Turn your PowerPoint Presentation into a Cinematic Experience

The fact that videos are somewhat awkward to implement in PowerPoint has often deterred people from using them. However, videos can often complement your slides massively and transform your presentation. Videos make your slides more interesting and can help to explain a point more effectively. Microsoft has made it a lot easier to work with videos within slides with its latest release - PowerPoint 2010. Now videos are as easy to work with as text and normal images. This is an incredibly useful tool to have at your disposal as video is becoming an important part of presentations.

So, what exactly has Microsoft done to make videos in PowerPoint more user-friendly? PowerPoint 2010 has finally made it possible to embed video files straight into your documents and, for the more advanced and enterprising user, you can also edit your videos from within PowerPoint 2010 should you so desire. It's not an essential tool, but it is a very useful one. Now within PowerPoint you are able to make adjustments, apply effects and also combine your video with text and animation in a range of different ways.

To add a video to a slide just go to the Insert Tab, click on it and then again on the Video button on the right-hand side of the media panel. When you insert clips you will see that two new tabs appear on the row of video tools. The first of these is Format. This gives you the tools to re-colour, arrange, apply shapes, borders and effects, crop and correct your clips. Along with all of these tools you also have a gallery of preset Video Styles similar to the same tool that you use to edit images.

The second tab is Playback which is more about the particular video that you are using and what kind of video it is. For example, if the clip is already edited you can just add a Fade In and a Fade Out to make it run more smoothly. Whereas if you are using raw footage taken straight from the video camera you may need to use the various tools offered by PowerPoint 2010 to shorten the clip within the presentation and make simple changes.

As well as the usual settings available, such as full-screen playback and volume, you have a feature which allows you to add bookmarks. This lets you skip to specific parts of the video during the presentation and adds that extra professional edge that can make or break a presentation. This is also useful if someone asks a question about the video, or wishes to view a section of the video again, as you can skip straight to the bookmark which allows you to go navigate through the video content with ease. You can also use these bookmarks to get text to appear when the bookmark is reached or even for a second piece of video to start playing. There is a wide range of different file types which work with PowerPoint 2010, which is very useful as it means you don't have to fiddle around with video converters before putting the video into your slide. The included formats are MPEG2, MP4, WMV, Adobe Flash and Quicktime. You can also incorporate videos from websites such as YouTube, which can be a great timesaver for adding in corporate videos or how-to guides, among other things.

Now that videos are much easier to use within PowerPoint there are going to be a lot of people incorporating them into their presentations. With this in mind, it is worth knowing a few essential tips and tricks for creating, editing and using video so that you are sure to impress viewers. It can be very easy to make some basic mistakes that give your presentation an amateur air as opposed to a slick and vivid professional feel.

Tips for shooting videos for a presentation

The first point would be to shoot the video at its highest quality. While you may not be using high-definition in your PowerPoint presentation, the level of detail and quality of colour will show, and poor quality looks unprofessional.

If you are planning on using videos for corporate presentations, or on a regular basis, it is worth investigating professional companies that can handle their creation and production for you. There are a number of factors that go into a high-quality video production and most companies do not have the requisite equipment and skills. While you can do a range of simple video edits in PowerPoint 2010, they won't be enough to transform raw video footage into an epic movie. However, they are definitely good enough for adding extras, such as the fades and bookmarks mentioned above, to a video that needs a little boost or more information.

When shooting the video also ensure you have adequate lighting, that you are using external sound recording devices - those included with most video cameras are omnidirectional and pick up a lot of interference - and that your speaker/s are well versed in their routines or speeches.

Adding video to a PowerPoint slide has definitely been made easy with the introduction of the video features and has the potential to transform a dead layer of slides into a vibrant experience. Instead of bullet points highlighting what the CEO plans for the next year, he can recite them himself, or perhaps a video can be used to illustrate a point that would otherwise fall flat.

No matter how you plan to use video, you now have the tools to include it easily and manage it effectively with PowerPoint 2010