Creating a video narrator

I've been searching for tutorials and haven't been able to find any. I'm looking for examples and the process of inserting a video narrator into my powerpoint presentation where the person is speaking and the background is the ppt presentation itself.  Of course the video would synch with the powerpoint content.  I'm guessing that the video of the speaker would need to be done with a green screen in order to cut out their background so only the speaker show up on the ppowert? 

Thanks!

Susan

40 Replies
Steven Leibensperger

Susan,

I'm not sure how intense it would be to create the concept you are explaining.  I'm sure it is possible, and others can likely speak to the process.  If I may ask, is the video absolutely necessary?

You could, in place of the video, use various images of the speaker that transition slightly to give the effect of a video.  You can still have the synced audio and background ppt slides. 

My agency has issues with flash-based video on our internal servers, so video has always been out of the question.  Instead we've used the transitioning picture concept to much success.  It gives the same basic feel and result without much more work involved.  You will have to spend time tweaking the images/timings/etc., but you would probably spend the same amount of time if not more shooting the video.

Susan Fintland

Hi Steven,

Thanks for your response.  Yes, I have done the still images of a person with the audio narration.  We are wanting to take it to the next level.  I have found some examples (http://youtu.be/1hrpFzAtvPE, http://youtu.be/DzE1IVfMeUg).

One spoke of creating the videos using Adobe After Effects, but I think they are converting ppt into video first and using that as a background behind the video with the greenscreen after removing it.  but I'm hoping to go the other way around. I did see an example of importing a video with a transparent background into Captivate that seemed to work.  Someone mentioned it having to do with whether PPT can handle videos with Alpha Channels.  Does that make sense?

Susan

Andy Lundquist

I do this with all my presentations now. This one was just featured on the Articulate blog. See Slide 2 or complete any of the quizzes for an example of video interacting with the PowerPoint slide background. Like Steven notes, it takes some time and effort to create, but it's dramatic and effective. Importing the Flash video into an Articulate slide is a simple matter of clicking the Insert Flash Movie button in Articulate Presenter. The process of lighting, shooting, keying out the background, editing, and exporting the video at the proper size and format will really depend on what tools and skills you have available. I explain a bit more about my process here.

Unfortunately, in my experience, it's not possible to reliably sync up video with animated PowerPoint content on the same slide. Slides with video don't seem to hold their animation timing information.

Susan Fintland

Hi Andy,

Thanks so much for sharing your example.  That was perfect!  (Amazing job!.  I can see why you received the awards).    I'm starting to see how it can all fit together, especially after also watching the video about adding the full screen video as the intro.  Please correct me if I'm wrong here.  So I think I've been thinking about the process all wrong here.  I've been trying to figure out how to insert the video of the speaker (with the transparent background) into one of the ppt slides.  It looks like you are going the other way by placing one of the ppt slides (by turning it into a picture graphic?) and inserting it as a background into your video editing program with the other video of the speaker on top with the green screen taken out and creating a new video with both. Then inserting that entire video as one unit back into a slide in the ppt.  Is that correct?

Also, there was one slide though where the speaker throws the jacket into the locker and the locker accepts the jacket and "cha chings" and flashes a bit.  So here was an example where it looked like you had both the video and a slide animation (which is why I've been having such a hard time with this.  I'm still thinking that in this case, maybe you converted that one slide into a video first with the animation and then imported that slide only (as a video) into your video editing program with the video of the speaker on top?

Thanks again very much!

Susan

Andy Lundquist

Susan,

Your initial understanding was correct.

PowerPoint Slide:

Flash Video:

It would be possible to insert the slide background into the video in my editing software, and not use transparency at all. However, this extra information would use up a large amount of bandwidth when the video was compressed to Flash. The quality of a slide created in this way would be noticeably lower than the surrounding slides. By giving Flash less data to deal with, Terry ends up looking pretty sharp even at a large size with high compression.

The PowerPoint slide in the example shown above has a background image but no content. Anything that moves was included in the video. On Slide 2 of the MSHA lesson there is an example of PowerPoint text that animates in as the video is playing. This only seems to work when the content is set to animate in automatically at the start of the slide. I would not be able to make it appear 5 seconds into the slide because of the timing issue mentioned in my previous post.

