A long awaited update to Microsoft Producer is here. Producer 2003 is available from: Final Release Candidate of Producer 2003

Producer is a free app that allows you to synch Powerpoint presentations with video, html, and audio. Producer also converts video to streaming video in multiple bandwidths and formats, for different audiences. Lots of little conveniences, in a piece of software that still has some rough edges.

So, I was very happy to try this update. One new feature it promised was Mac compatibility, but that does not seem to be quite there yet. At least they are trying! I tested one presentation so far in Safari and IE 5.2 for OSX. In IE, it played the audio and flipped the slides, but the Table of Contents buttons were not clickable, and the video did not play. (WMP v. 8.0 codec was used.)

In Safari, it gave me javascript errors on attempting to play, then asked if I wanted to try using Windows Media player standalone to play the presentation. Clicking “yes” opened the player, which played the video, but no audio, and of course the slides did not play.

(update June 2005: with the latest updates to panther and quicktime, Safari now refuses to play Producer presentations correctly. I get a missing plugin icon where the video should be, and the slides do not play. This is in both Safari and Netscape. IE 5.2 plays the presentation OK.)

Maybe next version…

I also am hoping that it will work from within frames as advertised. The new feature list is quite incredible, and perfect for those of us that need to integrate Producer presentations into Learning Management Systems.

The first presentation I converted from the old version to new needed to have its templates replaced before it would play all the elements on the tracks.

The Producer home page is here:
MS Producer home page

A resource CD for Microsoft Producer is available HERE which contains a template editor among other things – a glance at a Producer template will show you just how necessary an item that is.