Incorporating Video in Presentations for Engaging Experiences

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We all know that Death by PowerPoint and click-through eLearning is just something you have to get through, just because the SMEs or regulators say that if it’s a PowerPoint or Storyline slide, it has to include all the text. But if you produce a video, all those ‘rules’ go out of the window, and you can do whatever you like in terms of visual storytelling. So, I would encourage you to look at inserting video into PowerPoint. You’ll see how you can create video content in my webinar, but in this post, I want to share tricks on using that video in your PowerPoint presentation.

Inserting Video into PowerPoint

Yes, it could be as simple as going to Insert > Media > Video on the ribbon, but you should really do a little more to make it work well.

Positioning and Framing the Video

Usually when inserting video into PowerPoint, it will be inserted as a floating object on the slide, taking up half of the total screen area, and giving you room top and bottom for your title, logo, footers, and other branding. Those things may help when you’re creating a standard slide, but the video is probably a self-contained piece of content, and you don’t want things to be small and get lost. would recommend making it full-screen, covering up everything on the slide so that you can only see the video. You don’t interfere with any branding elements as they’re completely covered, and it acts the same as just playing a video outside of PowerPoint, but it’s all in one file and a seamless experience, so much easier.

Don’t miss this intriguing
webinar from HRDQ-U

Don’t miss this intriguing webinar from HRDQ-U

Create Compelling Presentations for Virtual Training

But if you can’t get that past review and simply have to show the branding elements around the slide, a neat trick is to go to the Playback tab on the ribbon, which will appear when you click the video file. There, halfway across the ribbon, you’ll see a box called Play Full ScreenCheck that, and the video will play full screen, no matter how large it is on the slide, so your audience can see it clearly and easily. You could even have the video off the edge of the slide so that it doesn’t show up at all until it plays. 

Taking Control of Video Playback

When you insert a video into a slide, by default, you’ll see a thumbnail of the first frame and have to click to make the video play, which is both unattractive and awkward. If you click the video and go to the Playback tab on the ribbon, in the Video Options area, there is a drop-down for Start, and choosing Automatically will make the video play as soon as you get to the slide, so no annoying additional click. For an even more elegant start, you can avoid the short blip of seeing the first frame thumbnail by either choosing ‘None’ on the Transitions tab or by adding an entrance animation to the video. Select the video and go to the Animations tab on the ribbon. Then choose Add Animation on the right-hand side and select a green entrance animation (ideally Fade). If you open the Animation Pane (using the button just next to the Add Animation one), you’ll see the animation timeline with a blue play button and a green star. Drag that green star above the blue play button, then select both, right-click, and choose ‘Start With Previous. Now your video will fade in gently while it starts playing.

Once you have this setup, you’ll realize that you can have other content on the slideand you can use animation to control when they appear. Perhaps you can set up several different scenarios with a short video about each. Have a discussion with your audience about each, and then click to view each video (using Play Full Screen). Or you may want content to appear over the top of the video while it’s playing, which you can achieve using an animation delay. It’s also worth noting that you can pause a video by clicking on it, and then clicking again will resume playback.

Using Video Bookmarks

It’s possible to trim a video in PowerPoint so that you have just a small snippet of it playing, but something that’s little known about and rarely used is the ability to add bookmarks. This can be a neat tool for a more interactive session with your audience though, as it allows you to get to precisely the right part of a longer video quickly and easily.

Click on a video to bring up the video scrub bar and either play through to the right time point or click on it using the bar. Go to the Playback tab on the ribbon and choose Add Bookmark on the left. You can have as many as you like in any video, and this means that you can quickly find a specific point in a video to play it. Even better, you can navigate through the video while it’s playing using Alt + Home to go back to an earlier point and Alt + End to move to the next one.

And if you’re mega keen, you can even use these bookmarks to create trigger points for other things to animate into the slide – perhaps key messages, references, or parts of a diagram that you’ve shown before and are relevant to the video content. Do that by adding an animation to an object, then go to the Animations tab on the ribbon and choose Trigger. The dropdown menu allows you to Trigger On Bookmark, so the animation will happen when the video reaches that point.

It’s a terrific way to achieve layered content on slides in a seamless way, ensuring that everything works well together, and you don’t have to worry about whether clicking will bring up the right content, pause the video, or even move to the next slide.

There’s a lot you can do when you embed a video in PowerPoint, which I’ve written about in great detail if you’d like to know more, or even embed YouTube videos in PowerPoint. But the first thing you should do is watch the webinar session because you’ll see a lot of cool things you can do to create and insert your own videos in PowerPoint, and we’ll take a look at the stunning new Cameo feature to incorporate live webcams into your presentations.

Author
Richard Goring Headshot
Richard Goring

Richard Goring is a Director at BrightCarbon, the specialist presentation and eLearning agency. He enjoys helping people create engaging content and communicate effectively using visuals, diagrams, and animated sequences that explain and reinforce the key points, which is supported by plenty of resources and tips at www.brightcarbon.com.

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