Slidecasting

It sounds easy. *Slide – casting*. To slide is to let gravity do the work for you. To cast is to let momentum do the work: you flick your fishing pole with the right amount of force and the bit of weight at the end of the thin line does the rest of the work. Slidecasting itself is not so easy, as I learned this morning, trying to put the Project Bamboo 4/6 presentation on-line.

I should admit upfront that I own [Profcast][pc], but I have had some difficulties using it, and I wasn’t sure if it would allow me to edit the voiceover narration and/or add some background sound. I decided I would post everything in iMovie, because I still have the 06 version which allows for multiple soundtracks. (As an added bonus, I know how to use it: I have yet to “kin” iMovie 08.)

Well, if you’re going to do soundtracks, and you’re working at the consumer level, the place to start, on a Mac, is GarageBand. *Oh, cool, there’s a podcasting option which even allows you to drag in artwork. I outputted my slides from Keynote and made them available in GarageBand.* I quickly typed up a transcript of what I had said in May — I typed in TextMate while flipping through slides in Keynote — and read into my MBP’s screen. And now I know to use a proper microphone. The built-in microphone has too much hiss. I lined up all my slides at the appropriate places in the voiceover, dragged in some background music, and was ready to explort, er, “share,” my production. The resulting file is an MPEG-4 audio file. It’s 3.6MB and has tiny images that do in fact transition at the right time.

I am just not too sure how many people would know what to do with it. Even on my own computer, iTunes wanted to open it and play only the audio. Okay, so back to Plan A. Export audio out of GarageBand — make sure it’s an AIF file — and import it into iMovie. Now import images. Wait, iMovie does not like PNG files. Huh. Export out of Keynote using Quicktime.

Various trials and lots of errors there, including then opening the exported file in Quicktime to save it as an MP4 file because iMovie does not like MOV files. (What’s going on Apple? It’s your own container format. I believe the saying is: eat your own dog food.) So back to Plan A. Audio plus images. Export images as JPGs. Wait, iMovie keeps cropping them.

Finally, I figured out how to go into *Photo Settings* and turn off this obnoxious behavior. Once the images were in, I went through them and synced them with the audio by adjusting their length using *CMD + I*. I simply kept a running tally of the start and stop points of the clips as they went along on a piece of paper and worked from that: 0:00 0:14 0:40 1:50 2:04 … and so on. All that done, I dropped some music in — not because I think I’m that good but because the hissing of the microphone needed to be cloaked in some fashion and I am not so fond of the sound of my own voice that I wanted to record myself all over again. The short of it is: the slidecast is done, and it’s up. It’s [here][pbsc].

[pc]: http://www.profcast.com/
[pbsc]: http://johnlaudun.org/share/pb46-medium.mov