Welcome to another week and another blog post. Last week, we looked at the New Accessibility Tab that Microsoft have added to PowerPoint O365. This week, we want to tell you about Inserting Video and Subtitles into PowerPoint. Throughout this post, when mentioning video, this refers to recordings made by staff also.

Let’s get started!

Is video good or bad?

There’s a wealth of reasons why video should be used in education, this includes:

  • Videos can be played back at a time and place to suit the audience member
  • Recordings can be reviewed multiple times and sped up / slowed down as required
  • Usually recordings come with subtitles and/or transcript which is helpful for:
    • international students
    • subjects with specific terminology
    • audience members living with D/deafness
Video considerations

There are many videos available online. Or you may have recorded something for your students. No matter where your video comes from, it can be inserted into PowerPoint. But there are a few things to think about.

Delivery and sharing of content needs to be considered. Is it really best to insert a video into a PowerPoint if it’s already available online? Here’s a few other things to consider:

  • How are you delivering and/or sharing the content with students? Online / offline
  • Download speeds and metered connections
  • Video formats
  • Subtitles and/or transcripts and whether these are available
  • Is video best placed in PowerPoint or in the VLE?
  • What about accessibility?
  • Viewing permissions
  • Auto playback

Do have a read at our blog: Hacking Accessibility: Video to learn more.

The advantages and disadvantages

General advantages and disadvantages of video include:

  • Multimodal content, i.e., visual and audio
  • Video is very versatile and popular in teaching and learning
  • It can convey much information regards processes in a reduced time frame
  • Video can capture rare or dangerous situations with important learning points
  • PowerPoint can insert a number of different video file formats
  • Online videos links cannot be viewed offline
  • Videos inserted from local computers may not have subtitle files
  • PowerPoint file sizes containing uploaded video can be large
  • Videos that automatically play can be disorientating for screen reader users and upsetting for sensory users
How to insert a video

For this, we used PowerPoint O365 desktop. To insert a video into PowerPoint, go to the Insert tab and video:

PowerPoint - Insert Tab to insert video
PowerPoint – Insert Tab to insert video

This gives two options of where video can be inserted from:

  • This device (your local machine)
  • Online videos (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)

Let’s investigate each of these.

This device

When This Device is selected, video can be inserted from your local machine. This uploads a copy of the video into your PowerPoint. The PowerPoint file holds a copy of the video within it on the slide you indicate. For example, if the video is 300MB, it makes the PowerPoint file 300MB+. This can be problematic depending on how many videos a PowerPoint contains.

The major advantage, this content can be downloaded and viewed offline without worrying about viewing permissions (albeit a larger file size). Anyone with the file can view and/or share the content.

Major disadvantages include:

  • the file size (both for audience downloads and for Canvas uploads)
  • lack of subtitles
  • audience internet connections and data limits

If you have a subtitle file available for the video, it can be uploaded for digital accessibility purposes. You can learn more about this on the DigiKnow blog on Hacking Accessibility: Video. This will also give tips if you’re creating your own recordings.

To insert a subtitle file, you need to run an Accessibility Check first by going to Review and Check Accessibility:

PowerPoint - Check Accessibility
PowerPoint – Check Accessibility

This brings the Accessibility Tab to life (it’s not yet intuitive and it would be better if the Accessibility Tab was always on the ribbon). If this feature isn’t available, run O365 updates.

When the video is selected on screen, go to the Accessibility Tab, Insert Captions dropdown and Insert Captions:

PowerPoint - Inserting Captions
PowerPoint – Inserting Captions

What captions (subtitles) format do I need? Well, we’re glad you asked. PowerPoint looks for a .VTT format (more information: Closed Caption File Types Supported by PowerPoint).

Why use this method of inserting video if it makes the file size large and cumbersome? It means audience members can download the file and play it offline. It’s still digitally accessible because of the captions file. The main pitfall is the file size and the end-users internet connection or data limits.

If video is illustrative with no audio, it’s good practice to put a notice on the slide, i.e., this video has no audio. Otherwise, audience members may think there’s a problem.

Online video

We were able to go to click Insert tab, Video and Online Video. From here, we copied a YouTube web address (other video hosting sites are available) and inserted it into the dialogue box in PowerPoint.

PowerPoint - insert online video
PowerPoint – insert online video

This inserted the YouTube video onto the slide. When this is played back, captions are available within the video via YouTube. When videos are uploaded to YouTube, there is an option for captions to be created.

PowerPoint with video inserted from YouTube
PowerPoint with video inserted from YouTube

Whilst this is beneficial in keeping the PowerPoint file sizes low and captions should be available. Sometimes YouTube won’t have captions for the following reasons:

  • automatic captions aren’t supported by the language in the video
  • videos can be too long, or
  • the video has poor sound quality (background noise), and/or
  • YouTube cannot recognize the speech (two people talking at the same time or mumbling)

Of course, there’s always disadvantages:

  • this needs to be viewed with an internet connection to access the video content
  • as a digital content creator, you need to check the video in your PowerPoint is still available and working or find a relevant replacement

Best practice, include the YouTube video link in on the slide case technical bugs creep in. This still gives access to the content online.

Queen’s video hosting platforms

In Queen’s, we have two video hosting platforms. Do not insert these videos into PowerPoint!

Why? The main reason is due to the permissions which need set on the hosting platform for your audience to view. These video recordings are better placed in the VLE with appropriate viewing permissions set.

Whereas, online videos are open and viewable to all internet users.

In summary

Whilst it is possible to insert video and make it accessible in PowerPoint, do so with caution. As a teacher, if you have access to Canvas, it is preferred to split PowerPoint teaching content into smaller learning objects (i.e., Part 1, 2, etc.) and insert these into Canvas with videos interspersed in between.

Not only does this break the content up. Students will feel they are consuming more content in bite size chunks. Attention will be maintained for longer and if the PowerPoint is downloaded, they’ll be smaller in file size and quicker to download. We do know students do like to download PowerPoint content for annotation and revision.

Next week

Next week, we will look at using images in PowerPoint and image considerations. It will be a large theme and we’ll cover this over several weeks, especially how to format and/or edit visual content.

Remember, the DigiKnow blog posts are released at noon on a Monday.

Please do join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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