Monday, November 1, 2010

An Early Technology Thirsty

I need some help, and I thought where better to crowd source this than CM? Here’s the dealio:

Recently, I learned how to download video, edit it down to a usable clip, convert it to a usable format, and embed it into my PowerPoint. This morning, I included a wonderful little clip that was not only relevant to my lecture on modernism, but in fact very enlightening. I was so very excited to show off my new skill to a room full of students, who probably think I’m a total dork given how gleeful I was.

So when I got to the slide with the embedded video, I clicked on it with great anticipation. I watched my monitor as the video began, feeling exceedingly good about myself (something that happens about once per decade).

But…….. when I looked at the screen at the front of my classroom, it was just the blank PowerPoint slide. All of the rest of my content was there, and the video (with full sound) played on the classroom monitor, so it’s not a problem of my PowerPoint software being out of date (which it is, which is why embedding from the web doesn’t work and I had to teach myself a new way of doing things).

Q. Has anybody else seen this problem before? Does anybody here know why a video that works on the computer and plays on the monitor would not show up on the projector? Does anybody know if there is anything I could do to make it work next time?

I mean really. What is the point of having all this fabulous technology if I can’t show off a bit by using it?


  1. :( I don't know. Despite all my PPT bitching, I know technology done right is a great thing and I wish I made the effort. It makes me sad to see someone do the right thing and it not go well for them.

  2. I've had the same experience. Hope someone has the answer!

  3. I can actually get our digital projectors to error out and die and need to be hard rebooted if I embed enough video and make it switch to playing it, to a regular slide, to full screen, to whatever, enough times in a row.

    I'd recommend linking an external file even though it's not as flashy.

  4. I think embedded video, or any video, in a ppt should be tried only if you have previously confirmed through multiple experiments that your specific system is happy with it. Dry runs are always good with any new media, but embedded video is particularly notorious.

  5. It's been a VERY long time, but... a LONG time ago (with older equipment), I had a similar problem with PC resolution and projection resolution not matching up. However, I can't imagine this happening nowadays, even if stuff hasn't been upgraded (I'm talking about the 90's!). Systems are synced.

    This semester, I had a problem with sound and could not figure out why everything else worked. I relented and made an emergency call to the tech support person who rushed in. They simply did what I should have done: rebooted!

  6. I agree with Alan from Apex - it's not as cool to link to an external video but my experience with Powerpoint, both watching and using, is that embedding video makes it unstable and the results are unpredictable. Even if it worked every time you tried it, even if you went to the classroom and tried it out in advance and it worked that time, there's no guarantee it will work the next time. My best guess is that the Powerpoint file doesn't like that much complexity. But linking to a video on your desktop will work fine.

  7. I haven't used embedded video for a time. When I did, PowerPoint didn't actually embed it, but rather liked it to a video file that has to sit in the same directory as the PowerPoint file. If you play the presentation from an online site that might not work either. You want to run it from a thumb drive or, if the files are online, download them in a folder of the computer you are using from the presentation and play them from there. Hope that it helps.

  8. The problem was likely a video card issue - peraps you're running powerPoint in 'presenter mode', with different views for you and the screen? If so, the way to do it is to back out and select (in the OS) the view to a 'mirror' view with the projector and your screen showing the same thing.

    Your IT department can probably help resolve this - it's a common and known problem with certain combinations of video card and projector.

    As always, it's best to try demonstrations or A/V in the actual room you're going to use them in - it's the only way to be sure.

  9. You need to put the video in the same location (i.e., the same folder) as the powerpoint presentation. So, if the powerpoint presentation is in a folder labeled "Basketweaving 101" then put the actual video file (quicktime, mp4, etc) in you "Basketweaving 101" folder.

  10. Thanks for the feedback everybody. I think this may be a case of a little knowledge being a very dangerous thing.

    I have been using Dropbox to keep all of my files, but this particular presentation was too large to quickly upload/download, so I had copied it to a thumb drive specifically for teaching it yesterday. I did not include the video file on that thumb drive, so perhaps that was part of it.

    But it did play on the monitor both before class and again during class. I'll try putting both files on a thumb drive and trying again, but this time I'll actually test it out on the projector rather than just on the monitor before class starts.

    I guess it was naive of me to think I would be able to lose the thumb drive completely when I went to Dropbox. Oh well.

  11. That just happened to me this morning! I knew the video files had to live in the same directory as the PowerPoint file, so I did that--but it still didn't work. My only piece of advice is the one that saved me: Come prepared with the raw video files on your thumb drive as well, and when things don't work, make a quick apology and show the vids directly. It's not as elegant as embedding, but it's better than not being prepared.

  12. I'm so glad I'm not alone. Fortunately for me, 1) the 5-minute video was interesting and enlightening, but not crucial to my lecture, and 2) I was not being peer-evaluated yesterday (that is tomorrow in the same class!).

    I do hope I can get it to work (perhaps tomorrow is not the day to re-try, though) because it's just so freaking cool.

    I'll not give up. I'll soldier on, and hopefully one day I'll get this technology thing figured out. (About the time the Next! Big! Thing! comes around. LOL)


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