Writing in Digital Environments

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PowerPoint Videos

Please, Please, Please!!! Do yourself a favor and work with PowerPoint 2010 or later!!!!

Part I – Getting Started

  1. Gather all of the text and images you plan to use and develop a script or outline for your video. This will help you set up your presentation effectively.
  2. Make a special folder on your computer or flash drive for your presentation. Within that folder, it’s a good idea to set up some subfolders like one for the images you use, and another for generations of saved presentations.
    • Note: When you save your presentation, don’t just click SAVE. You won’t be able to go back to previous steps if you want to later. I recommend clicking SAVE AS and giving each generation its own date and time number like “video-1446-042012.” That way, you can go back to any given stage in the process if you have to, and you will be able to know the exact sequence of each backup you made.
  3. Next, open up a new PowerPoint presentation.
    • Start by creating a title page that displays the title of your video and your name if you wish to foreground your authorship.
    • Next, create a blank slide for each section of your script or outline. You might create a section for each paragraph of your script or bullet point in your outline.
    • Then, create a slide labeled “Credits.” This is where you will cite all of the outside materials you use, including the visuals and audio. If you use your own images and audio, you might choose to give them their own separate slide, but really you don’t have to cite them. If you have more sources than can reasonably fit on one slide, break them up onto separate slides based on type—a slide for still images, another for video clips, another for print and web sources of information, etc.
  4. Now the basic framework of your presentation is finished and you can move on to the audio.

Part II – Audio

  1. The one thing that most affects the quality of your audio is the microphone you use. For recording your own narration or voiceover, a Skype-style headset mic or basic USB mic should be good enough for this project. Other microphones you can use might be built into your laptop, or they might be a part of your webcam. If you have a Mac, you have a mic built in, but not all PCs have built-in, so check your machine. I have one microphone available for checkout and several digital audio recorders. You might be able to record audio into your cell phone and it to your email account. Also, the library has a recording room and good microphones you can use, but you should make sure to schedule that right away.
  2. Once you are able to secure a microphone for recording, select the INSERT tab in the PowerPoint program and select AUDIO. The drop down menu will give you the option to use “audio from file,” “clip art audio,” or “record audio.” If you are using a file you recorded another way, then you would select “audio from file” and follow the prompts. I recommend using “record audio” and recording directly into the blank slides you have already created for your paragraphs.
    • I recommend strongly that you record one paragraph or slide at a time. As it is, it is hard to record a single paragraph without any major disruptions in your reading. Trying to record the entire argument in one take is nearly impossible. Make it easy on yourself and take this task one paragraph at a time. Also, you may need to break up your audio into separate files for each slide, so by recording each slide’s audio separately, you save yourself a lot of editing work.
  3. Once your paragraphs are recorded, click on the first audio icon and select the “Audio Tools” and “Playback” tab to set the settings for the audio file. You can set the volume, hide the icon during the show, and set the method by which the file will start. I recommend the “play across slides” setting because it will not only start the audio file automatically, but it will also allow you to insert slides before the next paragraph that can help you accomplish more effects.
  4. When all of your audio is recorded and set, you are ready to start inserting images.

Part III – Inserting images

  1. I like to get my images from Google. Whenever you do a search for a given term, along the top of the page Google gives you an option to browse images for that term. Select the ‘images’ option and browse the results for whatever you think is most useful and appropriate.
  2. When you see an image you want to use, simply click on it and Google will enlarge the image, which will give you a better resolution for the image in your own project.
    • Be careful, however, because you aren’t quite finished yet. Until you click on “visit page”, the URL will always say Google.com. You have to close the image before the URL will change to that of the appropriate website.
  3. Once you have accessed the actual website where Google found the image, copy the URL and paste it into your “Credits” slide of your presentation. That way it is documented and you don’t have to worry about it anymore. If you aren’t sure whether you will actually use the image, save the URL anyway, and you’ll be set to move on.

Part IV – Effects

  1. As you begin constructing your presentation, it’s a good idea to begin experimenting with effects found in the TRANSITIONS and ANIMATIONS tab in the PowerPoint program. How you use these effects will be up to your own artistic creativity, but be sure to look around at the options and spend some time experimenting.
  2. To add text to your slides, use the INSERT tab and choose the ‘Text Box’ option. This is a great way to show your audience quotes and statistics. It also gives you a great opportunity to provide citation during the video if the source .
  3. Also, notice that each animation is numbered in the slide. You can change the numbers on the animations to change the order of appearance of your images, audio, and/ or text features. If you are having trouble getting your images and effects to happen in the order you want them to, this is probably the source of the problem.

Part V – Timing Your Presentation

  1. In the SLIDE SHOW tab, choose the ‘Rehearse Timings’ option. This will record the timings you use to advance the presentation, so that it will present all of your material exactly the way you want it to appear automatically.

Part VI – Saving Your Presentation

  1. Throughout the process, remember to save your presentation often. Again, I strongly recommend using the SAVE AS option as I have already described in Part I of these instructions.
  2. When you are finished with your presentation including all of the timings, again using the SAVE AS feature, save the file, and using the drop down menu, be sure to save it as a Windows Media Video file (In Mac you may have to use a .MOV file, and this if preferable).
    • Make sure you give yourself enough time to save the file. When the program converts it to a WMV file, the process can take several hours.  Don’t try this right before the deadline, or you will probably end up with a total fail. 
  3. Finally, once you have created your WMV file, back it up in two separate places along with the final version of the PowerPoint file. I recommend backing up to a thumb drive and to a CD or DVD, or if you have enough cloud storage, copy your files there.
    • Upload your video to YouTube, Vimeo, or your own server space so that you can embed it on your WordPress site.
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