Reviewed: Geetesh Bajaj
Last Updated: February 27th 2009
This review was written sometime in 2001 - since then Presedia has been acquired by Macromedia. The new incarnation of this product is now called Macromedia Breeze. You'll find a full review of Breeze on this site. Read here.
This page is being retained as an archive of a product no longer available - some links from this page may not work.
When your basic presentation is ready, you can choose the 'Run Wizard' option from the Presedia menu. The wizard basically guides you in a step-by-step way.
First, Presedia runs a test to set your microphone recording level - you can skip this option, but considering that the whole thing takes less than 30 seconds, it may be worthwhile getting through this step.
The next step is to actually record your voiceovers concurrently with a running presentation. Once you're done recording for the current slide, Presedia helpfully provides you with an elegant interface which proceeds to the next slide on a click of a button.
Once I had achieved this, the Presedia add-in gave me the option of logging into my Presedia account or returning to PowerPoint. I chose the latter since I needed to view my presentation again.
Well, the presentation ran fine - but there was no voice. To cut a long story short, let me tell you that it wasn't Presedia's fault - my installation of Philips FreeSpeech had changed the default recording format of Windows - and a registry tweak restored it to the default 'Radio Quality' again. Windows' own Sound Recorder allows you to change the recording file for a current session through the Properties dialog box - I wish something like that was present in Presedia too. Anyway, that maybe too much to expect!
Now that the sound recording problem was resolved, I chose the Publish option in the Presedia menu. Before we get to that subject, a few thoughts about the recording process: Presedia Publisher's biggest con may be the inability to use prerecorded audio - you may be advised to sign up for Presedia Publisher Pro, the advanced version that does offer this option.
The basic Presedia Publisher version does have an option to choose either the 'Microphone' or 'Line In' port of your sound card to input sound - if you can manage to process prerecorded audio into your sound card's 'Line In' port, you may be able to overcome that frustration.
Presedia's publishing option is quick and simple. You log-in through your username and password - supplied to you when your account is set up.
Once your log-in is authenticated, you're presented with a folder-like view, not unlike those used by online file-sharing services like i-drive.
You can choose to make your presentation publicly available or to be accessed through a password.
Finally, Presdia uploads your presentation files to its servers. Once this is accomplished, you are asked to check your mailbox for the exact location to view and/or download your web enabled multimedia presentation.
My experience with Presedia was excellent. And the presentation ran very well on a dialup connection. For all practical purposes, Presedia is definitely the next logical extension for your PowerPoint experience.
There are a few things you should be careful about - if you are using any non-standard fonts, even embedding them within your PowerPoint presentation will not help. In my case, all instances of the Trebuchet typeface reproduced perfectly - although all instances of a non-standard typeface were substituted. Nevertheless, a reminder to the effect that any non-standard fonts, even embedded ones will not work within Presedia's wizard interface could prove to be a welcome feature.
Keith confirmed that uploading a presentation with embedded fonts will not allow a build of your presentation on Presedia's servers.
In all, Presedia is definitely not a mass level solution as PowerPoint itself is. Currently, you are not offered a full solution to output web presentations yourself - a continued dependence on the Presedia server solution means that you have to pay the Presedia organization for every presentation, although it may be wrong to criticize Presedia on that front - after all, the server solution is part of their business model. It may be worthwhile mentioning here that attractive volume discounts are available. Finally, and more significantly - the end result justifies the means.
Although a Presedia desktop edition would be definitely more welcome rather than the present solution, this does not undermine the fact that Presedia fills the holes which Microsoft forgot to cover when it comes to PowerPoint's distribution paucities.
Consequently, the repertoire of your Presedia-processed presentations may build up. It's good to know that Presedia provides a slew of options to manage your provided space on the Presedia servers. These options include options to:
- Modify or update additional presentation information.
- Delete presentations or folders.
- Add or delete Presedia Publisher users.
- Set permission levels for Presedia Publisher users.
These options are supplemented by dynamic reporting facilities which detail figures of access to your web presentations.
What type of support does Presedia offer? My experience with their email support was good enough - with responses being received in under a day's time.
In all fairness, I did engage their support lines for this review - at most times there were 3 to 4 support queries forwarded to them - this maybe because I was trying out all possibilities.
There are two types of Presedia programs - the basic version and the Pro version. There are also two types of server solutions - self hosted and Presedia hosted. Naturally, the spectrum of rates changes according to your chosen plan.
Here is pricing information for Presedia Publisher:
Hosted Library Package:
US$ 60 per month per presentation.
- Plug-in software for adding audio and synchronized animations to PowerPoint.
- Unlimited presentation conversions and updates.
- Unlimited users (both for viewing and producing).
- Web hosting with user security and usage reports.
Pricing starts at $395 per presentation and allows customers to download converted presentations for hosting on their own servers (free updates are included for one year).
There are also volume discounts on both packages. Needless to add, all rates are subject to change and rather indicative than definite.
What does a promising program like Presedia offer for the future? That's an interesting question. For one, Presedia even now is a sort of evolutionary program. It does so much in its sphere - and there's no visible competition. Yet, in a way, it does whet your appetite - it increases possibilities, in a way it's like a fulcrum - your horizons increase, so you want more.
My first question was if Presedia planned a desktop version - happily the response was in the affirmative. Here's the scoop:
A desktop version is certainly on our roadmap, however it has not been scheduled.
Other looking-forward-to developments:
- Full screen mode for presentation viewing
- Browser interface for viewing the entire library. This will allow our hosted customers to provide their viewers with access to the entire library. Viewers can navigate to the presentation they want to view.
- Search feature to find a presentation.
- Email a presentation link with a return receipt option.
- Options to add a photo or summary description to the presentation.
- Video support.
- Support for the Pocket PC.
- A desktop version.
All in all, Presedia is an excellent solution.
Its nearest rival seems to be impatica - but that's a Java based solution and Presedia is a Flash based one. Presedia's Flash leanings do provide it with a considerable advantage. impatica however has a desktop version available, Presedia lacks on that account - at least presently.
Until now, PowerPoint's web delivery options were severely limited - its been more than five years now that new solutions for delivering PowerPoint presentations have been cropping up with unfailing regularity. Maybe, it will be the ultimate honour to the Presedia people to accede that no other solution for delivering PowerPoint presentations over the web before has been half as good as theirs.
On the other hand, one cannot overlook the fact that Presedia could do much more than it already does - and it is actually wonderful to note the fact that the team at Presedia is aware of this and going full steam ahead to meet the challenges.
And yes, before I forget - you may want to view a sample Presedia presentation. I'm sure you'll enjoy viewing it:
http://demo.presedia.com/p3 (Non-existent link)
http://content.presedia.com/indezine/p19845277/ (Non-existent link)
Finally, do visit the Presedia site for more information: