Saturday, July 21, 2007

What is Slidecasting

Here is the blog post that will be posted on the SlideShare site tomorrow morning.

Slidecasting: A new multimedia format

When SlideShare launched it was a place to share PowerPoint on to the web. TechCrunch named it the "YouTube for PowerPoint". And while it was not our description, we did not disagree! Today, we are moving beyond that initial description. SlideShare is now a place to share and create a new multimedia format: Slidecasts! Slidecasts are essentially a mashup of slides with audio. I will be the first to admit that slides by themselves can feel bare. As our users wrote to use time and again, they can out for integration with voice and music.

We set out to create a multimedia format suited to both creation and consumption on the web. For video, the visual and audio stream are generally recorded together. For Slidecasting, we wanted to allow the SlideShare community to also use audio that already exists on the web. We were inspired by the idea of "small pieces loosely joined". You can take any audio stream and link it to slides on SlideShare. You can decide how you want the audio to play with the slides. You can synchronize your slides with audio. Or you can choose the "I'm feeling lazy (no synchronization)" or "Divide audio equally" option.

The slidecast player (example below) is designed to provide an interactive experience where you are in control. You can navigate the slides along with audio. The audio will keep up whether you skip slides or move back. Alternatively, you can sit back and let the slides autoplay (along with audio) and enjoy a more video like experience. And yes, you can still just play the slides without audio.

We kept podcasters in mind while we build slidecasts. I am often frustrated when listening to a podcast since I don't know how to get to the parts that I really want to listen to. Sometimes the podcaster offers some nuggets by saying - go to 24:32 for this info. Slidecasting is a visual way to navigate an audio file and stop and listen to what interests me the most. Early feedback also indicated that podcasters like knowing how many times their files are being downloaded etc. That was one reason we decided to accept audio from any server.

But this is just Slidecast Version 1. There is a lot more waiting for you!

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