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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

PowerPoint tips and tricks #2

Video Clips in PowerPoint:
Video can be compelling and impactful when used to illustrate a point in a sermon.

It can also be one of the most frustrating and agrivating applications of technology in a sermon. PowerPoint does not play well with others - that's the sad truth. If you are lucky enough to be in a larger church with a dedicated media person and you are running software like EasyWorship or Media Shout, then you can just have them deal with the video clip.

But if you are like the majority of preachers in the country, you are doing things on your own. Here are some things I've learned the hard way:

1. PowerPoint won't embed a video in a presentation - if you are e-mailing or otherwise moving the presentation from one computer to another, you need to move the video separately.

2. PowerPoint is finicky about video types. Try to stick to common, Windows friendly, video (.wmv, .avi, .mov files).

3. Test it, then re-test it, then test it again. There is nothing quite so frustrating as having your video not play or play all choppy or have the sound not work. Test everything.

4. Keep it short. If the clip is longer than about a minute, people will drift (they might get too into the movie or something). Unless the video is a stand-alone piece of the service, keep it to a minimum.

What tips and tricks do you have for video in PowerPoint?


Matt Carter said...

Ah, the joy of Keynote on the mac. Embeds video, very simple to use, drag and drop media of all kinds and many file types into the presentation.

Not quite as flexible as Media Shout or ProPresenter, but a whole lot cheaper and works pretty well for us.

James Wood said...

Yeah, I know Macs like all that video, multi-media type stuff. I just haven't been able to justify the extra cost on a student income - now that I'm a big time preacher though . . .

Matt Carter said...

When you factor in the cost of all the software that's included or quite cheap on the mac, but expensive and not included on the windows machine, it's really not much more expensive if any at all.

Jason Campbell said...

Here's a bit of tech trivia: even though PPT uses WMV files natively, we've had a lot of problems playing video using presenter view with WMV files. We've learned that AVI files are the only sure bet. Whether or not PPT will use MOV files depends on the codecs installed for the video card.

You asked for it.

James Wood said...

Jason, that's really helpful. I hadn't thought of troubleshooting the file type when videos were getting wonky.

Another option is to just use a video player to play the clip when the time comes, but you need a someone planted at the computer to make this happen.

Matt, in a former life I was an IT guy, so I've had access to free software for the PC's for quite some time - that makes the PC a cheaper option for me (take cheaper as both inexpensive and cheaply made).