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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Audio-Photo Slideshow

Remember in school when you were forced to sit through those narrated slideshows about everything from 'Life on the Farm' to 'Secrets of the Depth'? Well, they're back. They're on-line and growing in popularity.

With so many more people accessing the internet through some sort of high-speed connection streaming audio and still images/videos are getting more and more popular. You will find this 'new/old phenomena' everywhere - from personal blogs and homepages to online newspapers and photo agencies (Magnum Photos being just one example).

A few weeks ago, Rob Galbraith wrote an interesting article about the growing popularity of online slideshows that you can read here.

I got curious and created a small test show myself named '94114'
(Click on the image below to view it - don't forget to turn up your volume).

(If the link above doesn't work try this one).

It was surpringly easy - and fun - to put together and it took less than two hours to create the slideshow. Much of that time was spent playing with the features and if I was to create a new one it could probably be done in an hours time (using recorded voices/ambient sound would ofcourse add significant editing time but could make for a much more interesting showing).

The tools I used for this test were all free;
* The Soundslides tool (not free-ware but allow you to use a demo-version until you've figured out if you want to purchase a copy),

* Free hosting of the files.
Note that soundslides doesn't create one quicktime file (or anything along those lines) but rather utilizes flash technology. This requires you to uplod a number of files/directories to a server that you then can point to (as in my link above). If you already have a server this is not an issue for you - but if you don't you will need some sort of free host. The one I used was www.webNG.COM. (Caution: It's free but the allocated bandwidth you get is pretty limited so if you are expecting a high number of people to access your slideshows it will most likely make sense to rent some server space from one of the many hosting services around).

So - you may have thought that the days of the A/V clubs were over but beware..they are alive and kicking..and they are coming to a site near you...


Anonymous John said...

Rich that was amazing and inspirational. Your photographs, words and music all meld into one unified theme. Simply brilliant.

October 26, 2006 11:18 PM  
Blogger Rich Silfver said...

Thanks John.
Now I want to see one on Alapan :)

October 26, 2006 11:21 PM  
Anonymous bill said...

Hi Rich.. I tracked you down from your comment in the Soundslide forum about using Webng to host your Soundslide.
I've had a blog for a number of years and using both Photobucket and Vimeo to remote load my photos and video, but I've never before had to deal with a real website hosting company such as webng.
I am having a great deal of trouble with getting my test soundslide to work with Webng and I thought maybe if you had some time on your hands you could lead me through the process step by step, or at least give me a clue as to what I am missing:
Here is what I am doing and what is happening:
I created a soundslide and saved it to my desktop in it's folder and it all works just fine.
In my new webng account, I created a directory and as Joe from Soundslides said to do, I uploaded the files from the publish_to_web folder, one file at a time. Everything goes smoothly into the directory.
Then clicking above on "current url" a soundslide does come up, but it is totally black and blank.. that is, no images or sound whatsoever. not even a play button.
I've messed with it a "hundred" different times.. creating new test slide shows, manually typing index.html or small.html onto the url, but all to no avail.
got any ideas on what I am doing (or not doing) that is preventing my success in this?
Thanks for any assistance
bill (in washington, dc)
my email is

February 13, 2007 1:41 PM  
Blogger Rich Silfver said...


I know, it's kind of a pain but here are some steps that hopefully can help:

1) Create a home directory on WebNG (let's call it 'Project').

2) Load the 5-6 files from the publish to web folder here

3) Now create two sub-directories under the "Project"-folder:
- 400_300 and
- 600_450

(Note that the directories have to be called this and you have to use underscores)

4) Now load the files from those two directories that are in your PC/Mac to these two sub directories

(Note: If you got a PC WebNG has an upload tool that allows you to move multiple files at the same time).

5) Now you should be able to run your slideshow by using a URL like[your userid]/[name of the head directory like 'Project']

Hope that helps

February 13, 2007 2:18 PM  
Anonymous bill said...

Thanks Rich.. it's too late for me to get into this tonight (yawn) but I will definitely follow your steps tomorrow and let you know how it turns out. (Normally I am a Mac guy but my 2001 imac os 10.2.8 is not up the job of creating Soundslides, so I'm having to use my wife's new Dell pc to do everything, which is still another area of unfamiliarity to me.. a new Intel iMac is scheduled in for mid-july) -bill :-)

February 13, 2007 6:19 PM  
Blogger Rich Silfver said...

You're in sort of luck then since I think the multiple-file load tool on webNG only works for PC :)

Do let me know how it works out for you - and if the slideshow is for public display post the link here as well :)

February 13, 2007 6:44 PM  
Anonymous bill said...

EUREKA! it works! Rich, you are a wonder.. thanks a million (may you win the lottery :-)
I would have never thought to create sub-directories for the images. So I am glad I ask you...and I think I'll be OK from here on (but if not, I'll be back :-D )
I'm not ready to post a real show yet but here's my test SS which is just 2 random photos (one of my wife when she was just a wee thing and the other from a photoshop project) along with a 30 second clip of jazz.

again, thanks a bunch
bill (in washington, dc)

February 14, 2007 1:43 PM  
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