Another Kind of Flash

There is nothing more dangerous than a photographer with a new sandbox to play in creative outlet.

Witness you guys and off-camera flash.

Well, I have been bitten by a bit of a bug, too. And I though I would take a moment to share some info.

We are being encouraged to produce Flash gallery slideshows to go with our stories. It gives us a wonderful amount of space in which to work. We can also add music, natural sound, or both.

My first effort was on the Morgan State University band camp. In retrospect, I was so worried about getting sound that I ended up with way too much to use. Fear of something new will do that to you.

In the future, I will balance my efforts more between sound and pictures.

If you want to wander around on the page, I recommend John Makely's "Ravens Training Camp," Algerina Perna's "Smith Island," and Doug Kapustin's "Trophy Babies."

All are better examples than my first effort. But I am really getting into this and hope to catch up fast.

If you work for a paper (or just want to play around with it) this is far easier and cheaper than you might expect. In fact, you can try it out for free.

The Flash gallery generator is called Soundslides. You can demo it for free, but it sticks the word "demo" on your projects. The full version is only $39.95 US. Demo or not, be sure to download the latest version, as earlier ones are a little buggy.

For sound editing, you'll want Audacity. It is totally free in all versions, and is a fantastic little sound editing program.

For sound content, you can just record into your computer mic, or use pre-existing .mp3's. The latter would be just for playing around and learning, not broadcasting or web publishing. Please respect the copyright holders.

Since we are grabbing natural sound and interviews, most of the Sun photographers are now carrying around $88.00 Olympus DS-2 flash recorders. They are just a little bigger than a pack of gum and do just great for web audio.

You can increase the sound quality and reduce noise greatly with an external mic. Good ones are out there for ~$50 US.

It also helps to monitor the sound as you record. I use normal earbud headphones.

In short, you can try it out for free. Or be as equipped as you need to be for less than $200 US.

I know that we happen to have some sound professionals among the site's readers, so you might want to post an (OT) question on the Flickr discussion board, and I am sure they could point you to some neat resources.

In addition to web galleries, it seems to me that this would also be a great portfolio generator program for people wanting to add sound and or music to their presentations.


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