I’d always approached Soundslides with great skepticism. I didn’t understand why on Earth anyone would want to use Soundslides to create a photoessay when tools such as Final Cut, Premiere or, heck, even iMovie exist. Until I actually sat down in front of the program and explored what it could do, only then did I realize how valuable of a tool it can be.
For starters, it’s important to remember Soundslides wasn’t developed for users of programs like Premiere, Final Cut or Avid. It was developed to be an easy-to-use tool for photographers, journalists, students, educators, etcetera. In other words, it was meant for people who don’t often find themselves doing tons of video editing or web developing. While professionals certainly can use the program, it is aimed at a demographic that is less multimedia savvy.
Approach Soundslides with an open mind. If you are a tech control freak like I am, you will be taken aback by how little control you have in Soundslides. For example, once an audio track is imported, the photographs you select will automatically conform to the length of that audio clip. You cannot extend the visual element beyond or before the audio. The program forces you to begin and end the photography display with the beginning and end of the audio track you import. Also, there are no mixing, volume or EQ controls in Soundslides. Any audio editing you want to do must be done ahead of time in your audio program of choice.
Other than those twitchy characteristics, Soundslides is a rather handy program. You can quickly throw photos over a narration while adding interactive captions. If you opt for Soundslides Plus, as I did for my project, you have the option to put motion on photos (panning and zooming) or add lower thirds. It’s up to you if you feel like spending the extra cash for a few more features. (Or you can always just go ahead and work with the trial version. It just adds a little disclaimer at the beginning.)
I enjoyed my time working with Soundslides for my look back on my first musical experience. I have since used the program for several other projects. The real benefit is the ease with which you can post your project to the web. All you have to do is click export and Soundslides puts your project into a handy publish_to_web folder just waiting for an online home.
Ease-of-Use – A
Editor Control – D
Intuitiveness – C
Web-Friendliness – A