The first thing Daniel's class needed to learn was what a movie is and isn't. PowerPoint considers any file with the following extensions to be a movie:
AVI: Audio Video Interleave
MPG: Motion Picture Experts Group
ASF: Microsoft Streaming Format
The programs that create and run movie files have changed over the years . For us, that means we have to watch out for not only the file extension, but the type of file the extension represents. For example, there are four versions of QuickTime movies. PowerPoint supports only QuickTime versions one and two.
In general, the best movie formats for PowerPoint use are AVI and MPG. While other formats work, they are more likely to have compatibility problems from one computer to the next . There are other movie file types in use today, but I do not recommend using them with PowerPoint. If you have movie files other than the ones listed above, it is a good idea to convert them to AVI or MPG.
Notice animated gifs are not on the list. While they do move, they are not movies; they are graphics and PowerPoint treats them as such.
There is someone who knows everything about using movies in PowerPoint: Austin Myers. Austin shares his knowledge readily in the PowerPoint newsgroup. In addition, he has developed a great series of FAQ entries known as the Myers Multimedia FAQ. You can find these articles at:
The PowerPoint FAQ site (http://www.pptfaq.com) under Myers Multimedia FAQ
On Sonia Coleman's site at http://www.soniacoleman.com/Tutorials/PowerPoint/multimedia.htm
The insertion process starts before opening PowerPoint. Just as with most sound files, movie files are linked, not embedded. The first step in adding a movie to a presentation is to put a copy of the movie in the same folder as the presentation. This way, the link to the movie is a relative link. Moving the folder from one computer to another does not affect PowerPoint's ability to find the file.
Next, open the presentation and go to the slide where the movie is to play. Insert ’ Movies and Sounds ’ From File. The window opens up to navigate to the presentation directory and open the movie.
You are asked if you want the movie to start automatically. If yes, it starts when it appears on the screen. If no, the movie must be clicked to start it.
What you see after the movie is inserted depends on which version of PowerPoint is running. If PowerPoint 2000 or earlier versions, a blue megaphone icon appears. If 2002 or later, a still shot of the first frame of the movie appears on the slide.
Another way to add a movie to a slide is to create a hyperlink to it either directly or via an action setting. This gives more control over how the slide looks. This method of movie access is good if the first frame of the movie isn't exactly what you want people to see just before the movie plays.
For example, one of Daniel's students created a movie for the lifecycle of a rose. When he inserted this movie, instead of getting his title, he got a plain pink square. I had him link the movie to a jpeg of a rose instead of just inserting it. This allowed him to adjust the slide look as he wanted.
Contrary to popular belief, PowerPoint does not use the Windows Media Player to run movies. Instead, it uses a program called the MCI player (mplkay32.exe). This player is built into the operating system. Other programs use this player as well.
Unfortunately, some programs replace parts of the MCI player with their own code., which can make the program unusable for PowerPoint movies. Example: when another media player is installed, the new program may change the default file associations.
If movies stop working, or if transferred to another machine and they don't work, verify MCI is still handling the file type used. To do this, adjust some system file settings. I usually reread Austin's tutorial before I do anything with these settings. I suggest you do the same.
If movies are set to play automatically, it plays as soon as it enters the slide or as soon as the slide has focus. It continues to play until it is over. The presentation can be set to continue while the movie is playing by setting the animation effects option for the movie.
PowerPoint runs all movies in the top layer . That means the playing movie covers everything else on the screen while it is playing. To show text on top of a movie, use a movie editor to add the text to the actual movie frames where you want to see it; this is not a feature in PowerPoint.
This also means if the movie is set up to show in a large window and is set it to continue the show while playing, it should not put it on the master slide. It will cover up all other action on all slides until the movie is over. It should not be placed in the center of the screen on any slide, because it will cover up actions on following slides until it ends.