Keynote Pro Tip – Export Animations to Video in Full HD

Have you ever tried to export an animated Keynote presentation to video? If so, you have probably been a bit disappointed with the quality of the final video. As the integrated marketing manager here at Word Wizards, part of my job is to deliver professional quality media presentations. My software of choice for multimedia slide show presentations is Apple’s Keynote.

Keynote Logo: A podium with a microphonne and notes.

Keynote has great animations, solid graphics, and a set of professional looking master templates to start from. Once I put my slides together and set up the animations and transitions, I usually export the complete slideshow to a video file. The final step is to drag the video of the slideshow into a video editing software and add the final touches; i.e soundtrack, video transitions, and other media not included in the slideshow.

Garbage In, Garbage Out

So whats the problem with the previously mentioned workflow? One needs to export the slideshow video in full HD quality or the final product will just look worse and worse as editing and encoding goes on. I really can’t explain the technical reasons behind why that happens in this article, but it has to do with the nature of video compression and encoding. What I will say is a golden rule in any type of media production. The final product can only be the same or less quality than the input media. Translated that means bad video in usually means worse video out.

Video that has been digitaly distorted
Pixelated Video

Trial and Error

When you try to export Keynote presentations to video, you might find that the pristine quality of your beautiful presentation has been replaced with video junk. I first came across this issue a few months ago preparing a presentation for a new service we are launching called CloudScript. I noticed that no matter what I did, the video was looking pixelated and jerky. I tried to find information online about how to fix the problem but it seemed that a lot of people have been experiencing this issue and there is no real consensus on what to do. Well, after many failed attempts, and even more experiments, I think I have discovered the formula for the highest quality video export from keynote.

Keynote Video Export Method

Here is a step by step guide to make this clear and simple.

  1. Make sure your slides are the same aspect ratio as your movie will be. If you do not match your slide aspect ratio to that of your final movie project, the video will look squeezed or stretched when you try and compress it. Also, it turns out that having conflicting aspect ratios can lead to crashes in the software at the end of your export. This is very important to maintain video quality, and I would recommend doing this before the presentation is developed so you don’t have to go back and fix the slides.
  2. Check to see if you have enough space on your hard drive. We are talking uncompressed raw HD video here people. Last time I did this, a 5 minute slideshow exported a 20 GB file. Of course that will compress down to much smaller later, but if you do not have enough space on your hard drive, the export will proceed even slower than normal and will eventually crash when your workstation runs out of memory.
  3. Click File -> Export and select QuickTime. In the QuickTime Settings window you have options for “Playback Uses”. Personally, I always record the timing for my presentations before exporting so I select “Recorded Timing” from the drop down menu. I also usually leave the audio out of the export because I do the audio in a video software for more precise control, but that is also up to you.
  4. Under “Formats” select “Custom” from the drop down menu.
  5. Make sure you have the right aspect ratio in the next screen. If you did step one correctly you will be able to use “Full Size” in the video drop down menu I always use 1280 X 720 in the standard HD 16:9 aspect ratio. Once again the audio doesn’t make much difference here, but remember, garbage in garbage out. If you use audio, go lossless and go high bit / sample rate. When your options are just the way you want click “Settings” next to video.
  6. Follow the Bullets below for settings on this page: These are the magic settings for the best possible quality video export!
    • Compression Type: Animation
    • Frame Rate: 24
    • Key Frames: All
    • Depth: Millions of Colors +
    • Quality: Best
  7. Click O.K. Then click next on the following screen. Finally choose a location and enter a name for the video file and click Export. 
  8. WAIT! Grab a cup of coffee, or three, because its going to take a long, long time. This is one thing other articles out there fail to explain. The progress bar for keynote video exports is not accurate. Sure, it looks like its half finished, but its NOT. DO NOT CLOSE KEYNOTE until the program has become responsive again, I promise it will, just give it plenty of time and don’t run programs that are CPU intensive at the same time as the export.

The Final Step

Now that you have a huge, beautiful, full quality HD video, drag it into your video editing software and make any final adjustments and finishing touches. Once your ready, export to a compressed media format, (mov, mp4, flv, ext…) sorry, I will not be covering these steps in this article. If you need help with the final conversion give us a call we are here to help.

Its a Wrap

That’s all she wrote about this my friends. Remember, Word Wizards Inc. can help with this type of media rich animated presentations as part of our Graphic Design Solutions. Check out our website to learn more about our many services and capabilities. Please leave a comment if this post helps you out or if you have questions. Send us your glorious HD presentations made using this method and we will put them up on our blog!

Check out a presentation that I did using this method.

**Make sure to change the YouTube Quality setting to HD 720**

Office Avatars – Improve Small Business Productivity

The dedicated employees here at Word Wizards HQ often wear many hats, as is the case with many small businesses. During the course of the day, many critical discussions must be postponed while other responsibilities are dealt with. How can we keep track of who needs to talk to us when we are under the gun for multiple projects, responsibilities, and all important customer service activities? The answer, professional avatars?!

One of the Navi from Avatar looking intense
“Not now, I’m working on something!”

A Bright Idea

Lead web developer and 508 compliance guru Devra Glowinski is responsible for this progressive leap into uncharted territory of organizational theory. Early last fall, she began using a Tye-dye frog (seen below) to let somebody know that she needed to talk if they were indisposed at that particular moment. You can’t help but smile when you look up and see this little guy on your desk, and the practice proved to be a highly effective way of getting a co-worker’s attention without disturbing them. In fact, the idea was so well received, that during an office birthday party this past Spring, Devra gifted all of the office wizards with their own avatars so we could use the system as well.

Avatars to represent a need to talk business!
Meet the Word Wizards Team: (CEO – Lion, President – Purple Dog, Accounting – Green Bear, Graphics / Design – Rainbow Duck and Sparkly Vulture, Web Development / 508 Compliance – Tye-Dye Frog, Operations Manager – Rainbow Turtle, Factotum – Princess Celestia Pony, Marketing / Business Development – Blue Jay)

Creating a Productive Work Environment

My avatar is a small Blue Jay Beanie Baby named “Rocket.” My little blue buddy works his magic when I need to talk to someone and they are obviously busy at the moment. I just leave my avatar on their desk and they know when the task at hand is complete and time allows, I need to see them.

Its easy, its simple, its fun, and it works! No more standing in the doorway awkwardly waiting for the right moment, just put your cuddly personal assistant somewhere on their desk and let it do the waiting for you. Although my days in business school are far behind me, I can’t help but think back to my Organizational Behavior class when implementing this innovative system in our office. Not only do we have an effective, non-intrusive way of communicating a need to talk, but it adds a little bit of fun to the job, a win-win for keeping people working efficiently while at the same time keeping our team enjoying their time in the office.