Sick of powerpoint
October 26, 2010 10:53 PM Subscribe
Need alternative to powerpoint. One in which movies play more reliably.
I'm looking for an alternative to powerpoint. I work in a research lab, and we often have to give presentations in seminars, conferences etc. and these typically involve a lot of movies. Powerpoint seems to be dreadful when it comes to playing movie files reliably. I have seen this at a number of schools, conferences, everywhere - the videos often screw up. This can be really stressful during an important presentation so I'm looking for an alternative.
Often the movie will not play, showing either a black screen or a still image. I have googled the reasons for this extensively, and it is to do with the codec used for the video, and the available codecs on the host machine. So what people tend to do is encode the video as mpeg-1, which will indeed play on any machine, but mpeg-1 is a bit too bulky to store all my videos in. I also tried converting all the videos to wmv, but this caused problems on different versions of windows.
Currently, the most reliable approach is to play the movies separately, outside of powerpoint, with something like VLC. Unfortunately, this means pausing your presentation and switching to VLC, and it is also a pain since sometimes I need to show two movies side by side, or with annotation.
When working on presentations I need to move them between my laptop and my desktop and have it play the videos on both. I sometimes need to use another, untested, laptop to present (at a seminar).
If someone can recommend a better way for me to create presentations, I would be very grateful. I have tried the open office presenter, and don't like it (it's interface is as bad as powerpoint). I have keynote on my home computer, but I really need a format that will play on windows machines (and the last time I tried "export to flash" from keynote it did not work properly). From windows xp to windows 7.
Ideally, the video format I would like to use would be x264 inside an mp4 container. Is flash a suitable alternative? Is it really time-consuming to use? If I didn't have movies, I would use a PDF made with latex.