It is a challenge finding the best linear presentation tool when
graphics, audio files, and video files are to be incorporated,
especially in trying to create a cross-platform presentation (PC-Mac).
As about 30% of the campus is on Macs, and 70% on PCs (Windows) this is
Following are some possible solutions to different situations:
1. Images only
For this, PowerPoint is commonly used, if the display will be from a
laptop. PowerPoint files can also be uploaded to web servers for
distribution. Other simple image-only presentation programs are iPhoto,
Keynote, Presentations (part of WordPerfect Office).
2. Images and audio, non-synchronized
PowerPoint (PP) can be used if synchronization of audio is NOT
important to the timing of the slides. It is very hard to synchronize a
specific image to a specified time in the audio. Slides can be timed to
advance automatically after a defined number of seconds, this time can
be different for each slide. The time is relative to the slide before,
and not absolute to the audio start time. For example, if you want the
12th slide to show up 87 seconds into the audio, you have to compute the
time difference between each of the preceeding 11 slides, and if there
is any "slippage", the timing will be off.
Audio files to be included can be .wav, .aif, and mp3, if the
presentation is to be cross-platform. The audio file is generally NOT
embedded in the presentation. Thus, for distribution, one must include
both the PP file and the audio file in the same folder. The playback
preferences for audio files in PP are buried, scattered, and not easy to
A PP presentation can be played in the foreground, while an audio
CD or audio from iTunes plays in the background. However, the audio
file cannot be easily distributed with the PP file.
Other images and non-synchronized audio presentation software is
iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, Keynote, Presentations (part of WordPerfect
3. Synchronized images and audio
PowerPoint is a poor tool if the slides in a presentation have
to be exactly timed to one or more audio tracks, for the above reasons.
You can time specific slides to specific audio clips, just not
accurately to a long audio file. It is also possible to let the audio
continue into succeeding slides, after it has played on one slide. The
audio preferences for each audio file control how many slides to play
the audio for.
iMovie on the Mac is a better solution. First, drag your
images into iPhoto. In iMovie, go to the Media Browser, and drag your
images into the iMovie timeline, set to "Clip View". Turn off the Ken
Burns effect, or each image will have an animated zoom. Each image will
have a default duration of 5 seconds. You can also drag images from the
desktop directly into iMovie, without going through iPhoto, but they
will be slightly cropped or rescaled.
Audio tracks can be dragged into the timeline from the desktop.
You can also import audio tracks in iTunes into iMovie, through iMovie's
Media Browser. If you use a file purchased from the iTunes Store, it
will only play on a computer authorized to do so.
After adding your audio and images to iTunes, you can drag the
length of each image to the duration you want, in the timeline. Audio
tracks can be cropped, edited and moved.
iMovie output can be a DVD, a small QuickTime movie, or a large
QuickTime movie. The movies can be added to a podcast, put on a web
page, or distributed individually. They can also be uploaded to a file
sharing service like YouTube.
iMovie, iPhoto, and iTunes are on all the Macs in the ATL and Neff Lab.
Windows Movie Maker can be used if you are on Windows.
However, it can be unstable if a variety of different audio formats are
used. The output will be a Windows Media video, which will usually not
play on a Mac. We can convert WMV to QuickTime movies for you. If you
are working in the PC Electronic Classroom, you can also export from
Windows Movie Maker as a DV-AVI. This can be opened in QuickTime Player
Pro, and converted to a QT movie. If the movie does not have to play on a
Mac, you can export as a WMV.
GarageBand can create files suitable for podcasting,
playing in iTunes, or playing in QuickTime Player. However, image
graphics have to be cropped and reduced to 300 x 300 pixel size before
exporting. It is more suitable for an audio podcast incorporating small
images. GarageBand can create chapter markers for a podcast, this
allows the listener to accurately navigate to specific points anywhere
in the file. It is also the most full-featured tool mentioned so far if
you need multiple audio tracks, sound libraries, audio composition and
4. Video in PowerPoint
Unfortunately, there is no way to create a cross-platform PP
presentation with inserted video clips, using modern video formats. The
Windows verion of PP only uses WMV clips, and the Mac version only uses
On a PC, you can create a hyperlink to a QuickTime movie or mp4
file. Select a word, and use the Insert>Hyperlink>Document command
to link to the movie.
You may get a security warning. To eliminate this in Office 07 for
Windows, go to PowerPoint Options, Trust Center, Trust Center Settings,
ActiveX settings, select "Prompt me before enabling all controls with
minimal restrictions", deselect "Safe Mode".
In PowerPoint 2002 for Windows, go to Tools>Options>Security.
If the presentation is to only play on Windows, or on a Mac, then
the compatible video format can be used as an inserted file. In either
case, ensure the movie file and PP file are in the same folder.
5. Higher-end Tools
If the above tools do not address the situation, there is higher-end
software available, such as Final Cut Express, Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio
Pro, Premiere Elements, Premiere Pro, Director and Flash. These
packages require more advanced skills.
There is no one best solution for every presentation situation, please
contact a member of the Instructional Technology Team, or Frank
Fulchiero, email@example.com, 439-5006, if you have any questions or
need assistance in selecting one, BEFORE you start your project. The
above guidelines are NOT complete directions, please contact a member of
the Instructional Technology Team for additional assistance.