Consider Alternatives to Using Video in Web Presentations

By Dave Paradi

Not long ago a professional speaking colleague called on me to help her with an upcoming webinar. It was her first significant webinar for clients and she obviously wanted it to go well.  One of the elements she wanted to include in her presentation was a video clip that illustrated some of her key concepts.

I want to share with you the approach I recommended that will allow you to get the benefit of a video clip without actually showing it during a webinar.

Why not just embed the video on a slide and show it like you do in a live presentation?  On all the webinar platforms I’ve used video seems to be a big problem.  In my experience, video over the web does not work well when embedded on a PowerPoint slide. It works better when played in a media player outside PowerPoint, but it still suffers from stutters due to the limitations of the bandwidth on a live transmission.

The reason watching videos such as the YouTube or Brainshark slide makeover videos on my web site works well is that your local computer downloads a portion of the video first so that it plays smoothly from your local computer.  Live video in a webinar can’t do this.

So how can you get the benefits of using an illustrative video clip in a webinar?

You use a series of screen captures from the video to make your points.  Let’s start with the planning first. When you are showing any video clip, you are using it to illustrate specific points. You may be showing a demonstration of a technique or process or you may be using a video testimonial to reinforce a claim you have made. There are specific images or words you want to emphasize.  Make a list of those specific spots in the video.

Play the video at the highest quality possible and pause it when you reach one of the spots you’ve made note of in the planning stage. Take a screen capture of that image using Alt+PrintScreen and paste the image on a PowerPoint slide.  Make the image as large as you can without distorting it too much and crop out the controls of the video player so you are just left with the image.

Once you have the image on the slide, add a callout so the audience knows what they are supposed to look for in this image.  It may be an arrow and text to point out something in the image or it could be a specific quote that a person is saying that is reinforced with the expression on their face.

Keep capturing images from the video and creating slides until you have all the spots on your planned list in your presentation. When you are presenting the slides during the webinar, you can introduce the section by saying that you want to show a series of images from a video clip that illustrate the point you were discussing.

You can go through the images fairly rapidly, as quickly as one every 8-10 seconds if necessary. Remember that there is a lag between when you show the next slide and when the audience sees it, so you can’t advance through the images as rapidly as you could in a live presentation.

By using a series of screen capture images instead of a video during a web presentation, you increase the quality of the experience for your audience and still use the video to illustrate the points you want to make.  (If you are new to web-based presentations, I do have a one-hour video program on using web presentations effectively, which contains other ideas based on my years of using web technology to present for clients.  You can find all the details here.)

About the Author:

Dave Paradi is the author of “102 Tips to Communicate More Effectively Using PowerPoint” and “The Visual Slide Revolution”, which was selected as one of the Top 10 Business Books of 2008 by The Globe and Mail. He is an Adjunct Faculty member at Rush University in Chicago and is the co-author of two “Guide to PowerPoint” MBA-level textbooks. His workshops, books, videos, newsletters and podcasts help presenters communicate more effectively using persuasive PowerPoint presentations. Visit Dave’s web site at for more information.

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