Note that the video is sized to 720 x 540, the exact size of a PowerPoint slide. I used to try to crop my videos to exactly fit the content, but aligning them properly on the slide was a fiddly process and I decided that a few extra transparent pixels probably has a negligible effect on bandwidth and loading time. I use the slide background image in my editing software to align the various elements (e.g. Terry, the junk in the locker), then turn it off when I export the Flash video.

Hope this helps!

Susan Fintland

Thank you again Andy for taking the time to reply. But I'm still a little confused now.  You said that my understanding was correct, but then you mentioned:

"It would be possible to insert the slide background into the video in my editing software, and not use transparency at all. However, this extra information would use up a large amount of bandwidth when the video was compressed to Flash. The quality of a slide created in this way would be noticeably lower than the surrounding slides. By giving Flash less data to deal with, Terry ends up looking pretty sharp even at a large size with high compression." 

This seems to indicate that you did not add the ppt slide background into your video editing program since it would make the flash too big.  Based on the above image, it looks like you were able to create a flash video with a transparent background. So if you inserted the flash video into the ppt presentation, the background would still be transparent to see through to the ppt slide?  That's basically what I'm wanting to do.  Create a video in a format that can be inserted into ppt that retains a transparent background so that we can see the ppt behind the video of the speaker.  This then allowed for you to animate the slide at the beginning before the video portion played. Is this correct?  If so, is the video output of a certain type?  Is it then converted to flash?

(Sorry if I am making this more complicated than it probably is).

Thanks,

Susan

Susan Fintland

Perfect!  That's exactly what I needed to know.  Once last question for you (if you don't mind). You created your video using a video editing program like Final Cut Pro to do the Chroma Key removal? (I think you said), then use Flash to create the video with the Alpha Channel? or is the alpha channel created when you were working in Final Cut and then used Flash?  I will be playing around with all of this experimenting and just wanted to make sure I have all the components right.

Again much thanks for your responses, Andy.  You are the first one to make it all clear.  (I kept being told that it couldn't be done that way).

Susan

Andy Lundquist

Final Cut Pro can export directly to Flash video format (.flv) and include an alpha channel. I used After Effects for chroma keying but brought all of the assets back into Final Cut Pro for editing and exporting to Flash. It would be possible to export an After Effects timeline directly to .flv as well. Because these programs can export directly to .flv, I don't have to use Articulate Video Encoder or Adobe Flash Professional software at all.

FCP has capable chroma keying tools, they're just not as powerful as the ones in After Effects. Remember that proper lighting will have the biggest impact on your ability to pull a good key.

Good luck!

Steve Flowers

I recently signed up for a subscription to Izzy Video based on a few of the free videos he offers. You'll find a couple videos here that cover Chroma Key shots. One of the videos offers some really keen tips for green screen shooting (like placing lots of distance between the subject and the screen). Another video walks through pulling the key using FCP.

After signing up for his newsletter I received a discount code for a 6 month subscription. I think it was around $50. He's got some really great stuff on the membership side. You'll find a few more videos out on YouTube (some of his older stuff I'd expect). Good tips.

Andy Lundquist

I'm aware of their suite of programs but haven't used any of them. My projects are usually pretty customized, and I've been working with pro software for so long that I would probably find them limiting. Integrating a .swf file created by their software into Articulate should be possible in theory but I've never seen it done.

Mike Bubyn

I have been doing this type of "on screen" narration for a couple years.

At first I was using Serious Magic products (ultra and visual communicator) but I haven't upgraded since adobe bought them out. I now do all my video editing with premiere elements. It does a great job for 100 bucks, including easy chroma key. 

Kat Fardian

Hey Andy,

This is some great info you've given us. I've been creating videos using a program called iclone which creates 3d people and using them as my instructors. I then have to import them into after effects so I can add the transparency and export them as FLV + Alpha. I'm not an expert on videos but the problem I am having is that my files seem to be quite large when I use the transparency i.e. as MPEG4 its around 1,500KB (no transparency) but as FLV + Alpha its around 10,000KB (the clips are only 1-2 minutes long).

Is this normal for video sizes? What are the best settings to keep it a good quality but make it a smaller size? I don't really understand the different options around compression and bits ect???

