Converting videos for embedding in Powerpoint

Powerpoint is very finicky when it comes to videos, and has a really restricted support for videos. While I encode most of my videos in mkv containers, using the H.264 Video codec and multiple tracks (AAC and AC3 audio), these files will not play withing powerpoint. It's best to avoid embedding videos in powerpoint presentations if you can, because the files will get huge, and you never know if the presentation that you tested at home will work on the laptop or the presentation machine. However, if you really want and have to embed videos in powerpoint, here's how to do it.

First of all: Don't totally rely on the video playing embedded! Always take the video along to the presentation, together with a decent video player (e.g. vlc), so that you can fall back to showing the video in a seperate program! Your videos and VLC portable on a usb stick can really safe your day!

Second: Convert your video to a format that powerpoint understands. In my experience, you have the best chances by converting the video to .mpg or .wmv. The settings below are meant just as a reminder for me, and to give you a starting point.

A very good, free, audio-video converter is vlc which I use to get some videos originally encoded as .mkv files embedded into powerpoint:

  • select media-convert
  • add your file into the file selection
  • select [convert]
  • enter the name of the destination file
  • Select profile Video-MPEG-2+MPGA(TS)
  • Edit-selected profile using the tool icon:
    • Video codec:
      • check video, uncheck keep original track
      • Bitrate 2000
    • Audio Code:
      • MPEG Audio
    • Check 'deinterlace' if your materials shows comb artefacts when playing
  • [Start] to convert the file</li>

The converted video will normally play without any problem when embedded in powerpoint. If not, here are some things to check/try:

  • I've had problems embedding videos if the folder hierarchy produced a very long file path. Also, if you have problems inserting and/or playing the video, try filenames without spaces and special chars (e.g. &amp;)
  • If all else fails, you can try to convert the video to an wmv container, with wmv2 video @ 800kb/s and mp3 audio @ 128kb/s.

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