From what I have observed, PowerPoint does not typically become the focal point of conversations about the coolest media production tools currently available. PowerPoint also has had its share of negative attention that is due (I believe) to the exposure many of us have had to poorly designed PowerPoint presentations. Death by PowerPoint is an expression that many can relate to. You may be familiar with Don McMillan, who has done some funny presentations around the topic of bad PowerPoint design. For example: Life After Death by PowerPoint.
Despite the misgivings that some may have about PowerPoint, I still like the software and find it useful in some of my video projects. I like being able to make title slides and simple animations easily in PowerPoint. These days, we can make videos from our PowerPoint presentations with the help of screencasting or webcasting software. In some versions of PowerPoint we can even save the presentation as a video file.
One of my Pinterest boards has been used as a space to collect some of my favorite examples of infographics. During these past few months, I have been thinking that PowerPoint might be useful as a video infographic tool. Granted, there are some interesting online tools for infographic creation, but I wanted to give old faithful a try since it is so commonly available. The following video was created in an infographic style with big simple graphics and text. In the video, I present 8 tips for using PowerPoint to create video infographics. These are tips that come from my own experience, what I have learned about graphic design for learning, and principles of multimedia learning. No doubt there are many other good tips and tutorials out there to be found.
Making Video Infographics with PowerPoint
Here is an example of a PowerPoint movie made in an infographic style.
Direct link: http://youtu.be/EpfEkPHHGYU
Below are some tips for making infographic movies with PowerPoint and screen recording software.
Review some PowerPoint tutorials (if needed): Check these out or search online for additional PowerPoint tutorials if needed.
- PowerPoint Training Courses: Free PowerPoint training courses and articles. Learn the basics and more.
- PowerPoint for Mac: Tutorials and articles that should help you get started with PowerPoint for Mac.
Start with widescreen page setup in PowerPoint: When I create PowerPoint movies for hosting on YouTube I always change the page setup to widescreen. This should be done first before adding content. Otherwise, the aspect ratio of the content is stretched and looks terrible. To convert to widescreen in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows click the Design tab, then Page Setup, then On-screen Show (16:9) under the Slides sized for: drop down menu as shown in the screenshot below. Search the help menu for other versions of PowerPoint to find out how to do this.
Try using a simple theme and blank slide layout: Often, I use a plain white PowerPoint slide with a blank slide layout. This serves as a canvas upon which I can draw my diagrams and text boxes without constraint.
Use the drawing tools in PowerPoint to create visuals: Use the simple shapes, lines, and arrows available in PowerPoint to create visuals for your slides. Combine simple shapes to make more complex shapes. Use fill and line colors to create the look you want, but strive for simplicity with infographics. I found it helpful to turn off shadows and apply color fills that I had selected in advance. Group the collection of shapes (Ctrl-G or right-click-group) so they stay together when moved or animated. Shapes can be arranged by bringing them forward or sending them back in the stack.
Use the animation tools to coordinate visuals with voice narration: Try experimenting with different animations in your presentation. I have found that typically, simple animations are best. I use only enough to coordinate the visuals with voice narration. Otherwise, animations can be distracting. The idea is to draw the eye to the part of the screen we want the user to look at.
Practice the presentation: Run the PowerPoint show and click through it to test all the animations. Print a copy of the slides in handout form so that there are 6 or more slides on a page. The print out of the slides will serve as a visual guide when you record the narrated PowerPoint movie. You can also write down some talking points for each slide if needed.
Pretend you have an audience: It can seem weird to record presentations in an empty room. Pretend you are talking to your students or audience when recording the PowerPoint movie. Whatever you do, avoid reading from a script word-for-word. It will sound more natural if you follow a set of key points on your slide print outs.
Use screen recording software to record and produce the PowerPoint movie. The video above was created with Camtasia. This software has excellent recording and editing capabilities. If the price is prohibitive, you might enjoy trying Screencast-O-Matic to record your PowerPoint movie.