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Re: movie into powerpoint

Is this a can of worms.....

Select your format depending on your audience, delivery method, and content.
If you are putting this up for general consumption then requiring the
download and installation of an external player will turn away many visitors
(you can decide it that is good or bad).  Will the file be available via the
internet?  If so, then you really can't throw out a 150MB animation and
think that people will download it (but this goes back to the audience too
since most researchers have a decent internet connection).  Lastly, the
actual images you are seeking to animate will have properties of that lend
themselves to one compression scheme or another.

I agree that .flc is a decent format for scientific animations but it has
its drawbacks.  It is 8 bit, requires an external player, and depending on
the images it compiles it can yield excellent to poor compression.  A simple
2d animation of satellite tracked drifter movements intended for viewing by
collogues is a great candidate for .flc.  Not so great is an object graphics
fly thru of a school of pollock moving thru an echosounder beam intended for
distribution to a wide audience.

MPEG has it's problems as well.  First, there are codecs for MPEG1 thru
MPEG4.  Windoze Media Player only plays MPEG1 by default.  Plus, the codec
bundled with it only handles certain aspect ratios.  You can't just pick an
image size and assume that it will work.  On top of this, the compression
scheme fares quite poorly with "scientific animations" specifically ones
with large collections of pixels with the same color.  You can choose a high
bit rate to alleviate the image quality issue but then you are left with
huge files.  MPEG1 is handled by most every bundled player, but at lower
compression rates your animations may look like crap making it impossible to
deliver small files that look good.  But, for presentations it *MAY* work
for you.  You have to experiment.

.avi is yet another option.  We have been working with this format lately
and have been fairly happy with it.  File sizes are moderate, quality is
high (with our material) and every standard bundled player plays .avi files
of reasonable dimensions. There are a number of codecs for .avi which yield
different results so you may need to experiment to find the right one.  So
far, .avi has been the most flexible format of the three.

For actually compiling the frames into an animation I am using the shareware
program VideoMach (http://www.gromada.com/).  It uses whatever codecs are
installed on your machine (so they will vary) but on a win2k box I have
quite a few options (it will do all of the formats mentioned above and
more).  I will usually load up 75 or 100 frames (.png images) and get my
frame rate, compression scheme and size worked out then load up the rest and
process the whole animation.  It takes some time, but you will start to
figure out what codecs are good at what and other methods to manipulate file
size vs quality so you can target your audience and method of delivery.

Whatever format you choose, make sure the animation plays on your machine.
.avi files created on my win2k box required a codec to play back on an Win
NT4 machine.  I don't have an NT machine so I don't know if NT lacks any
.avi codecs or the bundled codec just didn't like the file I was giving it.

As for powerpoint........

To keep the flow of a presentation I prefer to embed the animation in the
presentation instead of going to an external viewer. Since we don't have a
.flc plugin for WMP we steer clear of .flc.  This leaves MPEG1 and AVI.
Both work well, but I must warn you to TEST THE ANIMATION ON THE PRESETATION
presentations where the animation plays on the laptop screen but the
projector shows only a black box where the animation should be playing.  I
haven't had enough time to figure out why this is, but it hasn't been
limited to a single laptop or projector.

Good Luck!

-Rick Towler

<mankoff@lasp.colorado.edu> wrote in message
> Hi,
> Can anyone direct me to the most effecient way to get a movie into
> powerpoint? Which movie formats are easiest to write a sequence of images
> into and the import into powerpoint, or translate into an importable
> format?
> Thanks for any help,
> -k.
> --
> Kenneth Mankoff
> LASP://303.492.3264
> http://lasp.colorado.edu/~mankoff/