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It’s exciting times for us here on the PowerPoint Engineering Team! Whiteboard brainstorms that began three years ago are now real live features, which are fully functional and ready for a test drive in the PowerPoint 2010 Beta! As we pass this milestone, I thought it’d be fun to share the inside scoop as to how one of our features, Video Triggers, came to be…
Video Triggers is a feature with which one can mark locations in a video (i.e. set bookmarks), and then trigger animation sequences upon reaching those bookmarks on playback of the video.
While most of our features are done “by the book” (i.e. we research them, we plan them, we know from day one that they’re in the product), Video Triggers didn’t fit that mold—this feature grew organically!
At an MVP summit two years ago, I was presenting our video feature set when one of our MVPs asked whether it’d be possible to support captioning of videos. She wanted to make videos more accessible for the hearing impaired.
We didn’t have this feature.
As I shared this request with the team, we discovered that we had many of the pieces, particularly the ability to make text appear and disappear, as the Animation Team quickly noted. Meanwhile, the Multimedia Team was implementing the ability to mark locations in video by adding bookmarks. We guessed that folks would primarily want use bookmarks to quickly find locations in a video navigation scenario, especially during a slide show when there is not much time to scrub through a video to find the important parts. Early usability studies, however, showed that almost no one wanted to do this. The bookmarks feature was headed for the gallows.
Around that time, we were seeing early concepts of a template on which we collaborated with Duarte Design (check out the “Five Rules” template which ships with Beta!) One of Duarte’s rules: “help [the audience] see what you’re saying.” I remember many of us thinking: how would we apply this advice to video? We let out a collective “Aha!,” and Video Triggers was born. We would allow users to meld videos with animations.
So let’s recap: You have a user request for video captions, a bookmark feature headed for the gallows, entrance and exit effects we’ve had for ages, and an ounce of “Aha!” Would you have guessed that those are the ingredients for Video Triggers? Oh yes, and to come full circle—our accessibility team is looking at building an add-in based off Video Triggers to facilitate the video captions scenario in particular.
On behalf of the entire PowerPoint Team, we hope you’ll love the PowerPoint 2010 Beta. Please! Tell us what you think. You never know— it might be the genesis of another great feature!
Jeffrey Chen Lead Program Manager, PowerPoint Client
So, with the new Power Point we can have looping video backgrounds with text in front of the video? If so, this would be fantastic and would keep me from having to bow to the pressure to change to PresenterPro or MediaShout for the weekly church slide shows I do. Please let me know if I'm understanding this correctly.
@swj: The short answer is yes, text will play in front of video now and videos can loop endlessly. Depending on how you're planning to use text in front of video, however, there are a couple caveats that are worth mentioning. The first is that videos that play across multiple slides will not keep text in front of the video. Also, if it's across multiple slides, the looping doesn't work consistently. This is a problem we've had in previous versions as well. The second is that although you might use the same video as the background on several slides (to get around your first problem), the transition between slides won't be seamless. My best advice is as much as possible to put all your content on a single slide. In fact, one of our PMs has written an add-in that might help address this. Let us know if you have more questions or how we can help make your scenario work! Thanks,
I have tried putting several song verses on one slide, fading out the first while fading in the second, fading out the second while fading in the third, etc. While this achieves the desired effect, I am working with musicians/writers who make changes in the final version of the song in rehearsal (which is either the day before or even the morning of the service). I'm pretty good at working on the fly, but it is difficult to work quickly with several different textboxes on the same slide. Do-able, but not convienent. Is there ANY chance that playing videos across multiple slides with text in front will be added? thanks, Shawn
@swj: thanks again for sharing your scenario with us. It helps us a lot to understand what you're doing and how you're doing it. Unfortunately, playing videos across multiple slides will not be supported for 2010. That definitely sounds like a very frustrating workflow. A couple recommendations:
1. Use the selection pane to hide text boxes that you're not working on, which you can find under the Arrange button on the Home tab. 2. Separate your video out across several slides and use the "Trim Video" function to show specific parts of your video on specific slides. Thanks again for your feedback, and hopefully some of these workarounds can help make it easier for you to create your presentation.
