Producing Videos using PowerPoint


I produce a lot of short-form videos for my company. Most of them are quick how-to videos that feature a fair amount of voice over screen recordings. My team uses Camtasia quite a bit, which I like very much, but I'd like to move some of that production over to PowerPoint.

PowerPoint can do videos, but time and again, I'm disappointed at its shortcomings. Here are my biggest gripes:

  • Video editing. You can record and embed screen recordings pretty easily, but there isn't much you can do with those videos except trim the ends. Camtasia offers a wide variety of tools to pan and zoom, trim sections out of the middle of a clip, separate the audio and video tracks, and so on. Honestly, most of that stuff you can do with Windows Movie Maker as well, but it would be really convenient to see some of those tools in PowerPoint. If I have to export video or use another program to record the screen clips, then I might as well just use that program for the entire video.

  • Background animations. One standard effect I'd like to be able to use is kind of an animated background that plays while I'm clicking through other stuff on the slide. Using the typical animation tools, clicking to advance the animation stops the previous animation. I've hacked some workarounds using triggers, but that's clunky. I've found some better options for this on PowerPoint Mac called Animate as Background, but as far as I can tell, there's no analog on the PC version. Also, what's up with having unique features on different platforms?

  • Slide timeline. The animation timeline is just weird. Unless you do a lot of tweaking of animation types and timings, it doesn't provide a simple, realistic reflection of the slide's overall animation. It's desperately in need of an overhaul.

  • Audio ducking. I noticed that it's hard to record narration across multiple slides without a noticeable ducking (fade-out) effect between each one. Maybe it's the transitions I'm using. Regardless, there needs to be an easy way to allow audio to be seamless between slides.

  • Background audio volume control. On the subject of audio, there isn't a way to intelligently control the audio as it plays, relative to other audio on the slide. For instance, I'd really like to use a background audio track across my presentation, but it needs to be louder during the intro, then reduce the volume when narration is present, and finally become louder again near the end of the video. Again, Camtasia makes this really easy, with visual audio points that you can adjust. Something like that probably wouldn't be straightforward with PowerPoint, because the entire audio track "lives" on the first slide instead of across the entire deck, but it might be nice to have a smart volume control that automatically softens a track when other slide-level audio is playing.

  • Captioning tools. I can include the slide's narration as speaker notes, but there's no way to add timings or export them to SRT or VTT. Given how important captioning is becoming for international audiences, it would be nice to see more robust support for this in PowerPoint.

  • Video export. This is probably my biggest gripe of all. Exporting video from PowerPoint takes a freaking age, especially if that presentation contains embedded multimedia. And the encoding is really inefficient. As an example, a five-minute video might take 2 minutes to render in Camtasia. The same video would take 20 minutes to render in PowerPoint, and the MP4 would twice the size of the one Camtasia produced.

So, these are a few of the issues I'm struggling with. Does anyone have any suggestions to improve my experience? I think PowerPoint does have a lot to offer, but it needs to provide better tools to become a serious contender in this space. Or do I just need to use a different tool for the job?

2 Replies
I don't think the intent of PowerPoint is to be a serious contender in the video production space.
I would suggest having a look at Office Mix as that adds some great video features on top of PowerPoint.
However for the advanced functionality you're after I would suggest using Camtasia as your peers do, it's something most of us MVPs swear by.

is there a way to define the bitrate of the video export?


PowerPoint seems to be selecting a very high bitrate which causes the file to bloat larger than needed to be.