Can I pull of a "Story of Stuff" Presenter & Drawing approach?

Apr 06, 2012

Hi All,

I'm working on a course based on a book and motivational speaking series.  The author/SME would like to be featured prominently in the video.

I like how Mark Dorosz used video within Articulate in the Authentically Speaking course.

But in my case, I feel this is too much talking head video. We tell a lot of stories about inspirational people, and  I want to combine this with other graphics and animations - much like they do in the Story of Stuff video.

I've never attempted something so sophisticated with Presenter.   I noticed the Mark Dorosz video has very simple screens - they're static and nothing moves around on them.  So I'm wondering, is it technically feasible to have a video presenter like Mark Dorosz combined with some simple graphics/illustration animations as in Story of Stuff? And with no Flash - all within Presenter.

Please confirm this is feasible, and then also if you have any tips on pulling it off that's appreciated too

Thanks much!

Allisun O'Connell

3 Replies
Jeanette Brooks

Hey Allisun! Have you had a look at the course in this post? Andy used a lot of neat techniques, including green screen video, as well as some really creative use of still shots of his host character. I know the visual design isn't the same as the Story of Stuff video, but some of the same ideas could be repurposed.  And yes, if your video has transparent parts, anything behind the movie (including animations) will be visible through the transparent parts.

Jeanette Brooks

Oh and I just remembered there was an interesting discussion thread recently where folks were talking about incorporating hand-drawn graphical elements & animations in their course, similar to the Story Of Stuff... it's worth checking out the ideas in the discussion:

Andy Lundquist


You can absolutely use Articulate in creative ways to superimpose a green-screened narrator over your PowerPoint slide. The links Jeanette shared demonstrate the creative possibilities here.

I think a big part of what makes The Story of Stuff so visually engaging is watching the host interact with organic, hand-drawn animations – anthropomorphic corporations feeding dioxin to babies and so forth. Of course, this is expensive stuff. (The Story of Stuff was a $67,000 project.)

As you suggest, you could replicate this in a more basic way by relying on simple transitions, fading/wiping/pushing static graphics around the narrator. However, to actually construct a complex sequence like this within Articulate would be problematic.

As you can see from the screen shots in this thread, I combined my graphics and narrator in my video editing software before I imported it into Articulate. I know you're trying to stay within Articulate as much as possible, but I would think that someone with the skills to shoot, edit, and encode a chroma-keyed narrator would also likely have the skills to add basic animated graphics to the footage before exporting it.

Articulate does a great job of allowing you to mix video into your presentations, but it's not really a video production tool. In my experience, the Sync Animations function in Presenter simply doesn't work on slides with video. This means that you would have very limited options for controlling how a sequence of animations unfolds and syncs with the video.

I love the idea – I come up with ways for my presentation hosts to interact with the slide content all the time. It can be done, but there are constraints. Good luck!

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