Using PowerPoint and Keynote in Final Cut Pro
[ This article was first published in the June, 2009, issue of
Larry's Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]
Barry Drennan asks:
Could you please tell me whether it is possible to add a PowerPoint presentation into a FCP sequence?
Larry replies: Yup!
Whether you use PowerPoint or Keynote, you can bring that info into FCP by exporting it as a QuickTime movie, then import that QuickTime movie into Final Cut.
However, people design for PowerPoint differently than for video, and you’ll have problems if you don’t take a few extra points into consideration:
- Create, or resize, your PowerPoint to be as close to the final video resolution as possible. Generally, a size of 1024 x 768 , for SD, or 1280 x 720, for HD, works best.
- Reduce the amount of text on the page.
- Increase the point size of the text.
- Pay attention to all the design constraints we’ve always worked with in video. Even when presenting on HD, we don’t have as much resolution as our computer screen.
- Transitions should export, however, slides will only output as a single frame, which you’ll need to lengthen in FCP.
- Embedded movies will probably not export correctly. Generally, audio and video lose sync during export. Plan to replace these with the original movies.
- Any music in the PowerPoint file will not export, you’ll need to add it again manually.
UPDATE – June 18, 2009
Cal Deal writes:
I’m away on vacation, but I saw your newsletter. I think you’re in error about exporting one Keynote slide frame. As long as the timings are programmed in, I believe they will export and play normally.
Sharon Sobel adds:
Just to follow up from your most recent newsletter. Larry, I import powerpoints all the time into FCP. The only thing that gets sacrificed with my method is animated transitions.
Here’s how I do it:
- Open powerpoint, and open the file.
- Click “View slideshow”
- Wait for a few seconds until the slide transition icon in the bottom corner disappears.
- Click Shift + Command + 3 on the slide—you’re doing a screen capture. Do this with each slide in the file. If there is a “build” on the page, do a screen capture between the “builds” on the page, and add dissolve transitions through Final Cut.
- You’ll end up with a bunch of .jpgs on your desktop.
- Make a new folder to put them all in, and then move the folder to your project’s folder to stay organized.
- Import the folder into Final Cut. All of the slides will be in this folder. You shouldn’t have to do any re-sizing of the images in a 4:3 project.
Still need to bring movies in separately, as you indicated, but this process works for 95% of the powerpoint presentations I get, and is a pretty fast method.
Larry replies: Thanks, Cal and Sharon, for writing. I appreciate the update.