Internet Lectures Research


Benefits of Web lectures
Scope of opportunity
TFAO financial assistance
Other multimedia projects
For further study
Responses to inquiries


responses to "for further study" inquiries


In response to "for further study" inquiries to representatives of institutions and vendors TFAO received the following responses. Some responses have been edited.

1. Response dated 6/11/04 from Totally Hip Technologies Inc., (604) 685-6525 ext. 226:

What are URLs of examples of Web lectures already created by museums?
While we do not have specific examples to point you to for museums, we do have many listed in the showcase portion of our website that various educational institutions have created. You can visit our showcase at:
Which brands and models of camcorder equipment can be used to create audio sound tracks?
Most any new DV video camcorder is able to capture audio that can then be transferred to a computer and used as a sound track.
Which camcorders allow input from outside audio feeds?
Most new DV camcorders allow you to plug in an external microphone or other audio feeds. All of Sony's new MiniDV camcorders allow for this.
What does such a camcorder cost?
MiniDV camcorders range in price depending upon the quality and features that are required. A general price range to look at for a consumer level camcorder is $650 - $1500
Alternately, what types of computer-connected microphones are available to record audio segments. What does this type of microphone cost?
There are many microphones that can be used for this type of recording. The price range for microphones is very large as it will depend upon the type of quality you are looking for in addition to the type of interface that it uses. Generally speaking for this type of application you can purchase a mid-range consumer microphone and achieve acceptable results. Microphones can start as low as $10 for a low end computer-connected mic, to well over $3000 for a professional level microphone. We would suggest looking at a microphone that costs under $100 for this type of application.
What software can be used to create the audio files?
There are many software packages that can be used for audio file capturing. Many slide show and video applications include audio recording. You can also purchase specialized audio applications to allow you to edit and mix these audio files. For this type of application we would suggest using a lower end audio capture application as editing and mixing needs would be minimal.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each program?
On the high end, a production audio tool such as ProTools has many advantages. It is well known in the audio industry, it provides high quality results, and offers support from a trusted vendor. Some drawbacks include the prohibitive cost of hardware/software, learning curve for using the software, and the fact that it is most likely overkill for the type of slide show uses described in this document. On the lower to mid end you are provided with a product that can be quite intuitive to use and doesn't require much time or effort to get used to. The quality and capabilities of the product will certainly not be as high as a high end solution, but for the type of web solution you may find that this type of solution is quite acceptable.
What does such software cost when used for non-profit education purposes?
Using the low or mid end solutions for non-profit educational purposes can be very cost effective. Again the ease of use of many of the software packages available today is quite remarkable. Generally costs for these packages can be low (sub $100) and the results they provide can be quite good.
What easy-to-use software is needed to create the Web lectures from .jpg images and audio files?
LiveSlideShow is a great example of such a program (yes we are touting our own horn here, Totally Hip Technologies does make this software package). Please feel free to try a demo from our website at On the higher end we offer a package called LiveStage Professional -- this application is a full multimedia authoring environment that lets you integrate audio, images, video, 3D, VR, etc. Many educational institutions are using this package to create online learning packages. [7]
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each program?
LiveSlideShow: Advantages: ease of use, low cost, cross-platform project and finished files, small file sizes, easily add text to slides, easy to deploy on web sites/CD-ROM/etc. Disadvantages: Does not allow you to integrate video. LiveStage Professional: Advantages: very powerful -- allows you to integrate over 200 media types, cross-platform project and finished files, QuickTime movie files as final output (doesn't require proprietary viewer) Disadvantages: higher cost than slide show only packages, learning curve can be quite steep, may be overkill for many slide show only uses
What does such software cost?
LiveSlideShow; $34.95 USD (educational) LiveStage Professional: $349.95 USD (educational) Full retail prices for these packages are available on our website at
Which software needed to play a Web lecture on a person's browser?
In the software packages listed above, the only requirement is QuickTime Player -- available as a free download from In many other cases you need to utilize a proprietary viewer for a slide show, or java based slide show viewer is used.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each program?
QuickTime is a cross-platform application that has a large installation base on both the Macintosh and Windows environments. QuickTime recognizes that you are viewing a slide show and it will display your information as such -- ie. it will not treat it as if it were "video". This is important as your file size is kept to a minimum, and your processor requirements are reduced. QuickTime allows you to add interactivity to your slide shows -- ie. you can include text in the slide show and have it link to a web page for more information about a select topic if you wish, or have it load a video, etc. Windows Media Player / Real Player: These treat your slide show as video. Your file size increases substantially, your image quality can degrade due to compression that is used to attempt to reduce file size, and your playback requirements are increased. Proprietary solutions can be quite a disadvantage as they in most cases are not cross-platform (ie. they will only play back on Windows and ignore Macintosh users), and cannot easily be used on a web page. While Java based solutions are in most cases cross platform, they can be quite processor intensive.
Which is most widely pre-bundled with new computers or advantageous from an plug-in download standpoint?
QuickTime is included by default on all new Macintosh computers in addition to all new HP computer. QuickTime is also bundled with many cameras (ie. Canon), and is also installed with other applications (ie. iTunes). QuickTime has had over 250 million downloads from their website alone.
How much time is needed to complete each task required to create a Web lecture?
We would break this up into four different tasks, namely:
1 - Creating slides
2 - Recording audio
3 - Putting slides and audio together
4 - Putting the finished slide show up on the website
The time required to complete each task will largely vary depending upon the length of the web lecture and the tools that are used (some are more complex than others). In general for recording audio you can double the actual talking time to get your time to record (ie. if your entire slide show is 5 minutes, the time to record that audio will be 10 minutes, taking into account errors etc.). The creation of the slides can take a lot of time (ie. if complex charts etc. need to be generated) or not much time at all (ie. if a photograph that has already been taken is used). The putting together of the slides and the audio with a very intuitive solution such as LiveSlideShow can take just a few minutes depending upon the number of slides added. Adding the slide show to a website can also be done in a relatively short period of time if the file that is uploaded is already conformed for the web (as is the case with LiveSlideShow files).
What organizations should be contacted to shed light on these above questions?
Educational institutions that are already creating these types of web lectures would give lots of insight to the process etc. You can visit our showcase website to see some educational institutions (and corporations) that are making great use of our software to create web lectures and other interactive pieces.

