Recording a Voice over Powerpoint
Narrated Powerpoint presentations are a great way to present lectures online asynchronously. Students can view the lecture on their own time and review parts of it whenever they need it. It actually is a preferable way of lecturing with a Powerpoint in class as long as you aren’t involving any student interaction in this part of the process. There are ways of encouraging interaction asynchronously and those will be touched upon at the end of this document.
The process is divided into 4 steps.
1. Create your Powerpoint presentation (preferably with no animated transitions and save it)
2. Narrate your Powerpoint and save it under a slightly different file name.
3. Save and send in WMV format
4. Submit the file for posting
This document makes two assumptions. First, that you have a headset and know how to configure it as the Windows default audio on your computer. If you do not know how to do that, go here first:
The second assumption is that you already have your Powerpoint presentation you are going to narrate completed and saved (preferably to your desktop). In creating your Powerpoint, avoid animations (slide ins and slide outs for progressive disclosures and dissolves as transitions between slides). Make the background as solid a color as possible (but doesn’t have to be completely solid), and use large enough sans serif fonts for readability. Make a backup copy of your Powerpoint in case you mess up and want to get back to an original un-narrated version. That will also be important if you want to show your original Powerpoint in class without the narration.
I always recommend you start with a simple 3 or 4 slide Powerpoint to practice on, get it working, and figure out all the “gotchas” BEFORE you record one for your class. You do not want to record a 50 minute presentation only to find out you had your microphone muted the entire time. Which brings up another point, and that is keep your presentations to under 60 minutes. If you must go longer, divide the Powerpoint into multiple sessions. You should also know that “death by Powerpoint” (through boredom) is a reality. Spice up your Powerpoint with cool looking graphics, move through your slides relatively quickly, don’t overload each slide with too much information, and PLEASE PLEASE do NOT read your slides. When you are speaking you should smile (it actually shows through) and use voice inflection. Monotones like the teacher in Ferris Beuhler will really turn students off.
So, assuming you have your audio setup properly and your Powerpoint presentation created according the caveats above, let’s begin. Bring up your Powerpoint, and click the Slide Show tab at the top.
With the first slide highlighted on the left make sure all the checkboxes are checked as they are in the screen below, then click “Record Slide Show”:
Make sure everything is checked as below and click “Start Recording”
That will bring up your slideshow and allow you to record. The second you click “Start Recording” you will begin recording the first slide.
(NOTE: the little recording bar at the top left will not be visible to your students. Watch the timer and it will tell you how long each recording is. You can also advance to the next slide by clicking that arrow. You may pause at any time (for example if you were about to cough) by clicking pause.)
When you are done on the slide click the right arrow button on your keyboard to advance to the next slide and continue talking. Give yourself a second or two of silence at the beginning of the slide to make sure everything stays sequenced, and then start narrating that slide. Make sure you are finished narrating that slide BEFORE you hit the right arrow key to go to the next slide. If you make a mistake just make a note of the slide the mistake is on, and keep going. We can edit/fix problem slides later. When you reach the end of the narration of the last slide, hit the ESC key on the keyboard to stop recording. If you need to stop recording because you need a break or you need to eat dinner, hit the ESC key on the slide you just finished and save your file using the SAVE AS choice. Give it a slightly different file name. I usually add audio at the end of the name before the “dot”. So if my file name of the un-narrated version is emergingtechnologies.pptx, I will do a SAVE AS and save it as emergingtechnologiesaudio.pptx. You should use this same save as technique when you are finished with your recording after narrating the last slide.
NOTE: after you hit the ESC key it may take up to 30 seconds for the system to respond and end everything. Just be patient and eventually it will take you out of play mode and into edit mode. You will know that your screens have recorded because there will be a little speaker icon on the lower right of each recorded slide. Underneath each slide thumbnail is the amount of time, in seconds of each narration on the slide. (Mine here are pretty short, yours will likely be a lot longer.)
Now fixing or changing the recording of any particular slide is very easy. If we want to change slide 2, click on it and give it the focus. Then click the arrow just to the right “Record Slide Show”. Select “Record from current slide” It will bring up that specific slide and allow you to record. Your new recording will replace the old one even though the lengths of the recordings may vary.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: When you are finished re-recording that specific slide do NOT hit the right arrow or mouseclick to the next slide. IF you do you will erase the recording on that next slide. Instead, when you are done with a specific slide, hit the ESC key to exit recording mode WITHOUT ERASING THE AUDIO OF THE NEXT SLIDE.
When you are done with your Powerpoint and are satisfied with the narrations save it one more time just to make sure you have saved it since you made the last changes. You should now have two copies (at least) of your Powerpoint, one with narrations and the other without.
If you need to delete the audio from a slide (without replacing it with new audio), click on the slide and give it the focus in the big window. Roll your mouse over the speaker icon and click it. Then hit the Delete key.
If the speaker icon becomes covered (like in the image below) just click where you estimate the speaker icon is.
You will see the handlebars show where the icon is actually located. Just hit the delete key on your computer and the sound bar and speaker icon at that location will disappear.
End of step 2.
The next step is to convert it to a WMV file. This is how you do that. Open the narrated Powerpoint in edit mode like the screen below and click the red File tab.
Click “Save and Send”
Click “Create a Video”
Click the “Create Video” button on the lower right.
Now this process takes time (up to 2 hours). You will see the progress bar go slowly across as it renders your narrated pptx file into a wmv. NOTE: files longer than 60 minutes may break!
Find the icon of the file you created on your desktop.
Get the file to John Norfleet. NOTE: most of the time those files are way too big to send as an email attachment. He is working out details of the best way to automatically get it to him. Right now consult with him as to how he wants you to get the file to him. After he gets the file, expect a return email with a URL that you can then place into Blackboard.
Now what if you want to encourage interaction in your asynchronous environment? Have the students watch the Powerpoint presentation, then inform them to go to the discussion board in Blackboard and participate there using questions you have posed there. Often the level of thought put into answers will be superior to what you will get “off the cuff” as a response in class.