How to make a professional video using PowerPoint

Did you know you can create a quality video using software you've probably already got? It's simple, quick, and using just Microsoft PowerPoint, Windows Movie Maker and a couple of other low-cost services, you can become your own mini movie producer.

 

 

Video is a great way to engage your clients and potential clients, and can help demonstrate your expertise, communicate your "why", build trust, and help people get to know you a bit better.

But if you haven't created a video before, the technology can seem a bit daunting.

The steps below explain how to create a video from a PowerPoint slide presentation, including the slides, your voice, and a professional looking introduction.

What you'll need

The process makes use of tools that most of you will already have on a Windows computer in our office — PowerPoint and Windows Live Movie Maker. If you're an Apple user, you can achieve similar results using KeyNote and Screenflow.

What you'll need:

  • Microsoft PowerPoint

  • Windows Live Movie Maker

  • $5 for a fancy introduction video

  • Microphone (either built in to your computer or external)

Make a plan

1. Define the overall idea

Before you start producing your video, it is worth spending a moment to jot down a few points to guide you:

  • Who is your audience?

  • What information do they want and/or need?

  • What information do you want to share?

2. Create an outline

Create a bullet point list for the outline of your video. Some ideas might include answers to questions you regularly get, or perhaps an explanation of a scenario or strategy, such as a transition to retirement pension.

3. Decide the length

Don't forget to think about the total length of your video.

I suggest to keep it short to start with, and then try different lengths as you create new videos. You might find that people are more inclined to watch several 1-3 minute videos rather than a single 5-10 minute one.

And if you will be uploading the video to YouTube, remember there is a 15 minute limit.

Create the fancy introduction

This is probably the most fun step, and one that you only need to do once. You can then reuse the intro on each video you produce.

4. Visit Fiverr.com

Go to www.fiverr.com. This is a website where, for just $5, you can get all manner of things done.

There are some genuinely useful items available such as voice overs and videos, but there are some dodgy ones too.

There are also some pretty weird ones, such as getting a video of a dog eating mincemeat in the shape of your business name. Needless to say, it's easy to get distracted!

5. Find a "gig" that you like

Search for "intro video" or "logo video" to start looking for a gig that suits your business branding. I chose this intro. Here are a few other examples:

6. Order, pay and wait

Once you have decided on a video, set up an account and make payment. You will then need to provide your logo and any other text you'd like included. Fiverr will prompt you for this information, and then email you a link to the video once it's complete.

It will probably take a couple of days for your video to be completed.

Record your PowerPoint slides

7. Create your PowerPoint slides

No instructions here. Let's make the assumption you know how to use PowerPoint.

8. Narrate and record your slide show

  • In PowerPoint, select the Slide Show tab.

  • In the Set Up section, select Record Slide Show > Start Recording from Beginning.

  • You will be prompted with a couple of checkboxes. Leave both ticked. This will ensure that when you play back your slide show, the slides will transition automatically based on the timings you record. It will also record the audio (your voice).

Record slide show

As soon as you select Start Recording, your slide show will open to a full screen, and you'll be recording.

I suggest having a practice on a couple of slides before you do the whole presentation, so you can check the sound and ensure you are comfortable with the process.

Also, use the right arrow key to progress your slides so you don't record the mouse click sound. You can use the right arrow key on the last slide too, and this will end the recording.

9. Edit your recording

If you make an error on a slide you can continue to record, and go back and re-record just the single slide later. PowerPoint actually records and saves a mini recording for each slide, which makes editing simple.

You will know there is a recording associated with a slide as there will be a small speaker icon in the bottom right corner of the slide. This image won't show on your final video.

Speaker icon
  • To change a single slide or all slides, select the Slide Show tab > Set Up section > Record Slide Show > Clear, and then select the "all" or "current" options, depending on what you are trying to achieve.

  • Playback your slideshow by selecting the small slide show icon in the bottom right corner, just to the left of the magnifier % bar.

You can also tweak the timings on the slides without needing to re-record (for example, if you want to add or remove a pause at the end of a slide), by selecting the Transitions tab > Timing section, and adjusting the time in the Advance Slide field.

