Digital Help
Q&A For Digital Photography

Digital Help is designed to aid you in getting the most from your digital photography, printing, scanning, and image creation. Each month, David Brooks provides solutions to problems you might encounter with matters such as color calibration and management, digital printer and scanner settings, and working with digital photographic images with many different kinds of cameras and software. All questions sent to him will be answered with the most appropriate information he can access and provide. However, not all questions and answers will appear in this department. Readers can send questions to David Brooks addressed to Shutterbug magazine, through the Shutterbug website (, directly via e-mail to: or or by US Mail to: David Brooks, PO Box 2830, Lompoc, CA 93438.

To aid us in making Digital Help as helpful as possible, please be specific in your query and include components, including software, that you use. David says, “Make me guess the problem and I might guess wrong.”—Editor

HDTV 1080p Slide Show Creation Is Now Mainstream
I was reading your magazine and came across the HDTV slide show comments sent in by Rich Kolson (January 2010 issue). I had this same problem just before Christmas. Every year I make a slide show of my kids for my mom and mother-in-law. I just got a high-def TV and really wanted to burn a slide show with music in 1080p. I use ProShow Gold and found a way to rip a Blu-ray quality movie on a DVD. You choose to burn a Blu-ray and lower the quality to the lowest setting (something like super-long play). This sets the Mbps rate at about 10 (normally Blu-ray is 25 Mbps), which is about the highest setting for burning a DVD. It will warn you that you are not burning a Blu-ray, but just say OK. Burn the DVD as a Blu-ray and then play it in your Blu-ray player. It rips it in AVCHD, which should play on most Blu-ray players. I have made two slide shows like this and it works great! You should be able to burn about 40 minutes of material like this. Just thought your readers might like to know this.
Garth Hansen
via e-mail

Thanks for contributing your information about HD slide shows. There are quite a few software makers, like Corel, that now have solutions. In addition, since the initial discussion, new operating system software from Apple and Microsoft offers more direct support. Apple’s iLife ’09 suite provides a very inexpensive set of applications that supports 1080p resolution slide show creation. The new Windows 7 seems to have more support with downloaded applications from Microsoft, but I have not had a chance to explore this myself, so my assumption is secondhand. In other words, 1080p resolution digital slide show creation and reproduction seems to be going mainstream.

Time To Upgrade?
Q. I know how to use a computer but I don’t know that much about its internal workings. I know that some video cards are better for image programs because they have more power or are designed for graphics, but I don’t really know the difference between all the different video cards and CPUs.
I’ve been using Elements for a little while and I’ve had a D-SLR less than a year, but I used a Canon A-1 and AE-1 for several years so I already knew how to use a camera before I had a digital one. The problem I had with Elements is not the program, but the fact that it ran so slow and took forever to do anything. My computer is more than 10 years old and I need one with more power. So, is it time to upgrade?
James Mcelroy
via e-mail

A. If you are talking about Apple’s Macs, the model I currently recommend is the Mac mini with a 2.53GHz processor and a 320GB HD, and if you can afford it definitely get the maximum 8GB RAM. Apple components like video cards, CPUs, and hard drives are made by manufacturers to Apple’s requirements, which favor graphics, photographic, and video processing and editing. Similar products are also made for PCs, but especially the graphics cards are usually only available in more expensive graphics workstations.
Adobe’s Photoshop Elements is in many ways an excellent application to begin with if you choose the most recent Version 8, as it has in-depth user learning support and each version is keyed to take advantage of the latest computer/operating system features. But Apple has both an easy iPhoto ’09 that’s efficient and keyed into the rest of the iLife ’09 set of graphics tools. For professional work, I like Apple’s Aperture 2 better than Adobe’s Lightroom, but Adobe just announced a new beta 3 version of Lightroom, which may be better for enthusiasts.
I work with computers all day, seven days a week. I have one Mac Pro, but it is overkill just for digital photography, and my reason for having it is that I also do production work with multi-page book chapters that are huge, and do this with Adobe’s InDesign and Acrobat Pro.

Calibrating And Profiling For LCD Projection
Q. I read your January 2010 reply to Tom Tsakeris, which intrigued me further to search out your August 2009 article on LCD luminance and dark prints. I was further drawn to this August article because I am trying to resolve our photo club’s issue of digitally projected images being brighter than on our members’ home monitors. I am in the process of writing a president’s message to our members to find a resolution for some of the members who have this problem. Their solution has been to darken selective images that were to be presented on the club’s high-end Canon SX7 projector. We have calibrated the projector with the Spyder3Elite, and are aware of our projector’s high brightness values. We encourage the members to calibrate their monitors, but are sure this is not always done. Most use a PC for their photo editing and usually Photoshop. I feel their solution of adjusting by editing each image to our output is a poor choice.
I would like to hear your suggestions for projection now that you have covered prints.
Sam Ruljancich
Seattle Photographic Society

A. If the photographers are color correcting and adjusting images primarily for printing, then there will be a mismatch to your projector. Ideally, you need to be able to measure the range reproduced by the projector. So, what image information can you use with your Spyder3Elite to do just that? There is a new product that may provide the means to make that measurement objectively and accurately, and it is the X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. One of the capabilities of the ColorChecker Passport is that it will work with Photoshop’s Adobe Camera Raw to make .DNG image profiles. So possibly that process could be used, but candidly I don’t know how that would work. But I am sure there are technical experts at X-Rite who could make some suggestions.