Take Control of Your iPod: Running Presentations

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Convert to QuickTime

The first step in converting a presentation to a movie and showing it on an iPod with video is to convert it to QuickTime format:

If you use PowerPoint:

  • Launch PowerPoint and open the presentation you wish to convert for use on your iPod.
  • Insert transition and build times so the show can run in synch with your narration. (Transition time refers to how long it takes to move from one slide to the next; build time is the delay between the appearance of different objects on a slide). If you don’t specify the transition and build times, PowerPoint uses defaults that will flip through the slides quickly and make your presentation seem rushed.
    a) Set slide transition times by choosing Slide Show: Slide Transition.
    b) Customize build effects by choosing Slide Show: Custom Animations or Slide Show: Preset Animations.
  • If you want to create a narration so that the presentation can be run without you being present, record the soundtrack in QuickTime Pro or GarageBand and insert it into the presentation.
  • Run the presentation on your computer to make sure the timing is correct, then choose File: Make Movie.
  • In the Save dialog that appears, type in a name for the movie and be sure to keep the .mov file extension at the end of the name.
  • Choose the location where you want to save the file.
  • Click the Movie Option button. In the dialog that appears (shown in the top screenshot), configure your movie as follows:
    • From the Optimization pop-up menu, choose Quality.
    • Set custom movie dimensions to “320 x 240.”
    • From the Slide Transitions pop-up menu, choose Follow Slide Show Settings.
    • If applicable, choose your soundtrack.
    • Check “Show movie player controls.”
    • Uncheck “Include original presentation data,” and then select “Apply these settings to the current presentation.”
  • Click the OK button, and then click the Save button.
  • PowerPoint saves your presentation in the location you selected. To learn how to check your movie and convert it to MPEG-4 format, skip ahead to the “Convert to MPEG-4” section.

    If you use Keynote:

    Keynote currently can’t export the QuickTime movie with the transition and build times used in your presentation. Instead, during the conversion you enter durations for transitions and builds that are used everywhere in the movie.

  • Open your Keynote presentation.
  • Choose File: Export to open the first of several dialogs (see second screenshot).
  • Select QuickTime and click Next to open the next dialog in the export sequence (see third screenshot).
  • Configure the playback control: Choose Self-Playing Movie; then enter the duration in seconds for transitions between slides and for builds on slides. In this example, I entered
    5 seconds
    between slides and
    20 seconds
    on my builds. That provided enough time to talk about each bullet point on the slide—your mileage may vary, but make sure that these durations are long enough that your movie doesn’t skip ahead of you if you’re narrating it in person.
  • Configure the formats: Choose Custom to open the Custom QuickTime Settings dialog (see the bottom screenshot).
  • Enter
    320 x 240 pixels
    as the movie size—the Video pop-up menu changes to Custom Size automatically. The audio settings just below don’t need to be changed. Click Next.
  • Enter a name for your video presentation, select a location, and then click Export to save your movie.
  • Keynote exports the movie to the location you specified. Now, it’s time to check the movie and convert it to MPEG-4 format, as I describe next.

    Convert to MPEG-4

    Now that you have made a QuickTime Movie, it’s time to check it and convert it to MPEG-4 format:

  • To make sure that your transition and build times are correct and that your soundtrack is synched to the slides, double-click the QuickTime movie you just created and view it in QuickTime Pro. If everything looks okay, you’re ready to move to the next step. Keep QuickTime Pro running with your presentation open.
  • In QuickTime Pro, choose File: Export. Then, choose “Movie to iPod (320 x 240)” from the Export pop-up menu. Click Save.
  • QuickTime Pro saves the file in the same location as the QuickTime movie with a MPEG-4 video (M4V) file extension.

    Finish up

    To complete the process, transfer the movie to iTunes and then to your iPod:

  • Open iTunes 6 and drag your new M4V file to your iTunes library (or choose File: Add to Library and choose the file.) Once the file has been added to iTunes, you can double-click it to play the video.
  • Synchronize your iPod to your computer. Once the video transfers to the iPod, you can find it under Videos: Movies.
  • Show the movie

    Now that you’ve transferred your video to the iPod, you’re ready to give your presentation:

  • On the iPod, choose Videos: Video Settings and set TV Out to “Ask” or “On.” The “Ask” setting provides the option of viewing the slideshow on your iPod or on a television each time you wish to view it.
  • Under Videos: Video Settings, set Widescreen to Off. This sets your iPod video display to full-screen mode.
  • If you plan to show your videos on a television, set TV Signal to either “PAL” or “NTSC,” depending on which standard the television uses. NTSC is prevalent in the Americas, Pacific Basin, Caribbean, South Korea, and Japan, while PAL is the standard for the rest of the world.
  • Use the iPod AV Cable, the iPod Dock for iPod with Color Display, or the Apple Universal Dock to connect the iPod to a projector or a television:
    • Apple’s iPod AV Cable allows you to connect your iPod to a TV or VCR with RCA video and audio ports. On the iPod side, you plug the iPod AV Cable into the headphone jack or the line out port on either of the docks.
    • An S-Video cable can also serve as a connector; it works with either of the docks.
  • Navigate to Videos: Movies on the iPod, and choose your presentation from the alphabetical list of movies.
  • Press Play/Fast-Forward to start the video.
  • Tip: If you have the $39 Apple Universal Dock and the $29 Apple Remote, you can connect your iPod with video to the TV or projector, and then use the tiny Remote to start and pause (if necessary) your video.

    [ Steve Sande is editor of The Gizmo Ranch and CacheCaster, producing podcasts on a regular basis for both sites; his latest e-book is Take Control of Your iPod: Beyond the Music ( TidBITS Electronic Publishing, 2005). ]

    PowerPoint 2004 for Mac has a number of options that optimize your movie for viewing on or from an iPod with video.The first step in exporting your Keynote presentation to the iPod with video is exporting it as a QuickTime movie.Keynote doesn’t export your movie with the transition and build times you’ve previously built into the document, so you have to provide standard durations that are applied to every slide and transition.Here’s where you enter the screen size of the iPod with video.
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