Star Wars Day coincided with the regular reprise of a confidentiality, law practice, and legal technology session I give for Ontario’s lawyer regulator. I took this opportunity to update my session – version 16 – with a fully Star Wars approach. In addition, I wanted to see if I could start to combine audio and PowerPoint so that, after the session, I could combine them for perpetuity.
The full slide deck is at the bottom of the post. The session ran an hour and I’ve clipped out the first 5 minutes as part of this experiment to combine the two elements. It was surprisingly easy with free or built-in Windows tools. Putting aside that I needed more rehearsal on this one, and the difficulty listening to yourself generally, it was easier than I expected.
I used my Android phone’s voice recorder app. I turned it on as I was being introduced and placed the phone, microphone up, in my breast pocket. The microphone was in the same place as you’d find a lavelier mic and the audio is pretty clear. I used the raw audio – without any clean up or enhancement – but you could definitely improve it if you wanted. If I’d used the whole audio, I would have cropped out questions, all of which came at the end of htis session.
I used the open source app Audacity to crop out the introduction and limit my clip. Once I had my clip, I exported it as an MP3 file from Audacity.
PowerPoint to Video
The trickiest part of this was to get the PowerPoint timings set up. Because this would be a video, I was going to align the audio file I’d just exported from Audacity with the slides I’d moved through. It took me a few false starts before I felt I had them starting close together.
To set up the timings, click to the Slide Show tab in PowerPoint. Click the Rehearse Timings item, which will start the slide show and display a small toolbar showing buttons, the number of seconds on your current slide, and the total number of seconds. I hit pause for the moment and switched over to my audio file, which I’d opened in Groove on Windows 10 but it you could stay in Audacity too.
Here’s the sleight-of-hand part of this. You want to click the play button in your music player and almost immediately start the timings in PowerPoint. To do this, I hit the play button in Groove and then clicked on the REPEAT button on the Rehearse Timings toolbar. This starts the timer again at zero. It means you’ll have a slight offset between your audio and slides. But any other approach, including starting Rehearse Timings, seemed to create a greater lag. There could be a better approach, but you can fix the lag later.
Once I’d clicked through all of the slides that matched the audio, I clicked the close X on the Rehearse Timings bar and accepted the timings. In PowerPoint 2010 and later, go to the Office button at the top left, choose Save and Send, and create a video. If you have an older version of PowerPoint, you could create a video by taking a screen capture – with an app like Microsoft Expressions for example – of your presentation running on the timings you’ve set.
Now I had an audio file and a video file. I use CyberLink Producer because it came with a video converter tool I bought. But Shotcut is an open source that does the same thing with a very similar interface. You import the video and audio files separately and then place them so that they run at the same time. You’ll have some amount of lag – because of that delay in clicking rehearse timings in PowerPoint – so you will need to slide the audio slightly to the right so that your audio and timings line up.