I previously blogged about using ProfCast to add audio narration to PowerPoint presentations. I had better results recording audio using the internal microphone of a Macintosh than the internal microphone of an HP laptop, but I was left wanting to try a better microphone. Also, when I lecture, I tend to spend a significant amount of time discussing rather busy slides and doing a lot of pointing at specific features in the slide, so I needed a good way to automate all that pointing.
I finally got a headset with a noise-canceling microphone, which, amazingly, can be used right next to a running fan. I have also taken the time to start learning how to use the PowerPoint animation features, which can replace my habit of pointing at details on the slides.
I tried recording directly into PowerPoint using the Insert > Audio > Record Audio… option. I ran into the problem (discussed here) of the default audio quality for PowerPoint 2010 being set too low for me to get a good recording.
Another issue is that I like to be able to edit my audio. In the past I’ve used GarageBand, but I wanted to record the audio on the same HP laptop that has PowerPoint 2010. I’m now using Audacity to record audio from my headset’s microphone. I export the sound files from Audacity and then use PowerPoint’s “Insert> Audio > Audio from File…” option.
PowerPoint vs Video. I prefer to provide students with PowerPoint presentations that contain narration and automated pointing because I often insert hypertext links in my slides. However, it is possible to save a PowerPoint presentations as video and some students might prefer a video if they are using a hand-held device that will not play PowerPoint presentations. Select “Save and Send > Create a Video” from the file menu:
Here is an example of a video made from PowerPoint: http://youtu.be/9Veh6s3lbH8
If you use PowerPoint’s default size for presentation slides then you will never really be happy with how videos of your PowerPoint presentations look on YouTube. YouTube uses 16:9 (width:height) video, but the PowerPoint default is a 4:3 ratio. I suggest using PowerPoint >Display menu > Page Setup >Slides sized for: Custom > Width 13.33 inches, Height 7.5 inches. The PowerPoint option to save your videos as “Internet & DVD 852 x 480” will work well with YouTube’s 853 x 480 video format.
I’d like to try making media files available to students via iTunes U.
I discovered that if you have a slide with animated elements and you add a video to the slide, the video will not play automatically even if you select Video Tools > Playback > Start Automatically. In order for this to work, the video has to be moved to the top (shown below for “gif to movie.wmv”) of the list of animated elements in the Animation Pane where all of the animated elements of the page are listed: