Wilmslow Guild Audio Visual Group

Audio Visual is a unique combination of photography and sound, blended together to produce a result known as an ‘AV Sequence’ which is limited only by the imagination and skill of the producer.   

Audio-Visual techniques can be employed to make:

  -  enjoyable, and therefore more effective, ‘Powerpoint’- type presentations,

  -  pictures-to-music productions which are more satisfying and enjoyable than those normally encountered
      on-line or in photographic societies,

  -  more elaborate sequences which tell a story of some sort - using the word ‘story’ in the widest possible sense.

If you start with an idea, then take pictures to support and develop that idea, the result is usually more satisfactory than making a sequence from whatever pictures you already happen to have.

Obviously pictures and sound are the raw ingredients, but it's what you do with them that determines whether you have made an audio-visual sequence or merely a slide show which happens to take place whilst some sound is being played.   It is the complete sequence that counts, not the individual components.  An effective sequence will have unity of concept, visuals and sound.  These should reinforce and support each other to create a satisfactory whole.

AV requires a slightly different approach to photography.  Suppose you're going out to take pictures for a landscape competition.   You may well put your camera on a tripod and spend several hours taking the same view as the light changes, or taking the same subject from slightly different angles.   You will arrive home with dozens of quite similar pictures.   Hopefully one will prove to be a winner.  This could be called a ‘photographic mindset.’

It would be difficult to make an AV in this way.   A sequence of very similar pictures would quickly bore the audience.

To keep their interest a variety of distant, medium and close up etc shots is needed to inject some dynamics into the sequence.  You will need dozens to hundreds of good pictures.

When you get more advanced, you will be thinking about what pictures will come before and after the one you are taking, and compose so that the pictures will "melt" one into the next, rather than merely ‘change.’   The ideal composition of a picture intended to be part of the flow of a sequence may differ from the ideal composition of a similar picture intended to be viewed on its own.  

Many seemingly simple pictures are composed of elements from several original pictures.  This enables even greater scope for pleasing visual progression.   Elements of a picture can be changed rather than changing the whole picture, further enhancing the sense of visual ‘flow.’

Similarly, the soundtrack and how it relates to the pictures, should be borne in mind at all times even if it's just one piece of music.  Pictures and sound should fuse together into a single entity, a single experience, so must be considered together, right from the outset.   These points are all part of the ‘AV mindset.’

One of the hardest things to start with is to be able to switch off your ‘photographic mindset’ and switch on an ‘AV mindset’ when required.

The final technique to master is production - the process of bringing together all of the component parts to make a sequence which is truly greater than the sum of those parts.   

The use of skilful digital manipulation of images and sound is encouraged.   As with all such techniques, manipulation can easily be overdone and result in an effect counter productive to the author's intentions.

So there we have it - Audio Visual sequences are not just about pictures and sound - it can become a whole new way of looking at, and communicating about, the world around us.   That is what makes AV so fascinating.   So many avenues to explore.   So many skills to practice.  So many interesting places to obtain pictures or sounds - places that you might not otherwise consider visiting.   Places that you experience through different eyes, and ears, because you are looking for different pictures and becoming aware of the sound around you.

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