Presentation files sizes can be large. They can be massive. Often the bloated file size is from videos that are too large (aka Massive Videos) for what is needed. Because bigger is not always better. Microsoft PowerPoint makes it easy to add videos to presentation slides. Videos are embedded in the .pptx file by default. Which means if a 100 MB video is added to a slide, the file size goes up 100 MB. And massive presentation files with massive video files embedded sometimes can ruin a presentation (aka – PowerPoint, or even the computer, crash!).

The TLC Creative team is blessed/spoiled/has an unfair advantage – use the phrase that feels right. But our team, including accounting and project coordinator roles work on computers with 32-64 MB of memory and Nvidia 30X or 40X series graphic cards. In addition, the TLC Creative computers have multiple video CODECs installed and continuously updated. Presentations and videos of all sizes work when we play them. But we know that not everyone has robust content creation spec’d computers – but we also know that videos in presentations can be optimized to allow them to run on lower powered computers, but often are not.

Designers should know how identify and optimize embedded videos to ensure smooth play by everyone. Note: the focus of this blog post is embedded video. Linked and online video have the advantage of not increasing the file size, but have other inherent playback issues not covered here.

Let’s start with knowing there are videos in a presentation. My favorite tool for this is Neuxpower’s Slidewise add-in ( Part of Slidewise’s presentation audit is a section that highlights if there are videos in the slide deck, what the file size of each is, and exactly what slides the videos are on.

  • Slidewise is a 3rd party add-in that is purchased separately (and in my opinion, worth the expense!)
  • The audit for the demo slide deck reports there is 1 audio file and 3 video files embedded in the presentation.
  • The OTHER section of the slide deck audit will show linked videos.
  • Note: when media is embedded in a presentation, the original file name is replaced by PowerPoint with a generic name, “media#”.

Microsoft PowerPoint has all the tools needed to optimize videos (and audio) built directly into PowerPoint (at least on the desktop PowerPoint app) and avoid the need to use an external video editing app or website. Go to (1) FILE > (2) INFO

If there is a video not in the .MP4 file format, or an audio file not in the .MP3 file format, the (3) OPTIMIZE COMPATABILITY option is available. Click this to transcode all embedded videos to an industry standard .MP4 file format. You can also do this to transcode audio files to industry standard .MP3 files.

Note: The .MP4 file format for videos is the recommended video format as there are video playback engines universally on Windows OS, Mac OS, web browsers, mobile devices, tablet. While other video file formats have benefits, the high quality and ability to natively play on virtually every device make .MP4 the current best option.
The (4) COMPRESS MEDIA option is available any time embedded media is in a slide deck. The good news is, running the compress media function first reviews the media files and only optimizes if compression is possible. In other words, always run this process, it will only help and never hurt your files. Just remember to select the high res setting!

Notes about video file formats and CODECS:

  • .MP4 is not the ultimate file format for quality. But it is the best for file size to quality with guaranteed playback. As example, Apple ProRes has incredible quality, but it also has incredibly large file sizes. They also cannot be played on many Windows OS devices or web browsers.
  • CODECs are the technical aspect of the video inside the file format. As example, not all .MP4 videos are the same. The CODEC applied to the video, inside the .MP4 may not be an industry standard, which at this time is H.264 with LAME audio. We at TLC Creative really (really) like the newer H.265 video CODEC and use it on many projects. But PowerPoint is not one of them (yet).
  • TIP: Even if the video added to a slide deck is a .MP4, run PowerPoint’s OPTIMIZE and COMPRESS tools. If the video is formatted with a non-standard CODEC, the embedded video will be converted to the safest, industry standard file format and CODEC, ensuring it will play on almost any device the presentation is run from.

Bottom line, don’t be intimidated by adding videos to a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. Being aware of the need to optimize videos will eliminate potential issues before you begin. Focus on creating PowerPoint presentations that are both attention grabbing and reliable. This will ensure a smooth experience for both the presenter and the audience.

– Troy and the TLC Creative design team