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Creating Impressive PowerPoint Presentations Using Multimedia Content

Bored of making the same kind of presentations in the conference room? Now is the time to spiff them up! Embedding audio and video clips into ordinary PowerPoint presentations can make them interesting and visually compelling. PowerPoint gives you the option of adding a lot of file formats-still pictures, movie files, music files and even flash animation. But before you get down to doing this, you must know that PowerPoint uses Windows system services to take care of the entire multimedia-heaving job. You will need both video and audio software and hardware (including a microphone) if you wish to record sound. To edit some of these files, you'll need basic video editing applications. Note that the most important thing you need here is Codecs. Codecs are used to compress media files during file creation and decompress them during playback. Codecs are essential for rendering media files, especially video files, small enough to be stored on a hard drive. However, the codec used to compress a specific file must also be available to decompress the file during playback. If the necessary codec is not installed on the computer opening the file, the file cannot be accessed. You can either use K-Lite Mega Codec pack or Nimo's Codec pack to plug your system with codecs.

Considering the presentation into which you want to insert multimedia files is ready, let's dive into the necessary steps listed in this tutorial.

Inserting video

  • This is as simple as it sounds. To insert video:
  • First navigate to the slide where you want the video inserted in a new or existing presentation.
  • Choose "Insert | Movies & Sounds | Movie from File" and choose the required video file.
  • PowerPoint prompts you if you want the movie to play automatically or only when clicked-choose the option you desire. You can tweak your choice later if you want by clicking upon the Custom Animation task pane.

Video with play controller

PowerPoint also gives you an option to insert video objects within a slide. This basically gives you total control over your slides. With the help of the video controller; you can control the video in the slide show while PowerPoint is in the slide show mode. Using the play control option, you can stop, pause and play the video similar to watching a movie on your media player.

  • Open PowerPoint and navigate to the slide where you want your video to be inserted.
  • Choose "Insert | Object."
  • In the "Insert Object" dialog box, select the "Create from file" radio button and browse to the file you want to view in the presentation.
  • Right-click on the file icon that comes up and click on "Custom Animation", and a side taskpane will open up. Here you can set options like "Auto
  • Rewind" and add different effects to make your presentation look as cool as you want.
  • Click anywhere outside the video object and reposition and resize the video as per your requirement.

Normally, video objects play when clicked-if you want the video to play immediately with the slide:

  • Select the video and choose "Slide Show Custom Animation". This will activate the Custom Animation taskpane.
  • With the video object still selected, choose the "Add Effect | Object Actions Play" option.
  • Change the default Start value from "On Click" to "After Previous". To watch videos in the full screen mode in PowerPoint:
  • In the Custom Animation taskpane, click on the file you want to play, and it shows as a drop down list; here click on effect options.
  • A new window will open up; now click on the "Movie setting" tab and select the radio button zoom to full screen.

You'll also find other options like looping the movie or rewinding it after playing within this dialog box.

Inserting video play lists

You can create a play list of your videos in Windows Media Player and play the entire sequence of videos in PowerPoint-an invaluable idea if you want to play a series of videos within a presentation seamlessly and don't have the time to get the videos rendered together with the help of a video editing software.

  • Open Windows Media Player and create a play list consisting of your videos. Create a play list containing both videos and sounds. Save the play list as a Windows Media Play list file (*.WPL)
  • Open PowerPoint and open the presentation into which you want to insert the play list Go to the slide where you want to begin playing the sounds and choose "Insert | Movies and Sounds Movie from File".
  • Navigate to the folder where you have
    saved the play list (*.WPL) file.
  • Select the play list and click on "OK". You will get a prompt asking whether you want the sound to start automatically or after clicking upon it. Choose your option accordingly.
  • Right click on the icon that is visible on the slide and click on the "Custom Animation" option. In the Custom Animation taskpane, click on the play list and choose "Effects" from the drop down menu.
  • To control the number of videos playing on a particular slide, go to the "Stop playing group" option and specify the number of slides you want the play list to continue playing. If you want all the videos to play on a single slide, choose the "Stop playing after current slide" option.

Inserting flash animation (.SWF)

Your presentation will be one of its kinds with Flash animation. Macromedia Flash is a popular animation format with plenty of files freely available on the Internet. PowerPoint supports Flash (SwF is the Shockwave file format used by Flash), which can be either linked or embedded into your presentation. Applications like Macromedia's Captivate, which creates flash movies of running software, lets you record what you wish to from your screen and use it as an animation in your presentation.

Flash (SwF) in PowerPoint

Here are a few steps to help you use Flash animation in your presentation.

  • Open PowerPoint and in the Normal
  • View, open the slide in which you want to play the Flash animation.
  • Click on "Toolbars" on the "View" menu, and then click on "Control Toolbox".
  • Click on "More Controls" and scroll down to search for "Shockwave Flash Object", and click on it.
  • A rectangle will open up on the slide; drag the pointer to stretch the rectangle and then drag and drop the Shockwave Flash Object into it.
  • You can resize the object by dragging the sizing handles. If you want the movie to cover the entire slide, size the rectangle to reach the edges of the slide.
  • Right click on the Shockwave Flash Object and then click on "Properties".
  • On the "Alphabetic" tab, click on the "Movie property".
  • In the blank cell next to "Movie", type the Flash file's full drive path including the file name (for example, C\:My Documents\Test.swf).
  • In the "Properties" dialog box, set the options to play the animation.
  • To play the file automatically when the slide is displayed, set the "Playing property" to "True".
  • If the Flash file has a "Start/Rewind" button, set "Playing" to "False".
  • To play the file only once, in the "Loop property", select "False".
  • If you want to distribute your presentation through a CD or via e-mail, then in the "Embed Movie property", select "True".

NOTE: The Shockwave Flash Object control must be installed on any computer that runs the presentation.

To view the animation, select "Slide Show". Tweak the placement and size of the embedded animation on the slide. You can do a lot of things here like overlaying titles or other text on the movie by adding a text box on top of the object control. The text is displayed when you play the movie, and then disappears in the second frame.

These snazzy video options will surely give your mundane presentations an extra edge, making them your colleagues' envy and your pride.

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