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PowerPoint and Presentation News - Issue 042

Issue 042 of PowerPoint and Presentation Stuff newsletter.

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It's time for another ezine issue and I'm wondering what is it about time that you cannot grasp! This issue should have been released last week but I delayed it because I wanted to get you all access to some more goodies. Guess what, I have them all but there are more coming - but I can't delay the release date of this ezine any further. Moral of the story: don't wait for anything when you need to release an ezine issue!

It's been an eventful three weeks - I've been on vacation to Coorg and Mysore in the south of India.

Also, I just released my newest template collection - Texture Triumph. Do take a look and let me know what you all think about the designs.

And before I start discussing all the winners, freebies, techniques and news I need to tell you that this ezine will most likely cross the 7000 subscriber limit by the time you read this. Thank you so much for all the feedback and support which has helped evolve this ezine.

Meanwhile, it's the time for giveaways again! By being subscribed to this ezine, you are eligible to win!


Prizes & Winners

This time, TechSmith is giving away a full copy of Camtasia, their screen and video capture tool that's worth US$400! Did you know that you could capture your PowerPoint presentations to a video file using Camtasia? Thank you, Betsy Weber of TechSmith for the prize.

This image is from the AbsolutVision collection - more info here.

Peter McClard of CaptureWorks is giving away four free copies of PointCapture, their amazing slide cataloguing tool that creates PowerPoint presentations on the fly from your existing slide library. Thank you, Peter.

There are still two copies of Crunchy Software's WowChart charting application for PowerPoint and Excel - thank you, Paul Jones.

You know something - I wanted to release a special ezine issue that brings back the fun in computing and PowerPoint - and it does seem that this issue is closer to that aim than ever before. Simon Newlyn from PRojects Powerpoint, a UK based presentation design firm is giving away their amazing PowerPoint game - I have to confess that I gave up after 5 attempts - you might be luckier than me! Here's a link to download the game - thank you, Simon. I must mention that Simon himself won a drawing for SnagIt this time and he responded to my congratulatory note on winning the prize with his offer to give away a free game!

There's more - I'm giving away three copies of my Nirvana collection of PowerPoint templates to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of TechTrax, a monthly Microsoft Office newsletter promoted by Dian Chapman. Dian has many more prizes lined up and her ezine is a real treasure trove of amazing content - you might want to subscribe to TechTrax!

Now, for the winners!

Simon Newlyn and Andrea Stone won copies of TechSmith SnagIt - thanks again to Betsy Weber. Paulette Goodman won a copy of Crunchy Software's WowChart - thank you, Paul Jones. And Jose Moran, Ted Wheeler, Martin Ivell and John Lim won copies of my PowerPoint Texture Collection. Congratulations to all of you!


PowerPoint and Video Part I

Inserting video clips into PowerPoint is usually easy - and PowerPoint allows ample control over how you want the video to play while in slide show mode. However, video in itself comes from disparate sources - from camcorders to stock footage libraries and in-house rendered content to downloads from the Internet. An amazing number of video formats actually are bestowed with an even more amazing numbers of codecs. And if you don't know what this format and codec thing means, you have come to the right place! Read on.

Formats and Codecs: It is easy to recognize the format of a video file - the extensions themselves identify the format. For instance, a video file which ends with the extension name AVI is what is usually called the AVI (Audio Video Interleaved) format. Apple QuickTime videos more often than not use the MOV and QT extensions. MPEG movies of all types use the MPG and MPEG extensions and WindowsMedia videos are recognizable with the extension WMV or ASF. You get the pattern now and we'll discuss this in more detail in a while.

Codecs are different beasts altogether - at last count there were more than a hundred unique codecs for the AVI format alone! So what is a codec?

We all know that video files can be huge in terms of size - there has always been a need for some technology that could squeeze the size of such files without deteriorating the quality. This entails both coding and decoding - let's look at this example: I just recorded a two minute video clip using my digital camcorder - it's size leaves a lot to be desired, so I use a coding algorithm to reduce its size. Later, when I want to play it back, I used a similar decoding algorithm. Now, what I am essentially doing is coding and decoding - in other words I am using a 'codec' - this is actually an abbreviation for coder/decoder.

