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PowerPoint vs iMovie for Creating Transitions


One of the things that I enjoy so much about QuickTime authoring is that I have a wide variety of tools available to me for creating content. Not only can I choose the environment that fits a particular authoring mood, but I can also choose one that best suits the final product I'm creating.

This week I'm going to touch upon two editing environments and illustrate how differently they handle transitions between still frames. As you know, when you create a slideshow in QuickTime Pro using the Image Sequence command, the slides flip from one another without any transition between them. This is fine for many presentations, but sometimes you'll want a fade, dissolve, or wipe between frames.

The QuickTime media layer has a number of transitions built into it -- the challenge is tapping them without spending hours doing so by hand. This is when having a variety of QuickTime-friendly applications available to you in your toolbox is so important.

Today I'm going to touch on two such applications: Microsoft PowerPoint 2001 and iMovie 2. Each of these applications allows you to easily tap QuickTime's transition capability, but they do so in very different ways.

Here are a few tips to help make QuickTime authoring in PowerPoint 2001 (Mac) more enjoyable.

• Increase the application memory allocation if you're going to have many big images in your presentation.

• Set up a Master Slide with the background color and other elements that you want to automatically appear on each frame of your show.

• Prepare your images beforehand in Photoshop and scale to 640 x 480 pixels before importing into PowerPoint.

• Use the toolbars in PowerPoint while authoring. They'll save you lots of time and mouse clicks.

• Don't add transitions while assembling your show -- add them while exporting the movie.

• Open your PowerPoint movie from within QT Player and save as a QT movie to achieve QT native functionality.

• Don't flatten your movie or you'll lose the transitions between frames.

QuickTime authoring in PowerPoint 2001

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you -- I said PowerPoint 2001 is very QuickTime friendly. As I've stated before in other articles, Microsoft's Mac team in Silicon Valley really knows their stuff when it comes to programming for the Mac platform. QuickTime authoring in PowerPoint is yet another pleasant surprise found in Office 2001.

As a result, many people have a very handy QuickTime authoring tool sitting right there on their hard drive and don't even know it. What I like about authoring in PowerPoint is that I have all of the traditional PowerPoint tools available to me for use in a QuickTime presentation.

A few of the tools that I particularly like are the custom backgrounds, text editing, image control, dynamic storyboard, graphic elements, and yes, QuickTime transitions. In fact you can even import QT movies into PowerPoint and create new presentations with them that can be exported back to native QuickTime.

Once you've built your PowerPoint presentation, you simply select the "Make Movie" command, and the application exports a movie that you can open in QuickTime Player. Don't be fooled by the PowerPoint file icon; this is a .mov file. If you open it in QT player and save it as a self-contained movie, then the icon becomes the familiar QT variety.

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