Free alternatives to Breeze?

Like Stephen, I was suitably awed by the nifty Breeze presentation on Wikis that Brian Lamb put together, and like Stephen and James, wished I too could do something similar but without the cost of Breeze. (It should be noted, however, that the niftiness of the presentation seems like it was 15% Breeze and 85% Brian’s humour and ingenuity.)

I hunted around for some free options, and didn’t come up with much. But below is a list of possibilities and pointers if you are interested in following up on this:

– OpenOffice’s presentation tool allows you to export as flash presentations; unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to do voice narration (yet)
– PowerPoint does actually allow you to do voice narration of your slides, and you may be able to export these in IE-specific formats that preserve the voice narration on the web (though I couldn’t get it to work). You could also investigate one of the many Powerpoint-to-Flash conversion tools that exist and see if any of them preserve the audio narration
– there are quite a few commercial products that offer screen capture and voice narration capabilities. One that I have used is Qarbon’s Viewletbuilder. I seem to think we got it for a couple of hundred bucks. This presentation groups such products under the heading of ‘Demo Software’ (that is, software to create software demos) and lists a bunch of others one could consider, some for as little as $80.

I’m really interested to hear Brian’s own reflections on how big a part Breeze played in this presentation. I get the sense that while one could have produced this using other software, Breeze definitely can help the process along. – SWL

9 thoughts on “Free alternatives to Breeze?”

  1. I’d agree that the concept and creativity in Brian’s presentation could have been done with any number of tools, and doubt that Breeze itself as a technology played a role beyond effective delivery.

    On the other hand, having had some access to Breeze for a few presentations over the last 12 months, I doubt there are really viable “free alternatives”. Yes, you can find software that will produce streaming Flash content with audio– namely Flash itself, but it certainly would not be easy and would require technical heft for authoring.

    I have tapped into a variety of these sessions, and few match the audio quaility of Breeze (if the audio had been recorded with a decent microphone- there have been Breezed things with poorly recorded audio). I have tested an hour long Breeze show via a dialup modem connection and it does just fine.

    Breeze makes the authoring and publishing easy and non technical. Another factor is, being server based, the ability for people in multiple geographic locations to contribute their portions to the developing production.

    Another aspect I recently used is that I can use the same original Powerpoint to give an in person talk.

    On the other hand, as great a product as Breeze is, it seems prohibitively priced and beyond the reach of most schools and individuals.

    The cheap way would be rolling your own in Flash content, but it is a long road.

  2. I would also check out Accordent ( Not free but much cheaper than Breeze and capable of exactly the same thing.

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