the hiding of other textboxes makes it much easier... had no idea I could do that!
quick question on playback of videos: first, I use dual monitor (extending my desktop to the second monitor) and typically use slide sorter view on monitor 1 while I'm showing the slides on monitor 2;
I often make changes as slides are showing, but sometimes if I have a video playing it will continue to play (which is what I want), and sometimes it pauses when I click on the slide sorter view. Can't quite figure out when this happens and what I did to allow the video to play while I work on other slides. Is there a setting or a consistant way I can have the video continue while I work on other slides?
thanks again, Shawn
Hi Shawn, Glad you discovered the selection pane! It's very useful for people who are doing more complex slides. Unfortunately, we don't really support the scenario of making live changes while slide show is running, so unfortunately the behavior can be a little indeterminate. If I'm not mistaken, clicking out of slide show will pause the video every other time, but I don't know of any way to make the behavior consistent.
Hello friends. I've got a problem with Ppoint beta 2 that has me absolutely stymied. Simply put, I am trying to add audio to a presentation. I click on insert audio. I choose the audio file (I have tried both .mp3 and .wav) It thinks about it for awhile, some lag happens, and then it promptly refuses to do anything. I'd really love to add some audio to the presentation to make the slideshow into a video complete with sound, but alas. I run VLC Media Player and Windows Media Player and I believe I have every codec I could possibly want installed, but am open to suggestions. Can you help me with this? Thanks! obwanderer
Hi obwanderer, Thanks for reporting this problem for us. We're trying to track this down, but we wanted to find out what codecs you have installed (and what other media applications). Can you reply back to me at allhuan AT microsoft DOT com? Thanks!
obwanderer: It'd also be really helpful if you could go to Help --> "About Windows Media Player" and take a screenshot of the "Technical Support Information" under codecs to help us find out what codecs you have.
Hi Allen, OK, another issue...
when I change the typing in a textbox, or move it the "old" unchanged version flashes momentarily on the screen when I come to that slide. I've tried saving the slide show, but no help. If I close the slide show and reopen it, then only the changes show up fine. However, that's not really an option in the middle of a church service!)
Ditto Shawn. I have had that problem too, and I also use my ppt for the same purposes, church service/lyrics.
Shawn, can you clarify exactly what you are trying to do? If it's too complex to explain here, please send mail to us at the ppt blog (pptblad [at] microsoft [dot] com).
I insert cropped and compressed (Intel Indeo 4.5) .AVI files looped over matched .jpg backgrounds (XP-Pro). In PPT 2003 and 2007 they match up and play very well. In 2010 saved as 2010, they are not close in color. Using .AVI's in 2010 in Bootcamp (XP-Pro)the colors are also bad. (Mac and PC have matching 512 video cards and 4 Gb ram)
I also use large 1024x768 30fps .AVI files in my PowerPoint. The 2010's inability to link file play causes very slow opening and huge files. An option to link files would help 2010 open and run as well as 2003 and 2007. Thanks
TomC, we've found that playback will distort the color on some machines depending on the video card on the machines because we're taking advantage of hardware acceleration (When we didn't in previous versions). I'd suggest turning off hardware acceleration or trying to run the file on a different machine (with a different video card). You can still link to video files in the Insert dialog by dropping down the arrow on the "Open" button and selecting "Link to File". Let me know if this helps or if you're still running into problems. Thanks for the feedback.
When I make a change to a textbox, such as change the wording, move the textbox, or add or remove animation the "old" textbox flashes momentarily on the screen when I show the slide. I have tried saving the presentation, which does not fix the problem. Closing PP all together and then reopening the show does solve the problem, but that's not an option in the middle of a church service when someone brings in a late announcement or a change to an existing slide. Is this enough detail? I can email you as well, but I think that covers it. Thanks, Shawn