10. Save your recording as a video

Once you are happy, save the file as a video (although make sure you complete a normal save first):

  • Choose File > Save and Send > Create a Video (under File Types). There are a number of further options:

    • Select Computer & HD Displays, so you retain the video quality. Note: once the end product is uploaded to a video host, such as YouTube or Vimeo, the file will be compressed for optimal playback.

    • Select Use Recorded Timings and Narrations, which simply means the video will play with the audio and automatic slide transitions that you just recorded.

PowerPoint-video-settings.png
    • Select Create Video. It may take a while to save, depending on the length, so go and make a cuppa.

Combine in Windows Live Movie Maker

Most modern Windows machines come with Windows Live Movie Maker. It has fairly basic functionality, but allows you to create something pretty decent. However, nothing will make up for a snore-worthy, badly structured PowerPoint presentation, or poor audio, so make sure you have those elements sorted.

11. Import the videos

  • Open Windows Live Movie Maker. You can find it via the Start button.

  • From the Home tab, select Add videos and photos.

  • Browse to find the video introduction you got from Fiverr. Select it, and choose Open. Depending on the length and size of the file, it may take a little time to import.

  • Do the same for your PowerPoint video (i.e. the .wmv not the .ppt) and any other elements you would like to import. For example, you may like to import the introduction twice, and use it at the and of the video too.

12. Make the final touches

  • Reorder any of the elements you have imported by simply dragging them into the correct order.

Now, you can get all fancy at this point with transitions, titles, captions and so on, but I urge you to proceed with caution. Don't let the fact that a piece of software will let you do something, make you think that you should do something. Keep it simple and let the message tell the story.

You can preview the video by selecting the Preview Full Screen icon to the right of the timer. Be aware that the quality will look pretty terrible, but will improve once you save the file and view the video in a video player.

  • Save your file as a project, by selecting File > Save Project As. This will allow you to come back later and edit it if need be.

  • Save your file as a video, by selecting File > Save movie > and then select the quality. I used the high definition display option, but you may need to experiment to see what's best for you.

Upload the video

13. Upload to YouTube or Vimeo

Video files are generally pretty large in size, so uploading them directly to your website will unfortunately slow your site down.

To get around this, try creating a YouTube or Vimeo channel for your business, and then simply embed the link to the video on your website (just like the video at the top of this post). That means the video host will do the heavy lifting for you, in terms of bandwidth.

For those of you interested in search engine optimisation (SEO), remember that Google owns YouTube, and it is the second largest search engine (after Google). There are definitely advantages to having a presence there.

From an SEO standpoint, you should try to label and describe your video using the type of words and phrases that your potential customers may use when searching in Google (keywords). For example, you may title your video "How to save tax and boost retirement savings for over 55s" rather than "TTR pension".

Celebrate

Wowsers! You're good! If you've made it this far, get yourself a directors chair with your name on it and call Mr Spielberg.

Optional extras

There are always extra bells and whistles you can use to enhance your video, so here are a few ideas to try out in the future.

Talking head or whiteboard video

You can record a talking head or explanatory video using a whiteboard, with very limited equipment. In fact, you really don’t need much more than a phone that can record quality video, and a steady hand or tripod. Depending on the quality of sound produced, you may wish to use an external microphone to enhance the audio.

A talking head video can be a nice way to introduce your PowerPoint slides and audio. It allows the audience to see you, and put a face to your dulcet tones.

Of course if you have a dedicated video camera, then by all means use it. The point is, you don't need a bunch of fan-dangled equipment and it doesn't have to be tv quality.

Music

Adding additional music to your recording may also enhance the experience, but you have to be careful not to go overboard. You could, for example, use additional music during the outro, or to emphasise something.

A great resource for purchasing music is Audio Jungle, where you can purchase royalty free audio files for around $10 - $20. There are thousands to choose from, so it could be a relaxing Friday afternoon task.

Learn from others

Above all, watch what others are doing and observe what works and what doesn't. You can get ideas without blatantly copying, and improve the quality of your videos, every time.

Good luck!