Why do my videos always look so shoddy in PowerPoint?
July 12, 2007 7:05 AM   Subscribe

What video formats work well in presentations? Advice on codecs, presentation software and general tips and tricks sought. Linux and/or WIndows.

I always seem to end up writing my presentations at the last minute (yeah, right) and they have to include video. The job of preparing the videos takes ages. I do all my video work in Quicktime, for historical reasons, but getting that into PowerPoint or OpenOffice seems unreasonably difficult. RIght now I've fallen back to outputting a stack of jpegs and turning those into a video with ffmpeg, which looks great when I play it back in mplayer, or when I copy it to the Windows box and play it in VLC viewer, but the result looks terrible in PowerPoint.

Am I using the wrong video format? The wrong presentation software?
posted by handee to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Getting video to work within powerpoint can be tricky. However, there are a few general rules:

1. Powerpoint uses some sort of outdated movieplayer program to actually play the files.

2. mpeg almost always works.

3. wmv always works.

You've probably already read this:

PowerPoint & QuickTime

My suggestion: output to mpeg and quicktime. Have one file for saving (.mov) and one to play in your presentations (mpeg).
posted by allthewhile at 7:28 AM on July 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Indeed, video in PowerPoint is very finicky. With all the different codecs out there, even if you get it to look good on your computer, there's no guarantee it will even play at all on someone else's.

After trying lots of different methods, by far the easiest, most foolproof, and most consistent is "Plays for Certain" third party software. I use the pro version (PFCPro), but the free version may serve your needs.

Unfortunately, the website seems to be down at the moment, so, not sure what's up with that.
posted by SampleSize at 10:02 AM on July 12, 2007

maybe I am crazy, but I would instead use a composited desktop (using Compiz and the workspaces/cube plugin), keeping the slides as simple as possible.

The presentation on one workspace/cube face, and a video player with a playlist on another. Switch between them when needed for a quick playback (you can do that even if you are inside a fullscreen application, at least with the cube trick).

And it looks cool, too.
posted by a007r at 10:38 PM on July 13, 2007

Response by poster: I've got too many videos for a switching desktops option.


mencoder -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=msmpeg4v2:vpass=1:$opt -nosound -o /dev/null inputs
mencoder -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=msmpeg4v2:vpass=2:$opt -nosound -o output.avi inputs

creates avis which seem fairly reliable. The input can be anything that mencoder can handle (so, pretty much anything).
posted by handee at 6:56 AM on July 14, 2007

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