Thursday, June 20, 2013

How to Add Audio and Export PowerPoint 2013 into a Video

Important Note: Make sure your file is .pptx rather than .ppt. If you add audio to a .ppt in PowerPoint 2013, it will change all of your audio files to images and you will lose your work!

PowerPoint 2013 allows you to export into a video (MP4 or WMV). Why a video, you ask? Why not just give the PPT with audio to the students in .ppt form? The main reason is to avoid technical problems that the students may have, since not everyone has PPT, not everyone will know how to play the audio, and the file size will be large. Trust me!

Here is a video I made showing this and below are text instructions:

1. Design your PowerPoint following best practices, such as one concept per slide, the use of graphics/images that back up your point, very limited text on the slide, etc. Here is a video I created on this topic.

2. Add your audio. This process is the same in 2013 as it was in 2010 if you did it there.

Note: I have experienced a lot of problems with the correct mic working in PPT 2013. It's very odd. I have had to disable the internal mic on multiple laptops in order for them to use the headset mic. I'll make a video showing this. Regardless, I highly recommend recording just one slide and then listening to it and making sure all is well. Recording an entire presentation with horrible or no audio is very frustrating.

2a. Under the SlideShow tab, choose Record Slide Show. You can record from the beginning or from the current slide (you'd have to click on the slide you want to record before doing this). This is a fantastic feature because it is easy to edit slide by slide later, since PPT breaks the audio down into individual slides.

2b. Leave the settings on the next dialog box both checked. Laser pointer motions are kept in the final recording so you can use that if you want. You can also use your animations. I highly recommend the appropriate use of animations here and there to make text or images appear exactly when you refer to them.

2c. Click Start Recording. The PowerPoint will go into full screen and will automatically start recording, so make sure your headset is all ready to go. (You can trim the beginning or end of your audio afterward via the Playback tab when you've clicked on the speaker. Cool, huh?)  Remember to keep each slide at a minute or less!

2d. A recording short cut menu appears at the top left of your screen. Here is a screenshot with a description of the buttons typed in blue. The arrow going back is a "redo" button you can click if you want to start over on the slide. I assume the pause button is universally understood :)

A common mistake people make at first is hitting pause when they are done rather than the X. If that happens, you have to resume and then hit X.

2e. IMPORTANT: Only record a slide or two and then get out and listen to make sure your mic is working properly!!!

3. Export your PowerPoint as a Video. 

3a. Click the File tab on the top left.

3b. Then click Export

3c. Create a Video. Make sure it's on "Use Recorded Timings and Narrations. I have been leaving it on the Large display option and it's fine.

3d. Click Create Video again and choose your file type.

The progress window is pretty subtle. You'll see the image below at the bottom of your PowerPoint. The white area will progress. It can take a while to export; be patient and avoid making the computer do much else during this time.

4. Upload to YouTube, or whatever streaming service you prefer. (Yes, this is required because the file is probably pretty big).

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Troubleshooting Audio Issues in Lync 2013

Lync has been around for a while but I haven't used it much since it works approximately a thousand times better on a Windows computer and I primarily use a Mac. However, I have started using it because a faculty group wants to give it a try so I've moved over to the Windows side a bit more and I have to say it's a pretty slick program! It has a three main advantages over Skype that I can think of now; comment if you have more or if you have advantages of Skype over Lync.
  1. It is already installed on UWEC computers. 
  2. It is connected with our system at UWEC, so you can just type in the name of a person with a UWEC account and it will find them (finding people is a big issue I had with Skype)
  3. Not only can you share screens, you can give another person on the call control over your computer. It's kind of delayed but pretty awesome anyway.
Unfortunately a problem I've had with it is that it does not automatically use the mic I want it to use and it's a bunch of steps to change it. I don't recall having this issue with Skype, but it's been a while.

Tip #1: before a meeting, MAKE SURE YOUR SPEAKERS WORK. Listen to a YouTube video or something. If you know your speakers are working that narrows down the potential problems to troubleshoot.

Tip #2: Know where the chat window is. This is a place you can communicate with someone when you are figuring out your audio situation.

Tip #3: Assume Lync is not using the right microphone input and check your audio settings right away.

Here are some screenshots on where the audio settings are in Lync. You first need to click the dropdown next to the cog (I usually describe it as a sun, since people know what that is!) to get Tools, then go to Audio Device Settings. 

Then in Audio Device Settings, you should see blue lines moving under Microphone. If they are staying very close to the left side, drag the controller to the right further to turn up your volume. If your blue lines are moving and the person you're communicating with can't hear you, they are probably having an issue with their speakers.

To test your speakers and make sure you can hear others, click the play button across from Speaker. You should hear some ringing. If you don't hear anything, click the drop down above and choose another option and try again. Make sure your external speakers are on, if you have them.

You can also do a test call by clicking Check Call Quality. It's pretty cool. It talks to you and then records you so you can hear how you sound.

Here's another tip: if you are wondering if you are having an issue with your speakers, play a YouTube video or something and see if you can hear that.