Follow-up response dated 11/2/04 from Totally Hip Technologies Inc., (604) 685-6525 ext. 226:

You can most certainly synch your slides in advance and just have the user watch the already synchronized slideshow. You can also include the navigation buttons to allow the user to click through the slides at their leisure. Please feel free to try our demo to see the differences in the two styles.
LiveSlideShow does indeed include the ability to record audio directly within the application. Simply go to the Audio tab and then click the Record button. :-) Again, please feel free to try out our demo to give this functionality a try to make sure that it works as described.
With regards to the recording that's done in LiveSlideShow, it will need to be done in pieces. If it's done as one continuous recording, then you will need to use another application to "break up" the audio into pieces. There are numerous software packages out there that do audio editing for both the Mac and PC. I would suggest doing a quick Google search to find applications that meet your needs in terms of functionality and cost.

2. Response dated 6/11/04 from Brad Ishida, Programming Art, LLC:

I am the co-owner of Programming Art, LLC. Please feel free to send me questions direct to or just include ATTN:Brad to this support address. Our Easy Slide Show Creator software has become quite well known, so I imagine that is how you found us. When we release the next version of ESSC, it will contain many new features, including web-oriented slide shows, so you may be interested in reviewing this software when it is completed later this year.

3. Response dated 6/15/04 from Steven Allison-Bunnell, PhD, Senior Producer & Writer - Educational Web Adventures, 418 Woodford St., Missoula, MT 59801-4044

Thank you very much for your message regarding your research on Web-based
slide shows. Please visit the following area of our Web site for a listing of links to
our publications regarding online learning activities, several of which may
be of interest to you in your research.

