As much as PowerPoint is a powerful tool for creating presentations, it is also a viable option for producing professional videos. Whether you want to add engaging effects to existing video or easily create animations, read our ultimate guide to video design in PowerPoint.
Video design in PowerPoint is one of the easiest, most effective ways to convey your organisation’s ideas. The videos you create can be anything as simple as slide transitions or as intricate as animations. Our guide explains exactly how to master video design in PowerPoint. Before we get to that, these are the four reasons why you should want to master moving content:
Video is where the money is
In 2014, Mark Zuckerberg said “Most [of Facebook] will be video in five years time”. Look at your Newsfeed and tell us his prediction isn’t coming true. It’s not just video either. Modern marketers make all kinds of moving content: Gifs, boomerangs, animations and more.
It’s easy to see why they’re investing more in moving content. People watch and share it more than anything else. Here are the facts:
- Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
- Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.
- 46% of users act after viewing a moving ad.
With our social media feeds full of motion content, we expect the same content from our business lives too. This consumer craving for moving content is changing every part of every industry. HTML5 was designed specifically to support moving content in everything from banner ads to mobile webpages. Enormous out of home advertisers are investing millions in moving displays, like the incredibly successful Adshel Live Platform.
With so much moving content to consume, consumers care much less about static media. Today, your media moves or your company dies. But why has moving content become critical to moving sales?
We pay more attention to moving content
We’re naturally drawn to moving objects. They excite us! But why do we find car races more exciting than car shows? Well, since caveman times, the middle temporal regions of our visual cortexes have lit up whenever we see moving objects. The same neurons which fired when we were tracking prey are the same ones which fire when we watch moving content today. Good motion design takes advantage of this fact. It uses movement to make us pay attention to important information.
Look at these two lists:
See how the moving list stands out more?
Good motion design also helps us pay attention by creating an easy to follow flow of ideas. Not only does motion design help communicate ideas, it can communicate ideas on its own. This is because…
Motion is a language
Look at this gif:
See how the words stand out? That’s because we understand that flashing motion implies importance.
Motion might be a language, but it’s one we all speak. Look at how the people around you move when they’re in a certain mood. Take the motions that convey their emotions, and apply them to parts of your media using PowerPoint. Simple! Not only is motion easy to understand, but…
It’s easy to add!
You don’t need to hire expensive motion designers to tap into this trend. Just use PowerPoint and its plugins to easily add motion design to your media. Many companies see motion design as the exclusive skill of expensive experts. Because of this misconception, motion design has become a multi-million dollar industry.
The Advantages of Video Design in PowerPoint
The average corporate video from a production house costs between $5000-$7500. They can justify this expense because of their expertise in advanced editing programs. That’s alright if you want special effects and animation, but what if you just want something simple? You’d be surprised by how much moving content you can make in PowerPoint, and the results speak for themselves.
Imagine your company pays some motion designer a fortune to make a terrific tradeshow video. After charging thousands in fees, they knock it out of the park. It’s wowed every test audience you’ve shown it to, now you’re ready to take it on the road. Suddenly, a scandal rocks your company! The person who was set to present this video has resigned in disgrace. You quickly assign a new presenter, but your video uses the disgraced presenter’s name. Despite begging them on your knees, the motion designer insists they have no time to change the video.
You send your new presenter off to tradeshows without the ruined video. Your audiences aren’t wowed. Your money is wasted. You lay awake at night thinking “If only we’d made it in PowerPoint, changing the names would’ve been a piece of cake!”.
Anyone can use it
PowerPoint has an estimated 500 million users. Elementary school children know how to use it. Most corporate positions require it. You don’t need to source anyone with special skills and high fees to wow your audience. With only a little training, and a handful of plugins, anyone can make standout moving content in PowerPoint.
In summary, using PowerPoint to add motion design to your media is a cheap, easy and effective way to make your audience engage more with your message. Open the program, see what plugins may help you, and start making motion content to make your message memorable.
Exporting your PowerPoint into video
To achieve this, you must first ensure that no part of your PowerPoint is activated by a click. Once you have automated all of your animations and transitions, click File -> Export -> Create Video. Don’t worry about the “Time Spent on Each Slide” option, as that only applies to static, unautomated slides.
Creating Amazing Animations
Animation is one of the easiest ways aspects of video design in PowerPoint. It’s incredibly easy to achieve this with PowerPoint’s 45 animations and six motion paths for 2D objects. As well as these, there are also five engaging animations for 3D objects.
