Friday, August 08, 2008

The Boy of Sax

I´ve been messing around with a program called Soundslides to create an audio slideshow, and because I had photos of Patrick, our son, I decided to use them as a basis for a little story. People I know who do multimedia say it´s simple. Well, for me it wasn´t. Watch the slideshow first, and then read about my little ordeal.

Ths slideshow with music and voiceover is here..

Jamming with Phil Woods. Baltimore Sun photo

Whining about technology follows

Soundslides is easy, all the multimedia people told me. You just load in the pictures, load an audio file, move the photos around and basically you have an audio slide show. In theory.

First, I have an Olympus digital recorder that records in a format used on PCs called WMA. You can´t use files in that format in Soundslides. You have to convert them to MP3s. I tried converting the files in several programs on my Mac (including iTunes and Garage Band) without success, so I bought a little program called EasyWMA, which was, as advertised, easy. $10.

Then I tried using a free software program called Audacity to edit the four sound files I had. All of the multimedia people say Audacity is easy, a piece of cake, but I couldn´t get the thing to work on my Mac, even after retracing my steps and downloading it more than once, restarting the computer, etc. Wouldn´t work. So then I loaded Audacity onto Cindy´s PC, shipped the MP3 files to her computer, and everything worked fine.

Then I loaded the audio and video into Soundslides on my Mac, and again, not all of the functions work, despite my paying $69 for the super version of Soundslides. Among the functions that don´t perform are some that have to do with captions and credits.

Then when you´re done, you find that you can´t just publish your Soundslides project to your blog. You have to post it to a server somewhere. That was a complicated process that had more than 15 steps to it ( A little tutorial on Soundslides´ website was invaluable. Thank you for that.

It´s easy, if you know how to do it. So here´s the slideshow. I´m not even that concerned about its quality. It´s my first time editing sound. I´m just glad I was able to do it at all.

Also an update on daughter Bridget

She is the dancer who lives in Germany. She was in Santiago, Chile, in July and August to perform in a gala. She choreographed a pas de deux that she and a dancer from the Stuttgart Ballet performed. She got a nice review in the local paper.

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