4. In 2004 Dr. Mathew Mitchell, Department of Learning and Instruction, School of Education at the University of San Francisco provided to TFAO valuable insights into preparing effective audio recordings:

Dr. Mitchell introduced TFAO to his web site. A section within the website is named "Galleries" containing "Tutorial Movies" which provide valuable insights for audio recordings and editing. [8]

On December 21 -23, 2004 Dr. Mitchell made further suggestions on producing acceptable audio.

Rather than inserting audio clips within an image, Dr. Mitchell favors using a continuous audio clip with images timed within the audio to produce a smooth presentation without "break ups" in the audio.
In answering a question on hardware he discouraged the use of USB microphones that connect directly to computers due to insufficient sound quality.
Regarding a question on audio capture software he answered: "The key is not so much "audio capture" software, but what's the quality of audio sound you want? For instance, to have a professional set up (all materials including hardware and software) for spoken voice recordings would cost about $1500. Is this a lot of money? Yes, and no. I take the stance that I want the audio I use to be at the highest quality possible. There's a very good mid-level solution that would cost about $700-800 total. Then there's a low-mid end package that seems to be pretty good at about $425. Once you get below that last level, then you'll always have serious quality issues no matter what your software is!" For editing software he advises "...on the Mac the best audio editing software is Peak. Peak LE can be bought for about $69. On the Windows end the best audio editing package is Adobe Audition (it also does mixing). It costs $140 for educational prices." He explained that for a long continuous recording Peak or Audition will provide for cutting up the narration into pieces by means of "markers & regions in Peak or cues in Audition."
For a mid-level cost audio recording solution he suggests: "Digidesign's Mbox (about $450) plus a decent microphone (e.g. Sennheiser MD46 or MD421ii). Mbox comes with recording software, and mixing software, but does not do a great job with editing. Windows folks would want Audition, Mac folks would want Peak LE. I have, and several of my students have, the Mbox and have been quite happy with it. Direct recording into the computer." Another consideration would be the Marantz PMD670: "A portable recording device. Lightweight, but highly regarded. Equivalent to the Mbox solution. Audio is recorded to a compact flash disk (which has some 'insurance' advantages over recording directly to the computer). You can buy a very good package (with recorder) for this at Broadcast Supply for $900. Truly portable, probably better than Mbox if several people will be using. Product alone (w/o package) is $700."
For low-end: "Fostex MR8. Can buy as a recording package at Broadcast Supply Worldwide. For $350 you can get the complete recording package. Very good deal. I have one student who has this product and has been happy with it. He'll probably upgrade his microphone in the future, but otherwise a decent product. Records to a compact flash disk."
Regarding Microphones: "Some of the packages named above come with microphones, but as default suggestions I would put forward 2 of the Sennheiser microphones: the MD46 for "live interview" or portable situations, and the MD421ii for more permanent studio situations. They are about $169 and $329 respectively. The latter mic is used in a lot of radio stations."

5. Response dated 10/26/04 from Seth Kaufman of American Museum of Natural History produced a 5-minute narrated slide presentation Introduction to the American Museum Congo Expedition 1909-1915. The Flash presentation on the Congo site was produced by Seth Kaufman of Mr. Kaufman responded to general questions on narrated slide shows (not necessarily the recording of the actual voices of lecturers at museums) posed by TFAO on October 24, 2004:

