Issue #106 April 4, 2006

PowerPoint Tip – Biggest issues with video on slides

This past Saturday I attended a conference for parents that was hosted by our school board and was once again reminded of the challenges that many presenters face when trying to incorporate video into their presentation. In one of the sessions I attended, the presenters wanted to start with a clip from a Disney movie (I didn’t want to ask if they had permission to do so). They started by dropping out of the PowerPoint show mode and trying to run the DVD from a media player application. It hadn’t been set up properly, so they had to restart the media player, then start the DVD playing from the beginning, fast forward through the parts they didn’t want to use (we saw all of this by the way) and finally got to the clip they wanted to show. We watched and when it was done, my one question was, “What did that add to our experience?” The point of the clip could have been made with one sentence and the clip did not illustrate the point better than they could have by just stating it. Instead, we watched them struggle with the video for minutes. The problems were not restricted to this session. One session my wife went to experienced more problems using video in PowerPoint. It illustrated ever so clearly why the number one question I get is how to incorporate video clips into PowerPoint presentations. The first question I have to anyone who wants to use a video clip is, “What will it add to the experience of your audience?” Most times I get a long pause after I ask the question, then a response about how cool it will be to show video. My philosophy is that “clear is more important than cool”, so only use video when it illustrates a point in a way that you simply cannot. Video testimonials are a great example of where a client can say something about your product that you just would not be able to say. There is seemingly little clear information on how to incorporate video clips well. That’s why last week I launched my latest video tutorial to show you how to incorporate video into your presentations. It shows you how to avoid the problems I saw this weekend and explains how to run a DVD clip in a presentation. You do switch out of PowerPoint, but there are two much cleaner ways to do it than dropping out of slide show mode – one of them is to use the Alt+Tab key combination to switch applications (a Windows standard key sequence). I explain the simple secret to using video files that can be sent with the presentation file and still work when someone else receives them (I heard this lament from one of the presenters this weekend at a break) – put them all in the same folder before starting. I also show how to take video that you record on a digital camera or camcorder and move it to your computer, edit it, and save it into the preferred format (WMV) using Windows Movie Maker. Videos you shoot are almost always better than a pre-recorded clip that you try to make fit a purpose. You can get more information on the video tutorial at: .