Storyboarding PowerPoint 2003 presentations to video and DVD

By Glenna Shaw, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP and owner of the PPT Magic Web site

Applies to
Microsoft Office PowerPoint® 2003
Microsoft PowerPoint® 2002 and 2000

In this article

Before you start

Turn an existing presentation into a storyboard

Export your slides as images

Create your video

Save your video

Burn your video to DVD

Create an animated GIF from storyboard images

Examples and more information

More and more people are asking how to burn their Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003 presentations to DVD, for two very obvious reasons:

  • PowerPoint is an extremely easy multimedia authoring tool to use. PowerPoint is also widely available, and you don't have to be a genius to use it.
  • DVDs have become very cost effective to create, and DVD players are widely available. And playing DVDs doesn't require a computer.

Using PowerPoint and a DVD, you have an easy method of getting your message out, whether as a training video or a digital business card promoting your products or services. And your audience can view your material at home as well as in their offices.

A common method of committing a PowerPoint presentation to DVD involves making a video recording of the complete presentation in real time, saving the recorded presentation as a video file, and finally transferring that video file onto a DVD. Third-party software is required to record the presentation.

This article presents an alternative method, in which you convert your PowerPoint presentation into a storyboard of slides that can, in turn, be used to create a video file that can be burned to a DVD. A storyboard is a series of slide images that works rather like one of those cartoon flipbooks. A stack of pictures are bound so that the images can be riffled through with the thumb, causing the illusion of a moving picture.

Storyboarding your presentation is an entirely different process from capturing a presentation that is running on a screen. The end result can be spectacular, but it is not as fully automated as the recording of a live presentation.

Before you start

To create video files, you need one of the following:

  • Photo slideshow software    

Photo slideshow software makes it possible to create slideshows from your digital photos. Some programs allow you to add special effects, soundtracks, voice narration, titles, and captions to your shows.

There are many photo slideshow applications available at little or no cost on the Internet, and most digital cameras come with software that lets you create digital video shows from your photos. Photo Story 3 software for Windows XP is available free from Microsoft.

  • Video editing software    

Video editing software is used to cut and arrange, and also to add effects to, digital video content.

Again, there is a wide variety of programs available, many of them for free or near free; and most DVD burners come with software that allows you to edit your video footage. Movie Maker software for Windows XP is available free from Microsoft.

To burn your video files to DVD discs, you also need:

  • A DVD burner     This is the hardware in which the physical DVD disc is formatted.
  • DVD burning software     Most DVD burners arrive complete with the software that you need to burn DVDs. Make sure that your software has the ability to convert the format of your video to one that can be played on a conventional television DVD player.

 Note   Many photo slideshow and video editing software packages also provide the ability to burn video to a DVD disc, or will at least export video to be burned to a DVD. One such program available for purchase is Sonic DVD for Photo Story 3.

ShowIf you plan to play your DVD on televisions, Part I

The quality (or resolution) of most TV screens is not as good as that of most computer monitors. If you plan to play your DVD on a television screen, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Taj Simmons offers the following suggestions:

  • Avoid putting information too close to the edges of your slides. (Information placed too close to the edge may be cut off when viewed on a TV.)
  • Avoid very small text. A lot depends on the quality of the TV and how far back the TV will be viewed from.
  • Aim for no smaller than 30-point font sizes.
  • Avoid very thin lines. Aim for at least 3-point line sizes.
  • Avoid colors that look bad on TV. (Red is notorious for this.)
  • Avoid very narrow, pale, thin, and serif fonts. Aim for Arial (sans-serif), bold, heavy-weight fonts.
  • Aim for dark backgrounds (for example, dark blue) and light-colored text (white and yellow work well).

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Turn an existing presentation into a storyboard

To convert an existing PowerPoint presentation to a storyboard format, there are several steps you need to take. As always, it’s a good idea to save your work frequently at every stage of the process.

  1. Save a copy of the existing presentation with a new name, and do all of the storyboard work on the new version. For example, a presentation originally named Present.ppt could be saved as Presentvideo.ppt.
  2. Click AutoCorrect Options on the Tools menu, and then click the AutoFormat As You Type tab.
  3. Under Apply As You Type, clear all of the check boxes.

 Important   Remember to turn these options back on (if desired) after working on your storyboard file.

  1. Remove all animations, and then re-create animation effects by adding slides.

Because you are exporting your slides as static images, animations in your PowerPoint presentation will not function in your video.

