It a common issue with Powerpoint: you want to play a video inside your presentation. No sweat, simply

'Insert' > 'Movie' > 'Movie from File',

and lo and behold you have a movie playing from within Powerpoint. Well, assuming it’s compatible. But I digress.

My issue has always been the terminology of the command. You’ve selected Insert, and yet nothing has actually been inserted. Instead, a link has been made between that specific slide and the movie file. This is a hard link, and will break if you change the relationship of the PPT file and the MOVIE file.

The reliable workaround for those in the know has always been to place the PPT and the Movie together in the same folder before linking, and always carrying them together as a package.

This hasn’t stopped people from arriving at my Speaker Ready Room with a weenie 300 kB PPT file insisting that the movie is embedded (read: inserted) in their presentation and that it “worked at the office”.

I blame Microsoft for their misleading menus names. However, they have recently redeemed themselves on two fronts:

  1. Microsoft Powerpoint 2010 now actually embeds the movie into the PPTX file. This is the default behaviour.
  2. A Powerpoint 2010 PPTX file, with an embedded movie, is backwards compatible to Powerpoint 2007.

This is great news, since we will be in transition from 2007 for a while, and it will also encourage more adoption to use the current PPTX format.

I’m still waiting for an opportunity to try out some of the other video features of Powerpoint 2010 (masking, in/out times and other effects), and will report back after some experimentation.