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Discover how to integrate and enhance video and audio to create a more engaging PowerPoint presentation. In this course, author Alicia Katz Pollock emphasizes the technical details necessary to make a multimedia presentation work: from working with appropriate file formats, to applying video styles, to reducing the file size of multimedia presentations for sharing.
Some PowerPoint videos may not play back smoothly. They may be jerky, experience delays, or the sound doesn't sync. This can be caused by a variety of factors around your own particular computer hardware and software setup. There are a number of techniques you can try if you find your media clips don't play well. The biggest culprit may be your computer itself. If your computer is more than a few years old, it wasn't designed to manage video files and animation well, since multimedia has only recently become popular.
Video playback is very processor-intensive. PowerPoint 2007 is designed to work with DirectX-compatible video cards that support Microsoft Direct 3D technology. If you have an older machine, your graphics card may not be powerful enough. If the issue is your graphics card, first make sure its software drivers are up to date. If you suspect your hardware is just too old, it might be time to consider a more powerful computer. It's also possible you don't have enough RAM. RAM is the short-term memory that determines how fast your computer thinks and how many operations it can perform simultaneously.
If you find that your videos are consistently choppy or the audio doesn't sync, take your computer to a store for this inexpensive fix. After adding more RAM, you'll also find that the rest of your workload on your computer will go much more smoothly. Try exiting all your other open programs, so that PowerPoint is the only one running. Also, make sure you're not running out of free disk space. If you're down to under 1 GB of hard drive space, you'll definitely see a reduction in performance. PowerPoint and other programs use free disk space to manage their own memory.
Here are a few other techniques you can try, but please note that performing the steps below may or may not help, depending on your specific slide show and computer. First, make sure your hardware acceleration is turned on. To do this, go to the Slide Show tab and then click on the Set Up Slide Show button. At the bottom of the dialog box that appears, look for Performance. Put a check box in front of Use hardware graphics acceleration. Under that setting is Slide show resolution. Click on the dropdown arrow.
Try using a smaller dimension, down to 640x480, which is fastest, but low fidelity. This will make the slide show very small and possibly grainy, but it should smooth out your playback. The only problem with changing this setting that it may distort your videos; if that's the case, go back to Use Current Resolution. Go ahead and close this box and go back to the Slide Show Ribbon. Note that this Resolution setting is also available right on the Ribbon.
Another step you can take is to run the entire presentation from start to finish, even if the playback is glitchy. Then play the whole thing again and see if there's any improvement. The first time you play the slide show the system will cache some of the data, and the second time, PowerPoint will read from the cache instead of from the hard disk. Spread out your more complex slides so they're not grouped together. Insert text slides between your memory-intensive multimedia slides. If you're running the slide show off of a CD or DVD, try moving the files to the computer's hard drive and playing it right from the computer.
This will skip the intermediate step of accessing the CD drive while your slide show plays. Compress your images to save file size and processor requirements. You may also choose to export your slide show as its own movie file, if you're not going to be presenting it live. As a single self-running file, it won't be beholden to the same glitches as a live PowerPoint presentation. You may want to limit or remove special effects and formatting applied to your videos, such as shadows, reflections, and glows. These effects all use your computer's processing power to apply and maintain.
Along the same lines, reduce the number of by-letter and by-word animations. By-letter and by-word animations apply an effect that brings text onto the slide one letter, or one word, at a time. Instead, use one of these animations only for the title of a slide, instead of for every single bullet point. Avoid animations that include fading, rotating, or scaling. Try replacing these effects with other more simple animations. Don't use large color gradients, where your colors gradually progress from one color to another color, or transparent objects.
Instead, choose solid-color fills. Reduce the physical size of animated pictures and animated text. Also, reduce the number of simultaneous animations. Run them one after the other, instead. Last, you may want to edit the original media clips themselves in the software you used to make them to save a version of the file with fewer frames per second. This will create a smaller file size, more manageable by your computer. Because multimedia PowerPoint slideshows can be so memory-intensive, any one of these solutions may be just the thing you need to ensure your presentation runs as smoothly as possible in front of a live audience.
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