Once again I would like to point out how awesome this community is! I've been searching the net for weeks and then I thought i'd check the community and of course the answers are right here!

Thanks guys!

Kat

Andy Lundquist

Kat,

10MB seems a bit on the high side. A PowerPoint slide is 720 x 540 pixels. Is your composition in After Effects 720 x 540 or smaller? Ideally you would export your source video from iClone at the exact size needed to fit it on the Articulate slide. Also, are you using this technique for preserving the alpha channel?

Job Dittmer

Someone on this thread asked for a recommendation regarding video editing software for Windows.  Adobe Premeire Elements is great, I use it to do a lot of video work for my Articulate Presenter courses (exporting from PE as Flash) but...

For the specific topic of this thread - doing a video overlay on top of a slide - PE is not the right tool.  PE cannot create the Alpha channel (transparency) in a Flash file that it creates.

When I need to do this I send the video over an associate who has the full Adobe Creative Suite.  I assume he used either Premiere Pro or After Effects to pull out the green screen and render the Flash video with transparency.

In most other cases, having the Premiere Elements / PhotoShop Elements bundle available to me covers all my needs in this area.

Steve Flowers

You might have good luck producing a video with alpha from Sony Vegas. I haven't used it for several years but I remember using Vegas once for this purpose. There are several versions as well, so I'm not sure which would support this feature. It's worth a look, Vegas is pretty powerful for the price.

Kat Fardian

Andy Lundquist said:

Kat,

10MB seems a bit on the high side. A PowerPoint slide is 720 x 540 pixels. Is your composition in After Effects 720 x 540 or smaller? Ideally you would export your source video from iClone at the exact size needed to fit it on the Articulate slide. Also, are you using this technique for preserving the alpha channel?


My video is only 380x480 and I use a 30fps (as recommended by articulate). The files which I export from iclone are in AVI and come out at 560,930KB (which seem huge) - one normal and one Alpha. I import into After Effects and add a luma matte. When I export for After Effects I use the preset settings for FLV + Alpha (video settings: VBR, 1,280kbps, quality=good and audio settings: bitrate 128kbps, mono, 44100kHz).

I've never worked with videos so my process may be completely wrong as a lot of it has been learnt from experimenting.

Any recommendations??

Thanks

Steve Flowers

Is 1280kbps the bitrate default for FLV and alpha from AfterEffects? If so, that's where your ballooned size is coming from (that's nutty for a video file at 380x480). I'm pretty sure the quality cap for that file size doesn't exceed much more than 600kbps - even pushing each pixel 1 for 1. You might try dialing it down to 200kbps and see where your file size goes. I'd imagine you'd cut it by 80% or more. It might be noticeable, but optimization is always a balance Dial up the bitrate until you get tolerable balance between file size and quality.

Steve Flowers

For a talking head, you can get away with a lower bitrate than a mixed or action sequence. Less movement = more forgiving in compression. One thing about the alpha channel, I believe, is that it's not going to get the same level of compression as your video channel. So, even though you might select a 200kbps output, your output will still come in at around 400-500kpbs with the alpha channel.

You might look at your frame dimensions to further optimize (multiples of 16).

128kbps is also really high for narrated output. I usually stick at around 48kbps or so with audio compression (again, it's a balance) and rarely need to go beyond 64kbps. Every extra bit you gain by reducing compression is going to swell the file.

Andy Lundquist

I suspect that Steve is right. All of your settings sound reasonable except the bitrate. I usually cap video at around 400kbps, audio at 96kbps. As for the ludicrously huge files being created by iClone, it sounds like it is exporting uncompressed .avi's. You might try the MPEG4 option and/or exploring what compression codecs are available to you in the export settings.

Kat Fardian

Thanks Steve. I thought one of the settings might be off! I'll test them out.

@Andy - I did export from iclone to MP4 but when i exported from After Effects it still ended up being the same size as when I used AVI! The files are uncompressed as it offered compression settings but I didn't know what the difference was. If offers:

  • Cinepak Codec by Radius
  • DV Video Encoder
  • Intel IYUV codec
  • Microsoft Video 1
  • MJPEG Compression

It then also asked about keyframes and date range and I decided that was all too hard hehehehe! Does it matter what compressor I use?

Seriously I don't think I would still have a job if it wasn't for this community