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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
OK Allen, today PP froze completely. A white transparent screen came up over the monitor (but not the secondary monitor) and a box came up saying that Power Point had stopped responding... did I want to restart, or restart and search the web. This happened twice, and the second time I took a screen shot of the details.
Can I send you an email with the screen shot? (to pptblad [at] microsoft [dot] com) I presume?
Here is something I've been meaning to ask... when I open a slide show (especially one made before Office 2007), the shadows for the animations show first before the words. Is there a setting to change that? This is mainly for my day job - teaching high school biology - I have warm up questions on the screen when the students walk in. I animate the answers, but if the shadows show, it kinda defeats the purpose.
Hi Shawn, Thanks for reporting the shadow problem. This is a known issue that we are looking into. It's likely that you applied a shape shadow rather than a text shadow. In the meantime, you can either change the shadow type (remove the shape shadow and apply a text shadow), or animate the text "As One Object," and the shape shadow will appear in sync with the text. -Chris
I have been putting PPT2010 through some tests on and off the past 2 weeks. Despite my search for a solution I have a recurring problem. When inserting a video file and assigning properties to it the file plays back without a problem. However if I close PPT2010 and reopen the file the link to the video is lost. When I insert the video I am using the insert video from file pull down tab. thanks
Hi Michael, there definitely sounds like something unexpected is happening. I was wondering if you could help clarify some steps as well as send your files to me if you can (allhuan AT microsoft DOT com). 1. When you insert the video, are you hitting the Insert button from the file dialog? Are you dropping down the Insert option to link videos? 2. What sorts of properties are you assigning to the file? 3. Is this happening for all videos or specific formats or a specific video? Please let me know, I'd really like to get to the bottom of your issue and see if there's anything we can do.
looks like making sure I'm using text formating instead of shape formating does the trick. (I'll try it on some of my school PP later today)It doesn't look like I have to chose "all at once"... it seems it will work with 1st level paragraph text animation too. BTW, at least one of my 2003 PP had to be converted before I could make shadow changes... and after I converted it, the shadow seemed to animate with the text whether I did text formating or shape formating. thanks,
I have advised all my colleagues and direct reports to stop using 2010 Beta office, specially powerpoint. Its depressing to see such a nice product plagued with performance issues. It goes to a point where you cant use the application any more. I am frustrated and angry. I have a 2Gb ram 300 Gb harddisk desktop that runs all other applications including office 2003 adeptly. So please dont blame it on the PC, its not beta ready needs a ton of performance improvements. Very very upsetting.
@ Chris Sheil Hi Chris. Could you help us understand your performance issues? Which build do you have and where are you running into performance issues. We are, of course, very interested in understanding any performance issues that are creating customer satisfaction issues. Thanks, Shawn
When I convert the powerpoint file into a video the audio does not play at the right times. It doesn't stop when it's supposed to and the new one doesn't start.
I see that PP 2010 (and Office 2010) is availible to some outlets... is there any way we can purchase it to replace the beta version we have? Perhaps at a discount for helping during the beta testing, even? :-) thanks, Shawn
I don't see any of the Audio Quality settings in 2010, nor do I see a place to link the audio files in a folder. I used to get great sound quality in my 2007 version, and I just did a recording now in 2010, and it was very low quality. I've got other recording devices, but it's tough to do the timing properly if not done simultaneously with the slides.
Hi Gary, If you want to link to an audio file, go to Insert | Audio | Audio from File and you'll see that the Insert button has a dropdown menu that has a "Link to File" option. There are several factors that could affect the quality of the recorded sound quality, such as the mixer settings and default recording device. However, if you're using the same machine/same settings but are getting different results for PPT2007 and PPT2010, please let us know. Hope this helps!
I experience severe lagging problems when i insert audio and video files. I have a 256MB video hardware and at least 1gb of memory in my laptop. It took a while to save the project with a 4mb video clip and i experience severe lagging during presentation. Is there a way to solve this problem?
Hi, I've got a question about the new ALT+P keyboard shortcut. It plays and pauses a video in the slideshow. This shortcut seems to work only after I move my mouse and the video controls become visible. Is there some setting to play and pause video's without having to use my mouse? Preferably even without showing the video controls? Thanks, Mark
Hi - I downloaded, saved and am trying to embed a youtube video into a presentation. The youtube video plays smotthly from my computer but not after I've embedded it. Can you suggest a solution