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Presenting Video in PowerPoint Presentations

Herb Rubinstein explores using video elements in PowerPoint presentations.


Product/Version: PowerPoint

Herb Rubinstein Herb Rubinstein is an author and Graphic Designer living and working in Santa Barbara, California. He is a consultant to the Legal Profession in the field of Courtroom Technology.

He is currently putting together a Video Resource Kit for PowerPoint Presenters, which will include a manual and CD full of video resources.

If you are giving PowerPoint presentations and not utilizing video elements, then you are truly missing out on a powerful tool.

As you build your PowerPoint presentations, think of how a video clip would enhance different sections. Insert an on-the-job report from a manager, show a clip of a work in progress, while you explain the numbers. Break up your presentation with a funny video make an easy light transition from one subject to another (and get a good laugh).

Here are a couple scenarios where the use of video would be highly effective:

Personalize a Report

When the manager of a division gives a report....why not just tape him at his desk or on the jobsite? Have him explain, in his own words, how his project or assignment is progressing. Keep it short and to the point. This is so much more digestible than a dry bullet pointed page with the presenter talking up the points of the report.

Change the Subject

When you need a break in a presentation or are going from one subject to another, a nice touch is to insert a short (15-30 seconds) funny clip....say one of those foreign commercials, or a sports blooper. Just use your imagination and keep it appropriate to the group you are presenting to. This will really refresh your audience and get them ready for the next subject. It's also good as a transition to a break. Either way, it's a real easy way to get a laugh.

Video in PowerPoint

Using video in PowerPoint has always been extremely long as you have the right media i.e. .avi or .wmv files. You just drag them in and when that slide appears they just play (that is the can set other parameters). So why don't more presentations include video? I think that people are a little intimidated by the process of editing the video. If you try using a program like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro you will enjoy a steep and painful learning curve, not to mention the hours required to learn it.

A Better Way

I have found a much easier way and I am now producing professional looking clips to use in presentations using a program called Visual Communicator. It differs from the above mentioned editing programs in two ways, first it allows you to record directly into the computer thus skipping the most time consuming and tedious task of video editing, the dreaded capture. And secondly it is script based as opposed to timeline based. This means you paste your script into the program and line up your graphics and other elements based on where you are in the script. Much easier to visualize what is going on than in a timeline.

This software also includes many virtual animated backgrounds. Effects just like the big guys use on network news shows. It is amazing what you can do with the library of effects and graphics. The best part is that it produces a .wmv or .avi file that plays perfectly in PowerPoint. If you already have dv footage, this same program allows you to capture it and use it in the clip. For most corporate and business uses, Visual Communicator is pretty much all you would need, and it is cheaper than Adobe Premiere and does more. I would suggest you check it out and take it for a test drive.

However you do your production or editing, by including interesting and relevant video clips, you will add another entire dimension to your presentations.

I hope these ideas and suggestions have been helpful. Best of luck and good presenting.

Herb Rubinstein
author PowerPoint for Court
(Building the Impeachment Machine)

Herb Rubinstein (Glossary Page)

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