Creating an AV

Creating an AV is fun and capitalises on your strengths as a photographer, allowing you to present your photographs in a new way and create rich and compelling stories and art. Read the definition further below and watch some amazing AVs by clicking on the AV Showcase button in the panel to the right.

What do you need to get started? The most widely used AV-dedicated tool is PTE AV Studio that runs on a PC and now on a Mac, while Fotomagico runs only on a Mac. Video editing tools can also be used, such as iMovie (for Macs) and the more powerful Da Vinci Resolve for Macs and PCs; both are available for free. Many other excellent tools are also available. Whichever tool you use, there are a wealth of training videos available online to assist you getting started. For example,

Click here for excellent tutorials on PTE AV Studio from Barry Beckham who is based in Queensland. Click here for one of his starting tutorials. Click here for Da Vinci Resolve tutorials from Casey Faris in the US. The maker of Da Vinci Resolve is an Australian company, Blackmagic Design. 

An AV needs to be crafted to engage the audience, using a combination of images, transitions, music, voice and special effects. As with photography, it is the narrative or story and its impact on the audience that makes or breaks an AV.

Click here to watch an AV about making an AV from Bob Godfrey. It uses the alternative term Diaporama for an AV, a term that never caught on in Australia but is more popular in Europe.

Here is a selection of guides on what makes a great AV and what judges look for:

Producing AV Sequences by Howard Gregory

Some Thoughts on Making a Good AV by Bob Thomas

Some Tips on Commentary & Audio in AVs by Bob Godfrey

Judging AV Competitions by John Hodgson

Judging an AV by Marion Waine

The Royal Photographic Society (RPS) supports a very active AV community in the UK;  click here for their AV resources page.

Click here for the UK-based AV News, a newsletter updated as and when. 

Music in an AV
An appropriate selection of music is often critical to a successful AV.  Music created for films is particularly good. If you also use a voiceover, the music should be instrumental-only without singing, since the narrator's and singer's voices will probably clash. Click here for a good introduction to music for film by John Hess of Flimmaker IQ.

Audiovisual Definitions for APS Approved National and International Salons
(read the definitions given for any specific salon as it may vary)

An Audiovisual (AV) is defined as a sequence of still images where the storyline or theme, sound, transitions and images are interdependent. An effective AV will have unity of its three parts: the conception, the visuals and the sound. Generally, these three elements should reinforce each other such that any one without the other two would be unsatisfactory. Adequate conception involves an idea with a suitable introduction, an interesting development of the idea and an appropriate close. Narrative or text may be employed but is not mandatory. The medium is very flexible and artistic expression within it can take many forms. There is no restriction on subject matter.

Acknowledgement of the work of other artists (e.g. music, text, poetry and images) must be included at the end of the AV. Display of the author’s name is optional but if used it must be at the end.

Each AV gaining an "Acceptance" is eligible for consideration for Licentiate, Associate and Fellowship Honours levels.

APS AV Nationals are Open competitions. A Photo Harmony category will be re-introduced in late 2021 to cater for AVs that focus on images with music.

Entrants are encouraged to explore the photographic medium and to use it to communicate their own personal vision incorporating feeling, senses and imagination to the viewer. The photography is not restricted in any way, either in subject matter or in the manipulation allowed during the taking or reproduction stages of the photography.

The AV must be dominantly based on photographic images. Video clips can be included within an AV provided they are relevant to the story and do not constitute more than 20% of the total duration of the sequence. Other forms of movement or animation derived from still images, including timelapse sequences, stop-motion-effects, pan & zoom, transitions, etc., are all permitted and are not classified as video.

Typical Rules for APS Audiovisual Salons
(you MUST read each Salon's rules as they will vary)

  1. In an open competition there are no restrictions on subject matter.
  2. All entries will be judged primarily on their storytelling, emotional impact or artistic merit.
  3. AVs must be in MP4 file format only. Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) is the preferred AV resolution, but lower resolutions, down to 1024 x 683 pixels with a minimum 3:2 aspect ratio, are acceptable.
  4. Author and co-author names, if used, should be at the end of the AV.
  5. Appropriate credit must be given at the end of the AV to the work of other artists used, i.e. music, poetry, third-party images, etc.
  6. Third-party images should be used only where they are important to the story and where it was not possible for the author to have captured those images.
  7. Video clip inserts are allowed in AVs but must not exceed 20% of the total duration of the AV. This limit excludes simulated motion, timelapse photography, computer-generated transitions or other similar mechanisms designed to simulate movement, which are all acceptable AV components.
  8. Submission of an AV explicitly indicates that the author:
    1. Gives APS permission for the AV to be shown in public or on the APS website and publication of a representative image in an approved APS magazine
    2. Indemnifies the organisers against all and any actions that may be taken against them by copyright owners of any third-party copyrighted material used. The organisers of the competition will accept no responsibility in the event of dispute or litigation.