That sounds like a lot, so let’s start with something simple. Say you want an image to fade onto the screen. Simply select the image, click the “Animations” tab at the top of the screen and select the “Appear” option. Perhaps you want another image to move from off screen to the centre of the slide. Simply select that image, click the “Animations” tab again, activate the drop-down menu, and go to “Motion Paths”.
Select the path you’d like your image to travel along, or create a custom path. Adjust the start and end points to your preference, and there you have it!
Now that you have multiple elements of motion to manage, you must consider their sequence. This can be done in the animation pane, which is the secret to superb video design in PowerPoint.
Mastering the animation pane
When it comes to video design in PowerPoint, the animation pane is your best friend. To access it, go to the “Animations” tab at the top of the screen and click “Animation Pane” next to “Add animation”. This pane makes it much easier to edit the elements in your video. You can sequence your animations, set when each video starts, and order every element that moves onto your screen.
By right clicking on each element here, you can adjust how and when each animation starts. With the large arrows in the top right, you can move each element up and down in the timeline.
Of course, it’s not just enough to know how to use the tools. You’ve got to know the basics of effective, animated video design in PowerPoint. To engage your audience, apply these 12 principles to your animations:
1 – Squash and Stretch
Nothing can have impact without weight. Making objects in your media squash and stretch is an easy way to give them the illusion of weight. Animators usually demonstrate this with a bouncing ball: the ball looks stretched when it’s falling and squashed when it hits the ground.
2 – Anticipation
Showing an object building up to movement prepares your audience for what is about to happen. This makes it easier for them to follow what’s going on and eager to see what’s next, which is essential for making them remember your message. In animation, anticipation could be a character bending their knees to show they’re about to jump. For your media, anticipation could be a slow reveal of your company’s logo. The famous Universal Pictures intro uses anticipation to great effect:
While that would’ve cost Universal thousands to create, that kind of anticipation is one of the easiest elements of video design in PowerPoint.
3 – Staging
Staging involves presenting important objects clearly. For video design in PowerPoint, this involves keeping backgrounds minimal and important objects centred. Makes sense doesn’t it? After all, your audience has to be able to see your message to remember it.
4 – Straight ahead and pose to pose
These techniques help you understand how to make your objects move normally. Animating “Straight ahead” involves drawing each frame in an object’s movement one after the other. For video design in PowerPoint, this could involve posing your object between each stage of its animation.
Animating “Pose to pose” involves placing a few important movement frames, then placing frames between these. For video design in PowerPoint, this could involve placing your object at a few key stages of movement and using the “Morph” tool to get it there.
5 – Appeal
Everything in your animation should be interesting to look at. This is tricky to pull off, since we all find different things interesting. One trick is to use a variety of shapes when designing an object. Another is to change proportions to enhance interesting features. These are some of the easiest parts of video design in PowerPoint
6 – Follow through and overlapping action
Imagine a bike braking suddenly. Picture the rider leaning forward and the back wheel rising up. This is the basic principle of “Follow through”.
Overlapping action is the tendency for different parts of an object to move at different speeds, such as limbs on a body. Apply these principles to your video design in PowerPoint to give it life.
7 – Secondary action
Adding motion to the secondary elements of an object gives more life to that object. Imagine a person swinging their arms and whistling while they walk. Make sure these secondary actions aren’t too distracting.
8 – Ease in and ease out
The motion of an object looks more realistic if it starts slow, gets faster, then slows down. This is important, because audiences pay attention to realism. Aim to add it to all your video design in PowerPoint.
9 – Arc
Speaking of realism, most objects naturally move in fluid arcs. Apply this to your video design in PowerPoint to give your objects more natural movement.
10 – Timing
The timing of objects moving and appearing on screen can communicate the emotion of your message. This is one of the most important elements of animated video design in PowerPoint.
11 – Exaggeration
Exaggeration emphasises motion to emphasise its meaning. Depending on the tone of your media, this can be excellent at getting your point across.
12 – Solid drawing
Solid drawing uses perspective to draw objects in a three dimensional space. This gives weight to your object, which gives weight to what you’re saying. With PowerPoint’s 3D objects and animation, it’s easy to add weight to your video design in PowerPoint.
By applying these 12 principles, you can create effective animated video design in PowerPoint. Want more animation inspiration? Read about why you should add animation to your PowerPoint presentations.
Working with live action video in PowerPoint
Not only does PowerPoint have a number of options for inserting video, it can even create screen-recorded videos to insert into your PowerPoint. For any of these options, click the “Insert” tab and go to the far right.
Under the “Video” option, you’ll find options for inserting videos from online or your own PC.
The Screen Recording option on the right offers an interesting way to work a screen recording into into your PowerPoint. Clicking this option will activate a popup on the program you had open before PowerPoint.
