Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Embed SoundSlides onto blogs

I've mostly been playing around with video and sound lately, but I found a way to post SoundSlides directly onto a blog. See examples (with and without sound).

Due to its low cost and ease of use, SoundSlides seems to be the popular Flash program of choice for most PJs lately. As such, they want to publish these presentations on their blogs. Since most blog-hosting services accept XHMTL now, it can be done. However, there are some tradeoffs.

This post assumes PJs already know how to make slide show presentations and post the code onto a hosting site (company or private). As such, there must be a minimal understanding of HTML code editing. Likewise, there must be a place (other than the blog host) to store the files.

From what I understand, GeoCities (owned by Yahoo) and iWeb both provide free hosting in exchange for some concessions. In other words, read the Terms very carefully before posting copyright images to these free services.

Sure, it's cool to present your work to potential clients and friends. However, it's far more important to protect a PJ's future income. Pay the throughput fees and write off the expense rather than giving away image rights.

How to post slide shows to blogs
The first step is to determine what size player a PJ's blog needs. If the site is a single-image blog, go with the full-resolution version. If it's a multi-day blog like this one, use the small version.

Go to the URL of the page with the desired slide show presentation. Right click (PC) to View Source (or View Source from the command bar on Mac).

In the code, Copy everything from "object" to "/object" (with <>). Paste this code into a post. Type "/embed" (with <>) to the end of the code.

Next, Copy the entire URL code from the presentation location. Paste this code in front of the text soundslider.swf?size=0. Type the forward-slash symbol ( / ) between the URL and the text in both locations (value= and embed src=). This should also work with similar Flash programs.

If using the small version (for multi-day blogs), go to the URL string and remove the text /small.html.

Preview the post for errors. Publish the post. It should appear properly scaled.

Dealing with sound
Always check the sound volume button option to give viewers the option to change the sound level. Also, uncheck the autoplay option on the same page if the slideshow includes sound. An unsuspecting viewer in an office somewhere shouldn't suddenly have a rock concert blaring without warning (not good).

Own the copyright
As pro PJs, we don't want anyone stealing our work. Similarly, we can't be lifting the work of others. Either collect the sound, buy rights, use royalty-free/presentation rights-free sound (royalty-free isn't presentation-free), or build your own music in Garage Band or a similar loop compiler.

Yes, there's a future post on this issue, but I don't have time tonight, and it's extremely complicated. Simply stated: if you're not certain you have every right to post the sound, don't do it. Other people breaking the law on YouTube doesn't give pro PJs the right to break the law too.

Enough for now,


Unknown said...

I've been embedding soundslides at my blog and don't have the autoplay problem: even with the player fully loaded, it waits to be clicked to start.

I have rented space on a server, so what I do is copy and paste all the object to /object code from the small.html file that's created by Soundslides into a blog post, and then change the path to the proper folder.

In WordPress, I find I have to use the full path (i.e. http://www etc.) to the .swf file. Otherwise the slideshow plays fine on the main page but not on the page for the individual post.

Mark M. Hancock said...

Thanks for the comment and info. :-)

This must be an issue with the newspaper's (or my default) preferences. I'll qualify the post to "some SoundSlides players" for clarity and see if there's a way around this without posting onto the NewsEagles server. I try to avoid throughput expenses if there are alternatives.

Thanks again!

Mark M. Hancock said...

Autoplay is a SoundSlides preference. If it's unchecked, then the viewer controls when (or if) the show plays.