Tools for making enhanced podcasts (aka audiobooks) on Windows XP

Hi -- I am a PC user who needs to create an enhanced podcast in my Windows XP environment. I am finding that this is harder than it should be. With Macs, one can use Garageband and be done with the project in half an hour. I am still looking for tools, preferably freeware, that I can use for Windows. I have an MP3 of a children's storybook read by its author. I want to merge slides of each page of the book with the audio so that the pages change once the author is finished reading from a given page. I have tried Slideshow Assembler (aka SSA), but it seems to fail with later versions of iTunes. Any other tools out there for Windows that I can use?

Thanks,

Andrew

Tags: podcasting

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Hi Andrew,
There are two tools you can use, either Audacity, which is a free download: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ for recording and mixing audio only, or Windows Movie Maker for audio, photos and video clips. This comes pre installed on the Window's operating system.
Good luck with your project,
Rickey
Thanks -- as soon as I posted I thought to myself: "Self, you should be using Movie Maker..." Funny how asking the question often leads one to the answer. Thank you!
Use Moviemaker, or, much easier, PhotoStory.
Andrew,

I like the following tools for XP:

Audio: Reaper (freeware with nag) for multi-track mixing
Wavepad (get the free basic version) to record sound quickly and edit too
Audacity if you want to do more tweaking (same as wavepad but harder to use)

As for the slideshow part, I'm partial to:
Picasa 3 (freeware from Google) does lots of great stuff and has a nice little movie maker in it too.
Windows movie maker (is ok but I still like the other tools bettter)

I'm just did a presentation on using audio books in the classroom, i'll be posting a bunch of info and links in the next couple of days at www.noparentleftbehind.net

Good luck!

Mark
Andrew, not many people understand the term "enhanced podcast." I think you do, if you are using GarageBand. An enhanced podcast is a special media format that combines an audio track, graphic track, chapter track for navigation to a specific markers in a podcast by a pop up menu in iTunes, and the option for embedding URL links to specific parts of the podcast. This type of interactive podcast is ideal for instructional podcast. The concept of a graphic track is that images are displayed at selected times in the podcast. The graphic can stay up for as long as needed without adding anymore to the size of the podcast other than the size of the image. The same podcast authored in MovieMaker would get larger if showing a single graphic, depending on the compression format used. Furthermore, showing the image in a graphic track can retain much or all of the sharpness of the original image. In an image shown a part of a video, the compression will often take away from the clarity.

Now to "not" answer your question, I don't personally know of a windows tool that produces the enhanced podcast format. Apple had a script for a while that did the job, but the process of using it was painful. I use a product for the Mac called Profcast that produces an enhanced podcast from Power Point slides or Keynote. They have a Windows version in Beta testing now, so that may be your best bet. Maybe some others have found a Windows tool that produces this format. FYI, Profcast also has a great tool to author and manage the feeds for all your podcast, regardless of where the media is developed. I think if you search for Profcast in iTunes, you will see some examples. I don't represent them, I am just a happy user. Another example is the Maccast podcast. The other tools mentioned in this thread will of course work is you just need an audio or video podcast. By the way, I use GarageBand a lot for my podcast, but found that all graphics are square aspect ratio. So before you bring slides in, you may want to add some black space to the top and bottom of the image to make the image square. Good luck.
Keith
I did some searching, because I was curious myself after reading about this format, and this is what I found:

http://www.vincentarnone.net/2008/08/enhanced-podcast-on-windows/

HTH
That is very similar to the process Apple shared on their web site and also painful ! But it does show that it shouldn't be that hard for someone to develop a graphical front end ! But for those who can't sneek on to friends mac it us a solution. I should have the windows version of Profcast soon and will report back. If you don't need the smaller file size or intera five components then producing your podcast with Photostory or other windows tools works fine.
I would strongly recommend PhotoStory. It easily merges audio and still photos. My students used it without any problems. Eventually you will become frustrated by the lack of flexibility of the program (no video, limited editing options), but it sounds like it will do everything you need it to for the storybook project. Here is an example from a group of my student's.

Enhanced podcasts? I'm not a MAC person, but if I follow the discussion correctly, it seems that an enhanced podcast would take less space than a MovieMaker or PhotoStory production because instead of a continuous video picture of a given page, the picture is just in their one. If that is the case, why make a jpg of each page, and put them, as well as the audio into a powerpoint? This may seem rather low tech and old fashioned, but Ithink it might accomplish what you are after.
I want to create a similar project on Movie Maker but I've never created an enhanced podcast before. I have picutures of steps taken in a science experiment already in movie maker and want to add the audio. I have the recording of a student explaining the experiment on my video ipod and in itunes. How do I add it to movie maker? When completed, I want to post it on my blogmeister blog. What else do I need to know?
I use Jing to create mini enhanced Podcasts. Jing is a free screencasting tool that enables you to capture whatever you are doing on your computer screen and narrate it simultaneously. You can see sample samples on my blog under the eLeaner tab.
If you go the screencast route, there is also screenjelly and screenr. Both are worth checking out.

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