Saturday, May 10, 2014

Organizing Audio/Video with PowerPoint

PowerPoint can be less about visual presentation and more about organizing the media.

Last night was the school's spring music concert with the theme "Turn Up The Radio." Songs were grouped by style as if they were on different radio stations. There were even DJ's to announce and entertain between selections.

I was given two CD's with ten different audio files, a YouTube video and a slideshow with words to one of the songs. That was a lot of media to juggle, switching between iTunes, Internet and PowerPoint.

The solution was to develop a single slideshow for the entire concert. By keeping the graphics simple, the audience could still focus on the performers and I could manage all the media in one place. Transition scenes had audio files embedded, set to play automatically with the icon hidden.

Each "station" used a different background color, and song slides simply listed the song title and group performing. The one soundtrack that show choir performed with was also embedded on a basic slide. The YouTube video was downloaded into an MP4 file and embedded on the slide, set to play automatically.

The biggest benefit was that the entire show could advance one click at a time, without having to switch between different players and programs. The sound operator left the computer channel up and didn't need to worry about accidental playback at the wrong time.

In this instance, the slideshow became less about visual spectacle and functioned instead as a sequential placeholder system for a variety of media. The benefit was less confusion at the media console, a smoother show and I was able to enjoy my kids' performance while still helping out.