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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Inserting Video in PowerPoint (part 2) - Converting Video Files

Often the problem with putting a video clip into PowerPoint isn't just about finding the file, but it's about making sure the video file is in the right format for PowerPoint to play it. There are dozens of video formats, and PowerPoint can play many of them, but sooner or later (sooner) you'll come across a video file that won't play in PowerPoint.

A while ago I highlighted one video conversion tool called FreeMake. Which is drop, dead simple for getting video files into PowerPoint. You open up FreeMake, point to that disobedient video clip and click the big, bad WMV button at the bottom. Ipso-facto, presto-chango, you've got a video that will work. No fuss, no muss.

Another option is to use a program like Handbrake, which is a bit more full featured. But that also means it's a bit more complicated to use. The added functionality means that with Handbrake you can encode video for different devices, for example you could format a video to fit perfectly on an iPod or iPhone. You could tweak the video to play correctly on an iPad or a Galaxy S Tablet.

In Handbrake, you click on the "Source" button in the upper left to point to the video file or DVD (which I'll cover tomorrow) you want to convert, then you can choose one of the preset options from the list on the right or manually select every last feature you want. For getting the video file into PowerPoint you want to choose the "Normal" preset.

If you find yourself converting files nearly every week, you might want to get Handbrake since it can do neat things like batch-convert a bunch of file and it gives you a lot more options for the finished product. If you are just converting video files rarely, then go with FreeMake.

What video conversion stories do you need to share? What's your favorite tool?

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