Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Overture - Create Your Own Web PSA's

I want to share how to create a simple web or email friendly public service announcement (PSA) slide show. You can create a PSA slide show with software you probably have on your computer. If you don't have the software I'll point the way to free and open source software or an inexpensive alternative.

The PSA is going to be very simple. Even if you have an old Windows 98 clunker you can create a web based PSA. So simple that I will set up a few arbitrary limitations just to make sure that you can complete the project:
  • Length: less than 20 seconds
  • Size: 320 by 240 for a web posting or 160 x 120 to send by email
  • Audio: No narration, optional music
  • Software: Dubit - you can download a free copy from http://www.techsmith.com/products/dubit/default.asp
  • Photo Editing software, your choice, M$ Paint, IrfanView, The Gimp or whatever you have on your computer.
First a little history. In the back half of the 20th century most Americans only had three and a half broadcast television channels (if you lived in a big city). In the daytime hours local channels ran old movies, games shows and soaps operas. The commercials, if there were any, came from local merchants with an occasional national advertising spot.

Local store owners could only afford to buy a certain amount of commercials. To fill in the time, TV stations used freely supplied public service announcements. If the movie was a real turkey there would air nothing but PSA's. If you are curious, you can visit the Advertising Council's at http://www.adcouncil.org/campaigns/historic_campaigns to view classic PSA's of the past 50 years.

You might have doubts that you can tell a story with just photos and a bit of music. NorthWest Cable News has a selection of Quick Time and Flash animations photo essays you can view to get inspired - http://www.nwcn.com/s/dws/spe/2003/minute30

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