One of my favorite things about Aperture 1.5 is its extensible architecture. This means that third party software developers can create plug-ins for Aperture, opening up endless possibilities for integration with their applications.
One such application, which jumped on the plug-in bandwagon along with the release of Aperture 1.5, is Soundslides.
Soudslides is a neat little multimedia-authoring program created by freelance interactive producer, Joe Weiss. The program allows you to easily create a Flash based audio-slideshow without ever needing to open (or own) Flash. You simply point the program to a folder of images, select an audio track, and Soundslides takes over.
I had read a couple of positive articles about Soundslides, so I decided to download the trial version and see how well it integrated with Aperture via the plug-in.
After downloading Soundslides and installing the Aperture plug-in, I selected a small set of images from an Aperture project. I then control-clicked one of the images and found an option for Soundslides under the export menu item. One of the first things I noticed was that Soundslides needed the selected images to be online, and wouldn’t get by with the Aperture previews. Once I had my library online, I tried again.
This brought up a dialog box, which asked for a few important pieces of information. I entered a title for the show, a few other pieces of information and pointed the dialog box to an mp3 I had in my iTunes library. (Obviously, if you want to use a song from your iTunes library for publication on the web you would need to secure usage rights.)
Once all the information was entered correctly, I hit export, and in about thirty seconds Soundslides was open with my audio track and all my images on screen. I then spent a few more minutes playing with the various options and adjusting the template colors. Once I was done I clicked Export in Soundslides, and in about another thirty seconds I had a Flash based web page with all of my images set to music—very cool!
The plug-in for Soundslide is pretty simple. It exports your images and renames them. It also takes care of setting up a few basic parameters, but that’s about it. I wasn’t able to select a resolution, or use any export presets from Aperture, but the program was incredibly fast and generated a slick little slideshow in a matter of minutes.
I really hope more and more developers take advantage of Aperture’s extensible architecture in the near future. The use of plug-ins is such a great way of tying a workflow together. If you have an idea for a new plug-in, post it here. What would you really like to be able to do?
As I only spent about ten seconds producing my Soundslides slideshow, and I have yet to hear back from the owners of Bob Marley’s music collection, I will leave you with a link to another photographer’s slideshow. Photojournalist Stefan Rohner used Soundslides to create a simple multi-media presentation for his project titled Humans.