No Video Budget? No Problem.

April 11, 2016

 

THE SOLUTION: SOFTWARE (AND TALENT) YOU'VE ALREADY GOT.

 

Recently, a client approached me with a familiar dilemma. They needed an educational video but had almost no budget. Short explainer videos have become essential for training and marketing but are often out of reach for small companies, start-ups, and non-profits. 

 

Our client took a novel approach to the problem. Armed with only their PC and Microsoft Office, they were able to produce a pretty effective video. How? PowerPoint.

 

Many businesses are now using PowerPoint not only for presentations, but for print publishing and interactive communication. The application is on almost every computer; it's easy to learn; and it's loaded with functions that we rarely use. One of those underutilized features is video export. Yes, you can turn your slides into a movie (with or without help from your company's PowerPoint pro.) 

 

Here's how to do it. 

 

1. Start with a script. It should be conversational in tone, informative, engaging, and concise. Most explainer videos get right to the point and last under 90 seconds. 


2. Record your narration using PowerPoint's built-in audio recorder (Insert>Audio>Record Audio). Practice a few times to get comfortable. You can find some great tips for home recording here: 

http://blogs.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/13-more-tips-to-help-you-record-narration-like-the-pros/

 

Your audio should be recorded in short segments; figure on one clip per slide. PowerPoint will allow you to trim the audio and adjust volume. If you're ready for more control, download the free Microsoft Sound Editor: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/apps/sound-editor/9wzdncrfhmws

 

3. Now you're ready to build your slides. One of the simplest and most effective ways to reinforce the spoken message is with visual words. Using entrance animation, time the appearance of the words to coincide with the audio. (see here) Now add photos and other relevant images to make your message memorable. Keep the visuals in motion using PowerPoint's Emphasis animations, but not so busy that they become distracting. (see here.) A little movement goes a long way. If you have video or animated gifs, you can import them into a slide.

 

4. Don't forget sound effects and music. PowerPoint has some built-in sounds that are connected to animation sequences. (Animation>Animation Pane>Effect Options) Music will add to a great intro or ending, and to separate segments. A good source for free music is http://audionautix.com. (Be sure to give them credit!)

 

5. Next step is to carefully time the animation and slide transitions and test it. (Slide Show>From Beginning) When it runs smoothly, you're ready to produce the video. (File>Export>Create Video) Select "Presentation Quality" and "Use Recorded Timings and Narrations."

 

Congratulations! Your video is ready for YouTube, Vimeo, your website or wherever you want to be seen. 

 

By the way, the animation at the top was produced and exported to video entirely within PowerPoint. The video was converted to a gif using Photoshop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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