As you can see, this tool has options allowing you to record a narration, your pointer, or a particular area of the screen.
Framing your video
When working with live-action video in PowerPoint, it is essential that the content you upload is engaging without editing. The foundation of this is framing your shot. First, position your subject in a well-lit space. Fill the space behind your subject with material relevant to your company, such as your logo or notable products. Now, position your camera on a tripod or steady surface. Once you have done this, adjust the camera so the content within its frame aligns with the “rule of thirds”.
By aligning important objects along these lines and focusing your subject on their intersections, you can always create an easy to follow and aesthetically pleasing shot.
Understanding Mise en Scène and Perspective
This is an excerpt from our article 5 Tips to Produce Powerful 3D animation in PowerPoint. Look at this classic frame from Star Wars:
Without words or movement, this one shot says a lot through what the French call “Mise en scène”. Mise en scène simply means staging. It’s the sum of what you put in your scene, where you put it, and why. In this shot, we see futuristic equipment rusting next to a small stone hut. That equipment places the story in a science-fiction setting, reinforced by the two suns. The fact that this advanced equipment is rusting next to a primitive hut puts this place in a neglected part of this universe.
This shot also uses perspective to a powerful effect. See how the young man in the middle of the frame is (sky)walking away from the hut towards the suns? That tells us he is yearning for something greater than this lonely place; that he is yearning for the stars. The challenge of reaching them is reinforced by their height above him and the desert between them.
Applying Mise en Scène and Perspective
So what does Star Wars have to do with video design in PowerPoint? Well, that depends on what impression you want to give your audience. Let’s say you’ve been hired by a construction equipment manufacturer to animate a pitch for their new machine: A rugged, solar-powered truck. The company want to emphasise its power and environmental friendliness.
Your mise en scène could include a model of the truck and an outdoor construction site surrounded by trees. PowerPoint’s incorporation of 3D models make this an easy aspect of video design in PowerPoint. Your perspective could show the truck dominating the frame, with trees and the sun clearly visible beyond the construction site.
While your use of these two techniques is up to your imagination, films are an ideal source of inspiration. After all, “research” is a great excuse for Netflix in bed.
In PowerPoint, there are a number of style effects you can apply to any video files you import. Simply right click on the video you import and select the “Style” option.
From there, scroll through the many options available to you.
Of course, this is only scratching the surface of video design in PowerPoint. As well as adding effects to the appearance of the video itself, you can add text and title cards to your video in PowerPoint. This is incredibly easy to do!
Adding Text and title cards
Start by turning your first “Slide” into your video’s title card. First, select an appropriate background by clicking on the “Design” tab. You can either pick from a number of pre-made themes, or format your own background.
From there, you can place introductory text on your title card by clicking on the “Insert” tab and inserting a text box. Click on the text, then click on “Animations” to find a suitable reveal animation for the text. Once you have done this, insert a new slide and apply a transition to your title card slide. In the “Timing” section of the “Transitions” tab, click on the “Advance slide after” option and set it to your preferred time.
This will ensure a smooth transition when exporting your PowerPoint to video.
Now, insert your video in your second slide. Right-click on the video in the animation pane and select “Start with previous”. This will ensure it starts smoothly with the end of the title card’s transition once you have exported your PowerPoint to video. If you want an overlay including the name and title of the video’s subject to appear on-screen, simply insert an appropriate shape (through the “Insert” tab) then insert text over the top of it. As you did with the text on your title card, you can make these appear on screen with an animation. Simply adjust their timing in the animation pane so it doesn’t appear prematurely.
To add credits to your video, insert a new slide and repeat what you did with your title card.
In conclusion, PowerPoint is an easy, editable alternative to expensive editing programs few people can use.
Stop Motion Video Design in PowerPoint
An easy and eye-grabbing way to show off your product is through stop-motion. With simple animation and photography, you can highlight the best features of your beautiful products.
Creating Stop Motion Content in Five Easy Steps:
- Under the “Design” tab, adjust the size of your slides to the screen you’ll be showing this video on.
- Take photos of your product at each stage of the animation. You could show it activating, opening, or anything you can imagine!
- Upload your photos to your device in a shared folder. Now, insert them through Insert → Photo Album → New Photo Album.
- Click “Insert Picture from File/Disk”, drag your cursor over each photo and click “Insert”. Now you only need to click “Create” back in the pop-up menu.
- Size each image correctly. Click “Transitions”. Adjust your Duration to no longer than 10 seconds. Next to Duration, adjust the “After” option to 0.5 seconds. Click “Apply to All”, then view the slideshow in presentation mode.
