What presentation software should I use for video and sound?
June 25, 2017 12:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm need some sort of (Mac) multimedia "slide show" tool for a live theatre performance. This will be for showing photographs and playing sound cues. I could almost use Powerpoint, but I need two or three layers of audio playing simultaneously. Any suggestions?

Ideally, it will be really easy for my stage manager to use, e.g. just one click, to go to the next cue, whether that's an image, audio, or an image and audio. It needs to support a track of ambient sounds and other, simultaneous sounds effects that can start and stop at while the ambient sound is playing.

I also need to be able to make sounds and images fade in and out on cue.

Bonus points if it doesn't cost a fortune. The budget is tight.
posted by grumblebee to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Keynote can do multiple, overlapping audio cues as well as have objects (including audio) fade in and out in a certain order. If you need spontaneous cues I don't think it can do that, as far as I know.
posted by starman at 1:04 PM on June 25, 2017

Response by poster: I'd need to be able to show an image and then, while it's still being displayed, start a sound cue. Then display another image, keeping the previous sound cue playing. Etc. So sound and images cues would have to be independent from each other, though sometimes they'd be simultaneous.

And it can't be something that just automatically run. Different images and sounds need to occur right after live actors say specific lines. Timing will never be exact.
posted by grumblebee at 1:17 PM on June 25, 2017

Yep Keynote can do that. You can stipulate the order things start and, if you want, stop, in sequence on click or automatically (with delay if you want).
As long as you didn't randomly need an effect that wasn't scripted or tweak the order mid-stream.
posted by starman at 1:22 PM on June 25, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks, starman. Does it support audio and video fades, so that when you click, a sound or image can fade in or out?
posted by grumblebee at 1:39 PM on June 25, 2017

Images: yes, and you can set the dissolve duration. I don't see an option for audio fades.. might be something you have to edit externally before you add it in.
posted by starman at 1:56 PM on June 25, 2017

Qlab is built for this exactly. There is a free version and you can rent licenses if it's a short run. Figure 53 is the company that built it and they're so good I follow them on twitter. Don't use keynote. You really really want Qlab.
posted by Uncle at 1:59 PM on June 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hm. I'm not sure how you could edit in an audio fade if you're not sure how long the audio needs to keep playing.
posted by grumblebee at 1:59 PM on June 25, 2017

Qlab for sure. Keynote *can* do what you want but there's no gurantee it will do it consistently.
posted by songs_about_rainbows at 2:13 PM on June 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Qlab looks great, but it's very expensive!
posted by grumblebee at 2:45 PM on June 25, 2017

Make sure to look at exactly what functions you actually need because if you're just driving a stereo sound system and 1 projector the free version will work. Also you can rent to own if it's a short run.
posted by Uncle at 3:19 PM on June 25, 2017

Qlab can be rented for a few dollars a day.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:24 PM on June 25, 2017

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