The video linked above is my attempt to address several different requirements:
- To follow up some ideas about the list of priorities I mentioned previously, tentatively named “The Humanity+ Agenda”;
- To find an interesting new way to help publicise the forthcoming (April 24th) “Humanity+ UK2010” event;
- To experiment with creating videos, to use for communications purposes, as a complement to textual blog posts.
As you can see, it’s based on Powerpoint – a tool I know well.
What I didn’t appreciate about Powerpoint, before, is the fact that you can embed an audio narrative, to playback automatically as the slides and animations progress. So that’s what I decided to do.
First time round, I tried to ad lib remarks, as I progressed through the slides, but that didn’t work well. Next, I wrote down an entire script, and read from that. The result is a bit flat and jaded in places, and there are a few too many verbal fluffs for my liking. When I try this again, I’ll set aside more time, and make myself re-do the narration for a slide each time I fluff a few words.
I also hit some bugs (and quirks) when using the “Record narration” features of PowerPoint. Some of these seem to be known features, but not all:
- A few seconds of the narration often gets truncated from the end of each slide. The workaround is to wait three seconds after finishing speaking, before advancing to the next slide;
- The audio quality for the first slide was very crackly every time, not matter what I tried. The workaround is to insert an extra “dummy” slide at the beginning, and to discard that slide before publishing;
- There’s a pair of loud audible cracks at the start of each slide. I don’t know any workaround for that;
- Some of the timing, during playback, is slightly out of synch with what I recorded: animations on screen sometimes happen a few seconds before the accompanying audio stream is ready for them.
I used authorSTREAM as the site to store the presentation. They offer the following features:
- Support for playback of presentations containing audio narration;
- Support for converting the presentation into video format.
The authorSTREAM service looks promising – I expect to use it again!
Footnote: I’ll update this posting shortly, with a copy of the video embedded, rather than linked. (I still find video embedding to be a bit of a hit-or-miss process…)