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Convert presentations to DVD video

Play-anywhere presentations on DVD

Is it possible to create a presentation that plays anywhere, no matter what software a user has on their computer, or even in a DVD player?

Yes, as long as you're willing to accept some limitations.

DVDs can contain either computer programs and data or movies. True, movies are a form of data, but pretend to agree with me for a moment.

OK Steve. I'll pretend.

Thank you.

A computer with PowerPoint or the viewer installed can play back data stored in PowerPoint files. These can include animations, links, the ability for the user to control slide changes and all the other interactive stuff that makes PPT presentations so popular.

DVD players aren't computers, though. They only understand data in movie format. Movies don't let users control slide advances and don't allow linking (other than in a very minimal sort of way) and generally lack most of the interactive options that PowerPoint offers. On the other hand, nearly everyone has a DVD player these days and they're built into most computers too.

So if you don't need interactivity and just want your presentation to play straight through with timings that you pre-determine, movies on DVD might be just the thing.

How to get there

Here are a few quick suggestions. There's lots more detailed info further on.

PowerPoint 2010 will save a presentation as a movie. That might be the best thing to try first.

Or you can save the presentation as JPG; you'll get the option to save each slide out to a separate image file. You can then pop those into Windows Movie Maker (free) or other authoring software, where you can add transitions, titles and effects. You can also combine movies you create from PowerPoint 2010 or from other sources with the still images and even include sound files. And you can add a menu of sorts, then save as a movie file that you can burn to DVD.

Other options

If you don't need the high resolution of a computer display but need to distribute a presentation that nearly anyone can play back, whether they even have a computer or not, a video (on VHS tape or on DVD) might be your best bet. If you use a Mac, scroll to the bottom of the page or click here. Otherwise, read on ...


Once you mention DVD or video in any PowerPoint online forum or newsgroup, you'll get lots of replies from spammers flogging various products that allegedly create DVDs from PowerPoint.

We have seen wide-spread 'questionable' marketing in the newsgroup by what appear to be company members (under anonymous made-up identities) posting alleged testimonials without disclosing their financial interests. Sometimes the same person will post "questions" about DVD from PowerPoint and then immediately "answer" with a recommendation for one of these programs. We can't recommend any company that resorts to this sort of dishonest practices.

While we agree that the product would be a welcome addition to PowerPoint's abilities, we have not seen
proof that this company is able to do what it claims either officially in its posts to the PowerPoint newsgroup, or using its phantom advertising corps.

Another anonymous user repeatedly posts suggestions to use the product in answer to two-year-old newsgroup posts. In other words, a thin -- transparent -- excuse to spam the newsgroup.

Reputable companies rarely if ever do this sort of thing, and we do have several reputable software developers who may legitimately recommend their products to solve your problem.

Look at other posts by these people ... if they seem to be jumping on any opportunity, however thin, to push their product, they're spammers. You'll have to decide whether or not to trust them with your credit card information.

Many video-based products rely on a program called FFMPEG that's freely distributed but has a licensing agreement that must be respected. There's an FFMPEG Hall of Shame Page that lists developers and products that use FFMPEG illegally. Check to see if a product or company is listed there before doing business with them.

That said ...

We'll hand the microphone over to PowerPoint MVPs Echo Swinford who explains this nicely:

Let me see if I can explain a little about these various distribution options.

PowerPoint has a "Package for CD" option that packages up the PPT Viewer, presenation, and any collateral linked files (e.g., audio or video). You burn the Viewer, presentation, and linked files to a CD or a DVD. These are known as Data CDs or Data DVDs -- they're pretty much just like a floppy disk, only they hold a LOT more. :-) The important thing here is,
these types of CD/DVDs run on computers. If you put a data CD in your car CD player, it won't work. If you put a data DVD in the DVD player attached to your TV, it won't work.

There are also Audio CDs. These contain music tracks (CDA format), and they work in your car stereo. They also will work in computers, because computers will play audio CDs.

Then there are Video CDs and Super Video CDs. explains a bit.

Basically, these video CD formats need you to save video files (or pictures) to them. That would mean you need to convert your presentation into video (or images) in order to create the video CD.

Video DVDs are what you're thinking of when you want to be able to slap a DVD into the DVD player hooked to your TV and have the movie play. Like video CDs/super video CDs, video-DVDs also need video files or pictures to create them. Additionally, I have Nero here, and I see an option to "burn DVD-Video files." Nero's Help files say, "Please note that to make a DVD-Video from video files, you must use a DVD authoring tool such as NeroVision." So I gather Nero will let you create a video-DVD of images, but if you need it to use actual video (like, moving stuff), then you'll need DVD authoring software.

As an aside, most of the player-things that come with projectors just show images. They don't show PPT, and they don't show video. If you need animations, these won't work for you.

So really, what you must do is convert your PPT file to video in order for it to play from a CD or a DVD player (which is really a video CD or video DVD player). You could also use images to create a video CD or DVD, but again, if you need to show the PPT animations, that won't work.

If you google, you'll find a number of PowerPoint-to-DVD utilities. I strongly strongly strongly recommend you try before you buy (I think they all have trial periods), because they may not work well on your specific presentation.

Other ways to convert your PPT file to video:

Be sure to read TAJ's advice, too. Here for Videos.

And here for DVDs.

Geetesh Bajaj's Indezine also offers good information.

Once you have the video file created, you'll need to use a DVD-Authoring tool to create the DVD structure.

There are lots more.

Returning you to our regularly scheduled programming ...

There are lots more. Here are a few other ideas that might suit your needs, depending on the features your presentation uses:

Glenna Shaw's Storyboarding PowerPoint to Video to DVD on the Cheap explains a very effective and inexpensive way to convert PPT presentations to a series of images (ie, a Storyboard") on DVD, complete with simple animations and attractive slide transitions.

Check out Taj Simmons' Powerpoint to Video tutorial and his Powerpoint to DVD tutorial.

Geetesh Bajaj features TechSmith's Betsy Weber in Taking PowerPoint to Video and Publishing it to DVD.

Troy Chollar, another PPT MVP, has found positive results using OfficeFX to create high quality movie files that he then burns to DVD. He says, "The results are fantastic! But the Publish feature is only available in the Professional version of the software, which is a bit pricey. It also has a few animation limitations and high hardware requirements. But if true professional quality files are what you need, this is the best option available at this time."

For Mac PowerPoint users

Within PowerPoint you can use File, Make Movie. The resulting file is a MOV (QuickTime Movie) file. See PowerPoint's help topic "make movie" for tips on using this feature.

The .MOV file can be opened in QuickTime Pro ($30 - Apple Computer).
In QuickTime Pro use File > Save As and choose file type QuickTime movie. Yes, it already was a QuickTime Movie, but PowerPoint's .MOV format isn't perfect so it needs to be re-saved by QuickTime Pro.

The movie can now be imported into iDVD. There, click the Burn button and pop in a blank DVD. You can use other DVD-burning software (Roxio Toast, etc.) if you prefer.

You can also use Snapz Pro to capture the presentation exactly as presented. You'll need a fairly powerful computer (1 ghz or faster CPU with sufficient RAM) to get a smooth capture. SnapZPro also creates a .MOV file that can be imported into iDVD then burned to DVD as above.

You can read a short tutorial & review by Geetesh Bajaj here on InDezine.

Or visit Transferring Presentations to DVD with DVDSP 3

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Convert presentations to DVD video
Last update 07 June, 2011