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[ale] NewbieQ on OO/Impress for photo slide shows

> ALErs -
> With no prior experience I'm using OpenOffice 'Impress' to package
> about 100 digital photos as a slide show. Since the files are good
> quality photos, the resulting presentation is getting _BBEEEGGGG_
> (c.250MBy). The problem: it's become glacially slow to work on!

Wow, I'm kinda impressed it hasn't crashed yet; not that anything is wrong with 
OOo or Impress, but the resources being used on a file that big is a lot.

> What is a good image size/resolution for JPEG slides to be viewed
> on computer display - say 1680x1050 (WSXGA) or smaller? Would the
> answer be very different for a typical digital projector (bearing
> in mind the viewing distance would be considerably larger and
> having no idea of the usual projector's resolution)?

1024x768 landscape, and flip that for portrait.  It won't fill the monitor you 
mentioned, but few people have that size.  As for the output, I'd recommend a 
.jpg at 85% (usually indicated as "15" for the quality).

Unfortunately, older computers are still going to have issues with 100 1024x768 
files packed together under Impress.

However, have you considered alternatives to using Impress for making a 
slideshow?  There are a whole slew of free and easy Lightbox-based or MooTools 
based solutions out there.... so easy in some cases as to simply drop a file or 
three into a folder full of photos and sending out a link, or, as you indicate 
later, burn to a disk.  A benefit of that is your autorun need only feed the 
default browser an html page.... no software to install or mistrust.

> Is there some automatic way to have the slides imported (or
> alternatively saved) in a reduced format, or should I use some
> other tool like GIMP or ImageMagick to resize them? (They aren't
> all the same size due to some cropping and some images coming from
> different cameras.)

I can't answer that other than to suggest sorting by size into different 
directories and running individually tailored resizing scripts on each of the 
directories.  I'd think ImageMagik to be the best solution, but I really don't 
know either well enough.

> If most users have Ms 'PoserPoint' to view the slides, should I
> expect major problems with a presentation exported from OpenOffice
> as '*.ppt'?

I don't think so, but you never can be sure... even people with PPT have 
problems with other PPT users!   But you'll have less problems with a solution 
as mentioned above.

> I was targeting CD and planning to include the original photo files
> in a separate directory. (There would be space.) DVD would be OK if
> there were advantages to the medium or some especially handy
> packaging tool available.

If you go the PPT/Impress route you will need to make sure you have a viewer on 
the CD/DVD for people to install.  Furthermore, you will have to make it easy to 
do so as well as ensure people trust your disk.  And what about Mac users?  With 
a browser-based system you can simply tell the machine to fire up the default 
browser and load the page/s.  ;c)

NOW, if you decide to continue using Impress/OOo, do keep in mind that you can 
export to HTML which uses meta-refresh instead of Javascript to advance to the 
next slide.  However, I don't know if all browsers on all systems support the 
meta-refresh method locally.

Hope this helps,

P.S.: Congrats on  your progress and your venture into Impress and OOo!!