In the following example, to replace the animation effect of text appearing one line at a time on a single slide, four slides are created from the original slide, and then the appropriate lines of text are deleted from each slide. (Copies of any slide can be easily created by selecting that slide, and then clicking Duplicate Slide on the Insert menu.)

Animation effect in one slide

Animation effect in four slides

Think of your slides as being the individual pages of that cartoon flipbook. If you flip through the slides, will they present the effect that you want? Typically, a presentation that has animations will need from three to five times as many slides when it is converted to a storyboard.

ShowIf you have complex animations in your PowerPoint presentation

If your PowerPoint presentation contains objects that have Custom Animation effects, create one slide for each half second of motion. The principle is the same as the one applied in creating a cartoon. PowerPoint MVP Shyam Pillai has created a free Capture Show add-in that makes this easier.

  1. Remove all slide transitions.

As with animations, so with transitions. Because you're exporting your slides as images, transition effects in your presentation will not function in your video version. Most photo slideshow and video editing software provide the capacity to add transitions between images.

  1. Switch to Slide Sorter view (on the View menu, click Slide Sorter). This lays out all of your slides end to end so that you can see the flow of your storyboard.

ShowIf you want to create an actual physical flipbook that you can thumb through

  1. On the File menu, click Print.
  2. In the Print What box, select Handouts, ensure that Slides per page is set to the default value of 6, and then click OK.
  3. Working with the printed handouts, cut out each slide image, leaving a small, blank margin at the left side of each.
  4. Stack the cut-out images in the correct order, and staple them together by the blank margins.
  1. Resize your slides.

Make your presentation slides larger. Making the slides larger improves the output resolution of the images. (Your photo slideshow or video editing software should take care of making the pictures smaller again for your actual video output.)

The most important thing to keep in mind is that each slide’s aspect ratio must remain the same. The following table shows some recommended slide sizes.

For Use slide size
Large video 40 inches wide by 30 inches high
Medium video 20 inches wide by 15 inches high

To change the slide size of your presentation, click Page Setup on the File menu, and then adjust the Width and Height values as needed.

ShowIf you expect to use this method of creating videos frequently

A third-party product available for purchase is Batch Exporter Wizard, a tool created by PowerPoint MVP Shyam Pillai. This tool breaks up the elements of a PowerPoint presentation into various components for export. To learn more about Batch Exporter Wizard, or to purchase the product, visit Office Marketplace.

ShowIf you have a video in your PowerPoint presentation

If your PowerPoint presentation contains a video, I recommend storyboarding your presentation into two sections, one for content that comes before the video and one for content that comes after it. You can then use your video editing software to do either of the following:

  • Insert the images from the first storyboard section, then insert the video, and finally insert the images from the second storyboard section.
  • If you are burning the material to DVD, create three separate menu items, one item each for the two presentation sections and a third item for the video.

See also the Create your video section of this article. Most video editing software allows you to insert video files, as well as images. Simply insert the video in the appropriate place in your storyboard.

 Important   You must use video editing software to add a video to your presentation. You cannot use photo slideshow software to do this.

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Export your slides as images

When your storyboard is complete, export your slides as images. This is a very straightforward process in PowerPoint:

  1. On the File menu, click Save As, and then select or create a folder to store your images in.
  2. In the Save as type box, select the desired file type:
GIF Graphics Interchange Format (*.gif)
JPEG File Interchange Format (*.jpg)
BMP Device Independent Bitmap (*.bmp)
TIFF Tag Image File Format (*.tif)
PNG Portable Network Graphics Format (*.png)
  1. Choose a file type that your photo slideshow or video editing software can recognize. Typically, this is the JPEG file type.
  2. Enter a name for your files in the File name box, click Save and then, when prompted, click Every Slide.

Your slide images are saved to a folder that has the file name that you entered in step 3. Each slide image is named Slide#.ext where # is an incremental number that indicates that image’s place in the storyboard and ext is the file type that you chose (for example, Slide1.JPG, Slide2.JPG, etc.). This makes it very easy to insert the images in the appropriate order in your photo slideshow or video editing software.

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Create your video

Of course, exactly how you create your video will depend upon which photo slideshow or video editing software you are using. Refer to the software instructions for the applicable procedures.

Although precise methods may differ, however, there are some steps that are common to all programs. You should expect to do the following:

  1. Import your images.

Select all of the images in your image folder for import.

  1. Add your images to the storyboard.

Use the numbers in the image names to make sure that all of the images are in the correct order.

 Tip   Save your video project file as you complete each step to preserve your changes. Once all of your edits are complete, you’ll use this file to create the actual video file.