Well known codecs for the AVI format include Cinepak and Intel Indeo. Apple QuickTime codecs include Cinepak and Sorenson.

Video Formats: Video formats are not too much of a problem - most videos fall under these categories:

AVI: AVI has been around for the longest time and PowerPoint is usually happy with this format unless it has been rendered using a non-standard codec. PowerPoint can play and control these files natively.

MOV: Apple QuickTime files can be played easily on Windows based machines using the free QuickTime Player application - however PowerPoint can only play QuickTime content rendered using the Cinepak codec. This includes almost all QuickTime videos that conform to the standards of QuickTime 1, 2 and 2.5. Since version 3, QuickTime uses the more efficient Sorenson codec by default and PowerPoint cannot use any videos rendered using this format. For more info look here:

PowerPoint And QuickTime

MPG, MPEG: All flavors of MPEG files use this extension. Typically MPEG 1 movies play well in PowerPoint - and they are the best option if you need to create a presentation that needs to be played on both the Windows and Mac versions of PowerPoint. MPEG 2 movies usually are not that easy to play in PowerPoint - they are more reliant on both hardware and software and usually may not work in PowerPoint even if they do play well in Windows Media Player.

WMV, ASF: When Microsoft first introduced the WindowsMedia format, both audio and video files used the ASF extension. Later, Microsoft started using the WMV and WMA extensions for video and audio respectively. For all practical purposes, WMV and ASF are identical although the Windows Media 9 Series uses only the WMV extension.

Flash: PowerPoint, or for that matter Windows itself does not consider Flash as a native video format. However, Flash movies can be successfully played within PowerPoint using the Shockwave Flash ActiveX control. You'll find more info at:

PowerPoint And Flash

FLI, FLC: This is Autodesk's animation format, used more for animation than video. The best option is to convert your FLI or FLC file to a format like AVI.

The next part of the PowerPoint and Video article will be included in the next ezine issue.


The Claudyne Wilder Interview

Claudyne Wilder Claudyne Wilder is guest lecturer at conferences, business shows and corporate events. She recently did a web talk for The National Investor Relations Group. She is the creator of three presentation seminars: "The Winning Presentations Seminar," "The Winning Presentations Sales Seminar;" and "Creating PowerPoint Presentations That Get Your Point Across." She offers "The Winning Presentations Seminar" publicly about six times a year. She also licenses this seminar to companies and consultants to teach.

She is the author of two presentation books: The Presentations Kit: 10 Steps For Selling Your Ideas! and Point, Click & Wow! A Quick Guide to Brilliant Laptop Presentations.

In this exclusive interview, Claudyne discusses presentations, presentations and presentations - and a thousand ideas to improve them.

News & Content

Read the PowerPoint Blog here. The PowerPoint Blog now includes the Atom syndication service so that you can use a Atom compatible newsreader to read all postings.

CrystalGraphics is running a special promo for their PowerPlugs: SuperSaver Combo 6 Plus product. Use this insider promo code "SUPER6PLUS" to get an additional $100 off the web price of $299. So you pay only $199.

Hemera added a thousand new images to their Image Express subscription service. More info here.


Events & Seminars

InfoComm 04
June 5 to 11, 2004, Atlanta, USA

Winning Presentations Seminar
June 10 and 11, 2004, Boston, USA
Claudyne Wilder, Wilder Presentations

PowerPoint Live
October 10 to 13, 2004, San Diego, California, USA
Rick Altman, R Altman Digital Consulting
PPT Live



During the preparation of this issue of the PowerPoint Ezine, I received assistance, content or feedback from Betsy Weber, Claudyne Wilder, Dian Chapman, Kathy Jacobs, Mickey Stevens, Nicole Ha, Paul Jones, Peter McClard, Simon Newlyn and TAJ Simmons (all in alphabetical order). I would like to use this platform to thank them for their help.


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