Sound Slides

Posted by Brian Paris on Jan 1, 2009 in Blog |

I have been getting ready for the new semester here at school.  One of the projects that the students will be working on is a photo slideshow with audio.  I needed to find the best software for the student to complete the project.  I had a few requirements that I would like to have in any program.  First, these are Journalism students, so I don’t want anything that involves code writing.  It is about storytelling, not computer technology.  Second, I would like it to output a flash slideshow.  Flash is a more efficient way than video of showing photos.  (Although, I did look at alternatives that produced video files)  I also needed to be able to edit to an audio track.  Moving picture effect was also something that I was looking for.  There were a couple of other things that I was looking for, but was not able to find in my search.

So after looking around at a lot of different options, I found that the best choice was Sound Slides.  This was a program that was created for journalist, by a journalist.  It is a very simple user interface, but it allows for high quality results.  You import jpegs to create photo slideshows and audio if you want to create audio slideshows.  If you are creating a non-audio slideshow you can choose the order of the photos, the transition type, and time, and change the color of the player to match your website.  You can also edit captions that can be desplayed with each photo.  With the Plus edition you are able to edit the pictures to your imported audio file.

There were a couple of features that I would have liked to have in the program.  For one, basic audio editing would be a great time saver.  Right now you have to edit in another program and import the audio file into Sound Slides.  The ability to write text slides would also be nice.  They have a caption feature and you can key people but there isn’t a place where you can lay out text anywhere on the screen.  The best solution is to create a slide in Photoshop with any text that you want.  Let me know in the comments if you know of any solution out there that has all of these features.

I have found quite a few newspapers using the same software on their online sites (or at least I think it is).  Check out some great audio slideshows at the Chicago Tribune site, the Lexington Herald Leader Photographers site, or search through the Sound Slides showcase forum.

Additional Information: Eamon Hickey has a good writeup of the application on Rob Galbraith’s Digital Photography insights website.  Berkley’s Knight Digital media center also has a good tutorial on using the program.

You can purchase the software, (or download a trial version), find the manuals, and forums at the Sound Slides site.

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