How to make an explainer video in 2 hours (even if you're a chicken)

If you haven't had a crack at video, it's a big unknown. Sure, we've all recorded our cats/kids/dogs/friends doing something wacky in the hopes of YouTube fame, glory and riches. But when it comes to putting something together for your financial planning business, it can get a bit trickier. But the goods news is, it doesn't have to be.

 

 

Over the weekend, I wanted to make a video to explain a project I'm working on.

Something to get people interested and inspire them to take action.

But I didn't want to record a video of myself talking about it.

Why?

(a) Because the prospect of my ugly noggin on a video, causes me to involuntarily sprint in the opposite direction. That's right...I'm a BIG chicken.

(b) Because the message isn't about me. It's about the project. I wanted that to be the single focus, with no distractions.

So what did I do?

Now I'm lucky enough to have fancy video editing and motion graphics software, as well as graphic design software.

Those tools are awesome, but I wanted something quick and easy.

So I used PowerPoint.

And here's the end result.

Hardly a work of art, but hopefully it gets the message across.

If you want to do something similar, it's dead easy.

Here's how to get started.

Step 1: Set the screen size in PowerPoint

The size of the default slides in PowerPoint are designed for presentations, not videos.

But you can quickly adjust the size to a 16:9 ratio, which is optimal for viewing most videos.

  • In Powerpoint, select Design > Page Setup

  • Choose Slides sized for On-screen show (16:9)

  • Select OK

Step 2: Create your PowerPoint presentation

Next, create your PowerPoint presentation so it is standalone i.e. it doesn't require you to explain anything verbally. If you want to make that type of video, check out this earlier blog post.

The key here is to ensure you set up transitions.

Transitions are the effect that is applied when moving from one slide to another. You can set them to be triggered by mouse click, or you can set them to be triggered after a certain time frame.

We want the slides to move automatically, so we need to select the Transitions tab, select After and set a time.

To quickly set this for every slide, just click Apply to all.

Powerpoint transition

You can also select different effects, such as Fade or Fly-through.

Have a play around and see what works. But remember that keeping it simple is often the best strategy.

Tip: Don't forget to save your work as you go.

Step 3: Save as a video

Once your presentation is complete, you need to save it as a video.

Simply select FileSave As, navigate to where you want it saved, name it, and most importantly, choose Windows Media Video in the Save as type drop-down.

Converting your presentation to video can take a few minutes, but you can watch its progress at the bottom of your screen.

Step 4: Import into Windows Live Movie Maker

To add the music, you will need some video editing software.

You could use something like Camtasia which is a paid product, but I simply used Windows Live Movie Maker, which is software that came installed on my computer. If you're a Windows user, chances are you probably have it too.

  • In Windows Live Movie Maker, select Add videos and photos, and select the video you just saved from PowerPoint

  • You may need to adjust the screen size, so choose Project and ensure that Widescreen (16:9) is selected

Step 5: Add the music

Music is powerful, and can help convey emotion.

Your selection here is important, so take your time and try a few options.

I purchased a track on Audio Jungle for $17, but you may already have something you want to use.

Just be careful about licensing and copyright.

To add the music in Movie Maker, just select Add music.

Easy!

Now's the time when you may want to tweak things. It might involve adjusting PowerPoint or fading the music. Play around until it's just right.

Step 6: Save the final video

To save the final video, select  File > Save As, navigate to where you want it saved, name it, and choose Windows Media Video in the Save as type drop-down.

I'd also recommend saving your Project too, which will allow you to come back and make any adjustments later if you need to.

Step 7: Upload to Wistia/YouTube/Vimeo

Now that your video is complete, it needs to live somewhere.

As it is a large file, uploading it directly to your website, or trying to email it, will end in tears.

So, it's best to upload it to a video hosting platform such as YouTube, Vimeo or Wistia.

I chose Wistia, because the player is very stylish (you can change its colours), it provides great statistics, and you can also add an email capture at the end.

Step 8: Share

You now have a video that is available online, that you can embed on your website, email links to, and post on social media.

And you created it all with tools you already have, and (hopefully) without any tears.

Totally suitable for chickens!