  1. Add transitions between the images (if your software has this capacity).

 Important   Do not set any transition between the frames of a single complex animation. Transitions will break up the illusion of motion.

  1. Add other effects, if desired.

Many programs allow you to add not only transitions, but other effects such as text, titles, credits, and so on.

  1. Adjust timings for images and transitions.

Set both the amount of time that you want each image to remain on the screen and the duration of transitions between images. (Many programs do a good job of setting these values for you automatically.)

The process for adjusting individual slide timings varies from program to program. Most of the applications I am familiar with require that timings be adjusted in timeline view instead of storyboard view. In timeline view, you simply drag one side of an image or transition to lengthen or shorten its duration.

 Tip   For complex animations, set each image to display for .25 seconds, and also set each transition to .25 seconds. These settings fool the eye into perceiving a moving image.

  1. Add sound, including music and narration, if desired.

Note that in some programs, if you want to add narration, you must record it separately and then add it as a sound file.

 Important   It's very important to adjust all timings for your images and transitions before you add any sound. If you adjust timings after adding sound, the sound will be distorted accordingly — dragged out or sped up — in the adjusted spots.

  1. Add open captions or subtitles.

Most programs offer the ability to add text to the video file content. This is a wonderful way to add captions or subtitles, especially if you are including narration in your video. This method is called open captioning, because the captions are embedded within the video and cannot be turned off.

One advantage of open captions is that displaying them doesn't require special formatting or special software. There are two disadvantages: open captions take up space on your video, and they can't ever be turned off. One way to get around those problems is to save multiple versions of your video, some to which you add subtitles (one version per language) and one without subtitles, and then allow your viewers to choose which version they want to watch. Each choice would be represented by a link on a Web site, or by a menu option on a DVD.

A very useful guide to captions and subtitles is provided by the Captioned Media Program.

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Save your video

Follow the directions for your photo slideshow or video editing software to save your project file as a video file. Before choosing the format for your saved video file, consider whether you will send your video in e-mail, post it on the Internet, store or distribute it as a video CD or DVD, or view it only on your own computer.

ShowIf you plan to play your DVD on televisions, Part II

When you save videos to DVD for viewing on television, it is important to be familiar with the various standard media formats for televisions, because most of the formats are mutually incompatible.

The format used in America and Canada is NTSC (National Television System Committee). Western Europe and Australia use PAL (Phase Alternating Line) formatting, and Eastern Europe and France use SECAM (Sequential Color with Memory) formatting. Most software packages give you the choice of saving your video to either NTSC or PAL formatting for television.

Remember that if you save your file for viewing on a television, the resolution may appear blurry on the computer.

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Burn your video to DVD

There is a difference between video CDs that are meant to be played on a computer and DVDs that are meant to be played on a television. If you use one program to create your video, and then use a different program to burn the video to a DVD, make sure that you save the video in the format recommended in your DVD burner software documentation.

Create your DVD according to the software instructions. In most programs, this means simply clicking a button labeled something like Burn DVD.

If you want to create a menu for your DVD, you can use either the DVD authoring software that comes with your DVD burner or a third-party program. In the latter category, MyDVD Studio from Sonic makes it possible to add multiple videos, menus, and submenus to your DVD.

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Create an animated GIF from storyboard images

Creating an animated GIF file from PowerPoint presentation storyboard images that are saved as GIF files is a relatively simple process.

Exactly how you complete the following steps will vary depending upon the software that you use:

  1. Insert your GIF images.

Make sure that the images are in the proper order. (It helps if the images are numbered sequentially.)

  1. Adjust the output size.

Select an output size that is reasonable for the use you plan to make of the animated GIF. A bigger image means a larger file to download.

  1. Adjust the timing between images.

Select a timing between images that it is neither too fast nor too slow.

  1. Set options for rewinding and looping.

Decide whether you want your animated GIF to rewind, or to loop, or to do both.

Save your animated GIF. If the resulting file is too large for your needs, repeat the preceding steps, but choose a smaller output size.

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Examples and more information

Visit the PPT Magic Web site for examples of a wide variety of video files, as well as more information about how to create them.

 Note   The third-party products discussed in this article are manufactured by vendors independent of Microsoft; we make no warranty, implied or otherwise, regarding the performance or reliability of these products.

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About the author

Glenna Shaw is a Certified Project Management Professional with the federal government and an active member of the PowerPoint Community. She is Microsoft Certified in PowerPoint and Word and holds a Certificate in Accessible Information Technology.

Applies to:
PowerPoint 2003, PowerPoint 2002, PowerPoint 2000