If I was going to summarize some key points for someone doing a multimedia presentation online, I'd list the most important as:
1. Don't skimp on the narration. Get a voice-over professional, or at the least a trained actor, to do the reading. Using amateurs is one of the surest ways to ruin the project.
2. Use the best recording set-up you can afford. Recording in a studio with real equipment makes a *huge* difference. Although you can get pretty good sound with a $100 mike and a $200 mini-disc recorder if you are very careful, nothing comes close to a proper studio. (We recorded the AMNH voice-overs in the production studio of a local radio station).
3. Don't try to fix a poorly recorded voice-over. No amount of post-processing is going to get a bad voice-over to sound good. Spend money on recording it right, not fudging it later. (The latter happens more often than you think).
4. Storyboard your visuals to the narration to develop an idea of length and pacing. Macromedia Flash is a great way to do this. It's simple even for a beginner to bring the sound in and synchronize visual elements.
On the format question, we love Flash. It's an efficient, widely supported format that is truly cross-platform. You never have to worry about a piece playing differently on Mac OS, Windows and Linux. The animation tools are excellent and support for streaming audio and video quite good making it an ideal platform for browser-based multimedia.
Macromedia Director used to be a favorite of ours, but few people these days have the browser plug-in (which is a large download in any case), thus consigning it to CD-ROM use. For disk-based presentations it's still quite viable, in my opinion at least.
We are not too fond of SMIL [9] because although intended to be net-based and cross-platform, the various implementations from Real and Apple are so uneven and unreliable (in Real's case at least) that developing for it is maddening. It has wonderful potential to support simple presentations, and some groups have used it in the QuickTime arena effectively for years (the public broadcaster WGBH comes to mind), but unless you are targeting a QuickTime-only audience I wouldn't bother with it.

6. Response dated 11/6/04 from Liza Kirwin, Curator of Manuscripts, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution:

...we do encourage organizations, such as museums and art societies to record and perserve their own records, including public programs, and the like. We also encourage them to establish and maintain their own archives, which would mean they would catalogue their own material.


7. About LiveSlideShow:

On Apple Computer's web site a page about LiveSlideShow says "...Offers Macintosh and Windows users the most effective presentation tool for digital images available to consumers today. Being a QuickTime based product, slide show movies created with LiveSlideShow can easily be shared between Macintosh and Windows computer systems." says " LiveSlideShow is the easiest way to create a slideshow for sending via Email or posting on the Internet. Simply supply your images, specify between slide transitions and export your slideshow as a QuickTime Movie "
In a MacCentral article by Jim Dalrymple, dated November 7, 2001 the article reports that "LiveSlideShow 2.0 features a built-in voice recorder so you can narrate your entire presentation, if you wish"
On the LiveSlideShow web page there is a link for an "information flyer." The information flyer says that "LiveSlideShow's built-in voice recorder allows you to create voiceovers for each of your slides. This perfect for adding narrative descriptions..."
In a Kodak web page on the 2.0 version of the software, Kodak says "LiveSlideShow is the ideal slideshow creator for the digital photographer looking to make beautiful slideshows quickly and easily. With a vast range of features and options photographers are free to express their imagination."
An April 2002 article by MacAddict reports "LiveSlideShow 2 takes about 10 minutes to learn-no manual required. In fact, if you've ever used iMovie, you'll feel right at home in LSS. You import still pics and sound files into a media Shelf window, drag them to a simple Timeline in the order you want them to play, and then preview your show in the Layout window. You can define how long each slide should stay onscreen, and adding text captions (even scrolling ones), transitions (choose from 10 customizable ones), and sound to each slide is straightforward. With version 2, you can also add a background soundtrack to your slide show and generate HTML code for publishing shows to the Web." [pages accessed 10/29/04]

8. There are several sources of voice recording software. Express Dictate from NCH Swift Sound allows dictation to be recorded and then transmitted over the Web or by email. NCH's RecordPad Sound Recorder and WavePad Sound Editor are audio recording and editing programs for Windows. QuickVoice from nFinity Inc. gives Macintosh computers voice recording capabilities including: a digital voice recorder. For speech recording, a microphone such as the Logitech USB Desktop Microphone is an option. Also see "Selecting Microphones for Desktop Narrations." by Les Howles as referenced under the Solutions page. [pages accessed 10/28/04]

9. Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language. According to Jupitermedia Corporation's web site "SMIL was created specifically to solve the problems of coordinating the display of a variety of media (multimedia) on Web sites. By using a single time line for all of the media on a page their display can be properly time coordinated and synchronized." [accessed 10/27/04]

The above links, names and addresses are provided only as referrals for your further study and consideration. Please use due diligence in employing referenced consultants or vendors. Traditional Fine Art Organization, Inc. takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information from the named organizations or firms which may be inaccurate or out of date. Traditional Fine Art Organization, Inc neither recommends or endorses the above referenced organizations.

Copyright 2004 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.