Before you export, you can add text and shapes to enhance your stop-motion. Once you’re done, click File → Export → Create a Video.
Audiovisual Tone of Voice
Now that you know how to make videos, you need to know how to make them yours. After all, every organisation has a unique identity they can translate to video. Of course, it’s not always easy to make that translation. Let’s look at a few ways you can do that:
Exploring your identity
Your organisation may have an identity, but it might not be obvious which elements of it would work well in video. In order to find them, you must explore your identity. Here are a few exercises to help you find your audiovisual tone of voice:
- If you’ve produced videos in the past, look at the most popular ones you’ve produced. Try to replicate their tone.
- Imagine your brand as a person. Are they fun and old-fashioned? Professional and innovative? Flesh out their identity, then imagine how they speak. How they look. What music they like.
- Write down everything that your audiovisual tone of voice isn’t, just to get your creativity flowing.
- Look at the internal HR videos for organisations like Starbucks and Coca Cola. Note how they translate their identity through colour, music, text, and mise en scène.
Visualising your identity
While audio is an important element of your internal videos, you should put visuals first. After all, your viewers may have to watch them without sound.
As well as keeping visuals at the forefront, you must also keep them consistent. Here are a few considerations for building a consistent visual identity in your internal videos:
- Brand colours – While you must use brand colours in external videos, they are often ignored for internal videos. By incorporating them for internal video design in PowerPoint, you will align employees with your identity.
- Consistent imagery – What products and services do you provide? Make sure they appear in the video, even if they’re only background decoration.
- Adjectives – Does your brand look fast? Simple? Industrial? Write a few adjectives down, and make sure your videos capture this look.
Music is one of the most effective ways to enhance your video’s message. It’s so effective that it’s almost impossible to perceive the effect it has on us. Here are 5 ways to put music to its best use on your video:
Take advantage of royalty-free music libraries
More important than editing your audio is picking effective music. Personally we pick our perfect tracks from the following places:
Shutterstock – Generally the most high quality, professionally produced royalty-free tracks.
Audio Jungle – We can recommend AJ for having greater variety and lower prices.
Fade in and out
After inserting your audio in PowerPoint, you’ll find this incredibly useful feature under the Playback tab:
The best way to use this feature is to use what are called J cuts and L cuts. So what are these cuts?
- J Cut – This is when music at the beginning of a scene overlaps with footage from the last shot. This eases the viewer into what they are about to see, instead of having the jarring effect of a sudden cut.
- L Cut – This is the opposite of a J Cut, where audio from one shot plays into the beginning of the next shot. This eases the viewer out of what they have just seen on screen.
By applying careful trims and fades, you can take advantage of these essential cuts for video design in PowerPoint.
This runs counter to what we just said about fades, but here goes: suddenly stopping your music can be a great way to emphasise something important on screen. As an example, imagine you’re editing a video demonstrating the important of a new safety procedure in your workplace. You might play music over footage of a character ignoring the procedure, then cut the music when they sustain an injury.
To insert a sudden break into your music, simply click the “Trim Audio” option under the Playback tab:
As with any editing trick, remember not to overuse it!
Use different parts of the same track
The music you use in your video should strike a balance between consistency and variety. Of course, finding multiple songs which sound similar can be expensive and time-consuming. Instead, you can save money by using different parts of the same track throughout your video. Try using interesting instrumentals or vocals to emphasise important parts of your footage. Above all, ensure you use a variety of sound across your video.
Match action to the beat
Amateur videographers will often make the mistake of cutting a piece of music to its beat. While this creates cohesion between your audio and on-screen action, it can quickly become repetitive. Instead of cutting to the beat every time, you can simply synchronise parts of your music with actions on screen.
To illustrate this, imagine cutting your music so that characters walk to the beat. For an even greater effect, match certain parts of your songs to your footage depending on the mood. A great example of this includes matching the crescendo of your song to the climax of your footage.
Kinetic typography is the perfect solution when your content has fewer obvious visuals. Remember, kinetic typography is really just a fancy way of saying “Moving words”. By putting words in motion, you can make your text much more engaging. On top of that, animating your text can add a great amount of character to your copy. Just think of the opening titles from those classic Hitchcock films.
Thankfully, these are also incredibly easy to create in PowerPoint. Seriously, check it out:
To create kinetic typography, there’s only one tool you really have to master: The motion path tool.
The first step to making professional kinetic typography is by inserting a shape which blends into the background. Now set your text over the shape, and send it to the back. Apply your motion path, and voila!
