If you’re looking for a way to produce a simple audio slide show (stills combined with either music or an ambient sound/interview track) that is fairly straightforward and does not require extensive training, look into a program called SoundSlides. Labeling itself as “Ridiculously Simple Storytelling,” it is just that. I have been producing multimedia for three years now, and for the first two and a half I produced everything in SoundSlides. With it I was able to deliver professional, plug-and-play features to my clients.
Created in the late 1990s by former photojournalist Joe Weiss, SoundSlides is basically an easy to use Flash template for photographers. You import an audio file plus a folder of JPEGs, and arrange the images on a time line as you see fit. Hit export, and SoundSlides creates a folder (named “publish-to-web”) that you can easily upload to the web.
If you want to get your feet wet in producing multimedia, or if you have a fairly simple presentation you want to create, SoundSlides is a great way to go. One limitation is that if you have a feature that is longer than 2-3 minutes which uses more than 40-50 images, the interface can get crowded and harder to use. Also, if you want complete manual control, it is not the best software choice. I migrated to Final Cut Pro recently for these reasons, but Final Cut has a significantly steep and off-putting learning curve. SoundSlides can be learned and used much more quickly, and is designed specifically for producing audio slide shows (no video). Plus, its inexpensive ($39.95 or $69.95, depending on which version you choose), and has an online community of users that are generally helpful. I am in no way associated or affiliated with this product, just a happy user.
Some examples of features created with SoundSlides published online:
The Photographer: The Making of a Graphic Novel
Jazz 2009 Tales
Under One Roof