera built into it. Shucks! I think having my phone would definitely help accomplish a picture a day! I find that your video had to buffer for each song and photo. It may just be my computer program? I used Roxio photoshow to put together a slide show for my intern class. There are many themes to choose from along with music. If you upgrade more songs, themes and tools would be available. I think that it costs around 40.00 a year. I have not done that but I thought that it turned out very nice. Also you can choose to drag over your music to all your photos or you can choose music for each one individually. It never has to buffer. Once it is loaded it plays right through with no stops and the trasitions are really nice. You can view mine on my kidblog I created with the 4/5W class. I am trying to link it to you on here but it will not work. I will send the link to facebook. Hope this helps! Good luck!

  • This is truly impressive and a good way of engaging people, i feel a tickle inside that tells me I want to come back and check your fresh images daily 🙂

  • JamieLynn Griffith

    Such a creative twist on the 365 pic project!  Wow!  You could always use instrumental music mixed with quotes too. Music alone w/out words can "say" so much.

  • I like the video it has a good concept. Having a picture a day with a song on it sure tells us a story. 🙂

  • You have brought the 365 project to a whole new level. I struggle to simply upload my photos to the group (I need to do more airline travel)and here you are adding this amazing element to your images. Bravo! Does it make you change how you “see” – do you have a song in mind and then look for a shot at times (or does the song always come after)?

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