As more and more PowerPoint users include video backgrounds in presentations, it is more important than ever that it is done in a way that delivers eye-catching and effective results. This can be a little tricky for the uninitiated, so this article provides seven quick and easy tips for successfully using video backgrounds in a PowerPoint presentation.
1. Make sure the video background motion is not too fast
One of the biggest problems with poorly executed PowerPoint presentations with video backgrounds is speed. It is easy to design a presentation that uses a video background. I’ve seen many examples of presentations with distracting, fast-moving backgrounds that distract from the presentation itself. So, an important reminder is to use backgrounds that are slow to medium in the speed of animation and movement. That way, your text and other elements remain central.
2. Choose backgrounds that support your presentation
As with any new toy, presenters can get trapped by adding backgrounds that have nothing to do with the topic or theme of their presentation. Adding video backgrounds that don’t fit the presentation theme can be a killer and distract the audience from what you hope to communicate. So remember to choose backgrounds that enhance your presentation. This will help you communicate more effectively during your presentation. While it can be tempting at first, it’s never a good idea to use video backgrounds to show you can use them.
3. Choose a clean design that doesn’t compete with text
Another important key reminder is to choose backgrounds that are mostly uncluttered so that you have enough available space to include your presentation text and other graphic elements. If you use complex backgrounds with too many animation and design elements, it can compete again with your text and presentation itself. A clear video background with light movement helps an otherwise simple PowerPoint presentation. You don’t need a lot of design and movement to catch the eye.
Looping is important
When selecting video backgrounds for recording in your PowerPoint presentation, make sure the video flows seamlessly. This is a feature added to many of the professionally designed animated backgrounds available in the market. Essentially seamlessly looped video backgrounds can be played continuously without detecting where the loop point is while watching. This offers you as a PowerPoint presenter a great advantage. During your presentation you can be parked on a certain slide and the background continues to run in the background. The result: striking movement that improves communication during your presentation.
5. The correct encoding (and plug-in) for playback
It’s important to note that in order to include (and import) video into your presentation, the file must be a file accepted by PowerPoint. The typical files that PowerPoint works with are AVI, MPEG and Windows Media (WMV). I recommend using WMV files as it is a file type created and supported by Microsoft itself which is always a good advantage. So you need to take your original video files and convert (encode) them to any of the above three file types. When encoding the files for display in PowerPoint, consider the following specifications (and run some tests):
640 x 480 resolution, 4: 3 (Currently it provides the most stable display. If you are using 16: 9 source material, convert the 16: 9 video to 4: 3 letterbox when converting to 640×480).
15 fps (frames per second)
Medium to high video quality
Test different settings to get the quality and performance you are looking for. The settings you choose depend on the speed of your computer.
Also, if you want to use video as a layer where you want to put text and other images over it, you need to buy a third party plugin that can do this in PowerPoint. There are video background plugins for PowerPoint that are easy to find by searching the internet. Try searching: PowerPoint Video Background Plugin and you will discover new ways to pump up your presentations with dynamic motion.
6. Use video optimized for PowerPoint
If you don’t think you want to encode and convert video to the required file type to work in PowerPoint, don’t worry! You can search and buy stock video that is already optimized (encoded) to work in PowerPoint. This can be a great benefit to you because someone else has already taken the time to properly encode the video background (i.e. file type, frame rate, bit rate, etc …) and you just need to import into PowerPoint. Search the following keywords to find video backgrounds that are already optimized to work in PowerPoint: PowerPoint Optimized Video Loops (or search for a variation of these keywords).
7. Run tests with free wallpapers available on the web
If you don’t currently have video backgrounds in your library, consider searching the Internet for free PowerPoint video backgrounds that you can use to test. You will be surprised how many websites offer free sample clips that you can download and test in your project.
In conclusion, there are several considerations to consider when designing a PowerPoint presentation with video backgrounds. The main key to remember is to always give clear communication top priority when building your PowerPoint deck – and only use video backgrounds to increase and improve the effectiveness of your presentation.