Using Movies From the Internet

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If you feel that you can't make your own movies you can still use other people's. There is a lot of good stuff out there if you know how to use it. YouTube is a good place to start. Most of the links on this site are to YouTube movies.


Using Videos from YouTube

YouTube is a great source of inspiration with lots of movies which you could use yourself. It is easy to download them and run them as stand alone movies or from within a PowerPoint presentation .I find that the best way to run video in school or church is  from PowerPoint. So there are two issues: firstly, how do you download the video and secondly, how do you get it to run from PowerPoint?

Downloading video

The easiest way now download a video is probably to use Real Player. This is a media player capable of replaying a range of formats including the proprietary Real formats. It is now quite stable and I use it as my default player for most formats. But the big bonus of the latest RealPlayer is that it enables you to download nearly every movie which you find on the internet (it is possible for a site owner to block downloads so it is rarely possible to download from the BBC website, for example). This mean that all videos on Youtube, Google Video, Vimeo and many other sites are available. You will normally see a 'Download this Video' window at the top right of the video display. Just click on it and the video will download to your computer. You will also see a little arrow; clicking on this activates a drop down menu enabling you to 'Save As...' and set default preferences for the program.

Formatting the video

Most videos will download in either Flash (.flv) or MPEG-4 (.mp4) formats. Unfortunately PowerPoint will not recognise Flash movies so you will have to convert them to another format which it will recognise. Fortunately, Real Player will come to your aid again. When your movie has finished downloading to your computer you are offered the opportunity to convert it to another format. There re are better format converters around but this is good enough for many purposes. You are offered the choice of conversion to a number of different devices. I recommend setting up your own 'device', called, say, "Windows Media" by customising the XBox setting. If you set the format to Windows media; the Quality to 15Mbs (High); Resolution to 720p; Audio to Windows Media Audio; and Quality to 256 kbs Stereo you will have a reasonable quality .wmv file which you can run from within PowerPoint.