Another trick to making top kinetic typography is the morph tool. By simply duplicating a slide, changing the contents of the second slide, and applying a morph transition, you can create all kinds of interesting effects. One of the most interesting effects you can create through morph transitions is rotation, which can be a powerful tool for engagement:
Perhaps the best application of kinetic typography is in animating your logo. Adding motion to your logo can make it much more memorable in the minds of your viewers. Look at our logo below:
You know how many slides that took? Two.
Dynamic Overlay Design in PowerPoint
Dynamic overlays are an extremely effective way to spice up your video content. They’re also incredibly easy to create in PowerPoint. One of the best kinds of dynamic overlays is a “lower third”.
A “lower third” is a caption used to convey the name and description of a subject on screen. It is so named because it appears in the lower third area of the screen.
Designing a lower third
Begin by placing one slightly transparent white bar on screen. This will minimise elements on screen. This bar should be just big enough for two lines of text. Place the subject’s name in the first line, their position in the second.
Ensure all text within the bar uses pleasant, readable title case. This means you must capitalise only the first letter of each word, except for certain small words. These include articles (a, an, the) and prepositions (at, for, per). You do not need to include punctuation.
Apply a sans serif font to the text, as it is easier to read on a moving background. Apply a strong brand colour to the first line of text (subject’s name).
Finally, apply a less severe brand colour to the second line of text (subject’s position). Black is ideal.
Animating a lower third
For lower thirds, animation is as important to readability as design. Animate the “lower third” in the following sequence for the following durations:
1 – Slide the white bar on screen from off the left side of the screen (1 second)
2 – Slide the first line of text on screen from off the left side of the screen (1 second)
3 – Slide the second line of text on screen from off the left side of the screen (1 second)
Allow the lower third to be read three times before quickly fading the caption off screen.
A few more tips
- Avoid adding a “Lower third” caption to a video that is very personal or on a sensitive subject. This might give the video a look that is too polished or produced. Instead of applying the lower third, use the space to zoom in closer on the subject.
- Consider if it is necessary for viewers to know a subject’s name or title. Otherwise, you should not distract viewers with such knowledge.
Onboarding Video Design in PowerPoint
This is an excerpt from our longer article on the art of onboarding videos. Read on to see a brief summary of what we say there.
Why onboarding videos are best
Onboarding videos are a cheap, easy way to educate employees. They are easy to engage with, and save existing employees time in training new staff.
What exactly should I make?
Start with an overall introduction video. This outlines who you are as a company. From there, create separate videos explaining your customers and product. It is important to spread your content out across multiple videos, as you can’t overload employees with info. From there, you can really segment down to everything they can expect in your company.
You should put the most care into your first videos. These will be seen by every employee across your organisation, so they must impress! As your videos get more specific, they will need to focus more on the information within them. Consider this as you craft your scripts.
Invest in raw footage of real employees
Did you know that our brains light up whenever we see a face? It doesn’t have to be fancy, and your employees will feel good about getting on camera.
Consider where these will be shown
Will you show this to a large group on a screen, or individual employees at a monitor? Perhaps they’ll be played on tablets or phones. Screen sizes are important to consider, as they dictate the information you can display. On top of that, you must adjust your script for your audience.
Internal HR Video Design in PowerPoint
An internal HR video can be a great investment for your organisation. In fact, we’ve found they have the following advantages:
- Employees are more likely to engage with a video than text. This is because it contains content which our brains find stimulating, such as voice and movement.
- It is better to demonstrate a concept visually than explain it through text. This helps reduce your liability when, say, implementing changes to safety procedures.
- Video offers more ways to show off your company’s culture, such as through colour and music.
Whether you want to inform employees of new policies or wish them happy holidays, internal videos can achieve almost anything. In order to harness their power, follow these four tips:
Any CEO can write a letter saying government new policies may effect overtime pay. It takes guts to look a camera dead in the eye and tell the viewer “You may not make as much overtime pay with us.” Even if the content of your video is upsetting, viewers will respect your raw honesty.
Let Employees Lead
An internal video can be an excellent chance for your staff to express themselves and have a little fun. Take a look at this St. Patrick’s Day video from Bamboo HR.
As well as involving employees in the videos themselves, you should let the design of each video be dictated by employees. See what sort of videos they’re engaging with. Ask for feedback. After all, you should want them to want to watch them…wow, try saying that five times fast.
Align with company culture
Your company culture doesn’t exist in your handbook. It exists in the every day practices of your employees. In the way they speak about your organisation to friends and family. This starts with your company collateral, so make sure your videos express your company’s culture.
We hope you’ve found the answers you were looking for with our ultimate guide to video design in PowerPoint. Contacts one of our experienced video designers today to produce your own professional PowerPoint video.
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