Would you like a good tool for making online narrated slideshows? I recommend Soundslides, a software designed especially for photojournalists who needed a quick and easy way to publish online stories. Soundslides is inexpensive ($69.95), and super easy to operate. Here’s how it works: Into a Soundslides project window you drag and drop a folder of .jpeg photos and an .mp3 file for a soundtrack. From these, Soundslides automatically makes a show that plays exactly the length of the soundtrack.
There are two ways to coordinate a soundtrack with a story sequence. Either you make the soundtrack as you see the images playing on your screen. Or, you record the narration first, reading from a prepared script, and then synchronize the images to the recording by dragging the edges of each frame. Soundslides incorporates the latter method. Take if from one who has tried both ways, this is by far the better one!
After you have prepared a Soundslides show and are ready to publish it to the web you give the “Export” command. This generates a folder of files which you then upload by FTP to a Web server. With your web browser open, you click on the URL of that uploaded folder, Instantly the slideshow plays in a new tab of your web browser. The images are large and clear! You can preset how large you want them to display, whether you want the show to loop, what color the video window will be, and whether you want captions and credits to show. You can also make the images zoom and pan. If you want to make the Soundslides show into an .mp4 video you can upload a zipped copy of the project folder to a Soundslides converter web page and receive a link to the video file by email after the video has been rendered.
There are many tools for making slideshows. I like Soundslides best because it’s fast and easy, and your photos display with such excellent clarity!
Want a Soundslides sample? Have a look at a 15 minute show of my recent trip to Southeast Asia, entitled Returning to Vietnam.
The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism has a good tutorial video about Soundslides here: http://jour3610.wordpress.com/, under the heading “Creating Audio Slideshows.”