Converting live Power Point presentations to video

We are a Las Vegas video production company. Las Vegas is the site for many seminars and meetings. In several of our blog posts we mentioned projects where we converted live Power Point presentations (PPT) to video for editing. These are most often seminar recording or meeting recording. Most video companies are used to exporting a PPT presentation to either stills or using something such as Camtasia to capture in post. However, often during a live presentation the speaker uses the mouse for emphasis or connects to the internet. This type of activity is difficult to recreate in post.

Our solution is to encode at the presentation. There are several different scenarios we run into. Most presenters feed from their computer to a projector. Often, particularly at large venues, this goes through a Folsom or Barco scaler but not infrequently it is a direct feed. If a direct feed the simplest method is to use a VGA splitter. If a Folsom or Barco or similar unit they all have multiple VGA outputs and we just use one of those. At this point in the process all we have is a VGA feed, not video. The next step is to covert VGA to video. There are numerous devices available to do this including some from Matrox and other well known manufacturers at around $1500 and less expensive ones you can find for less than $100. They all work though the less expensive ones may record 16:9 only and you’ll need to scale the PPT back to 4:3 in post if it is a 4:3 presentation. (If possible get your presentations created as 16:9 – PPT can do this in the settings for the project).

These encoders give you a very high quality video stream. For our purposes it is 720 60P which is what our encoder converts to. Also bear in mind you may have to experiment with the input resolution to find one compatible with your encoder. Pay attention to the frequency of the computer output as some encoders will only accept 60Mhz VGA.

Once the VGA is converted to video, we connect via HDMI from the encoder (or SDI if you have that capability) and record in duplicate to both Atomos Ninja/Samurai hard drive recorders and to computers we have onsite using BlackMagic cards, both to Pro Res HQ. If you plan on doing this, you will need a decent amount of storage. You’ll get about an hour/100gig at Pro Res HQ. We use all 7200RPM drives, raid configurations in the computers. Also, your system must be fast enough to handle digitization.

Once we are finished we have two copies of all presentations. For critical applications or for where we want multiple editors to work on a project, we duplicate the hard drives.  This process has proven very effective for us.

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