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
- 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: http://www.totallyhip.com/showcase.asp
- 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
- 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
- What does such software cost when used for non-profit education
- 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
- 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 www.liveslideshow.com.
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. 
- 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 www.totallyhip.com
- 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 www.apple.com/quicktime/ 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
- 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. www.totallyhip.com
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
- 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
3. Response dated 6/15/04 from Steven Allison-Bunnell, PhD, Senior Producer
& Writer - Educational Web Adventures, 418 Woodford St., Missoula, MT
- 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
- be of interest to you in your research. http://eduweb.com/research.html
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. 
On December 21 -23, 2004 Dr. Mitchell made further suggestions on producing
- 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
5. Response dated 10/26/04 from Seth Kaufman of Whirl-I-Gig.com. 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 Whirl-I-Gig.com. 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
- 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  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
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
- Creativepro.com 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
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
Copyright 2004 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights