February 17, 2005 · Lessig
In a comment to my last post, Is there such a hack?, Andrew Ducker writes,
If you’re going to be sending the presentation in advance and then synchronising it to your voice over the internet, why not shortcut the whole process and simply add your voice to the presentation. They can just watch/listen to the presentation and you can take questions “live” at the end. The other advantage there being that you can also allow people to download the presentations, giving you worldwide coverage!
Indeed, why don’t I? Because it is insanely hard to do — insanely, because it seems like such an obvious feature for, e.g., a PPT or Keynote presentation, but it just doesn’t exist now (with any sort of reliability). You can record a narration, e.g., in a ppt presentation, but there’s no guarantee that the narration will actually stay fixed with the slide advances. You can manually carve up a narration into individual MP3s that get attached to each slide, and fix the timing problem, but who has time for something like that? And though Keynote promised something like this, I’ve yet to see how it can be used to make a truly, stand-alone, presentation.
Flash seems the most obvious platform to do this in, but again, it took lots of work to get this to work. And while Keynote promises Flash export capability, the output is not the same as the input.
I’ve seen products that promise to convert ppt to Flash, but I’ve not seen one that gives you a source file that you can work with. But am I missing something? I’d give my right arm (though I am left handed) for a simple, automatic tool to produce stand-alone presentations, and I’d even commit to making every one of my presentations available for free one existed (which is incentive enough for some not to produce it perhaps), but so far, I’ve not found it. Has someone else?