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Microsoft PowerPoint will soon get the ability to translate presentations in real time.
It already has the ability to suggest design ideas through Designer and draw up an outline for your content with QuickStarter. What else do you need?
Well, you still need to create a memorable presentation. And that still takes some doing.
Communication expert Garr Reynolds who is also the author of the best seller Presentation Zen has a three-step advice. Prepare, Design, and Deliver. In the design phase, he nudges presenters to use video and audio when appropriate.
Using video clips to show concrete examples promotes active cognitive processing, which is the natural way people learn.
The idea is to sidestep the corny and use the right kind of media to create a visual story. A good multimedia asset changes the pace of your presentation and can immerse the audience in your storytelling. Of course, keep it short and sharp around your main theme.
It is an art. It can be mastered. And so, like any art project, you need your supplies. Let’s scour the web for the best places to get cool media clips you can use in your PowerPoint presentations.
Effects with Free Sound Clips
The old world of PowerPoint slides filled with bullet point statements will be replaced by a new world of examples via stories, accompanied by evocative images and sounds.
This site for royalty free music and sound effects is neatly categorized. There are more than 2000 free sound WAV files you can dip into. But the best part of the site after the free label are the filters. Sort through the sounds by length and loop.
You do have to log-in before you start the first download.
Freesound is a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds. And it lives up to its community feel with an active forum and blog that supports its members.
Can’t find a particular effect – ask for help.
I wanted to end one of my presentations with a “Beam me Up, Scotty” sound clip from Star Trek. I got the 11 KB file from here. The site still has that classic old look, but it is a rich dump of sound clips from movies, TV, commercials and some special effects types too.
The site has a search page, so it is easy to get to your sound clip if you know exactly what you are searching for. The separate tabs for sound clips from movies, TV, commercials, and FX should make your job easier.
This is a crowdsourced music site featuring remixes and samples licensed under Creative Commons licenses. It includes many tracks with non-commercial sharing licenses and some under sampling licenses. Dig into the experimental genres for themes and looping backgrounds.
The site features excellent organization with a bunch of categories and filters. Just be sure to credit the musician with the correct Creative Commons attribution. It’s not for the run-of-the-mill presenter but more for the guy who knows what he is doing with his music.
The site hasn’t changed its look. But behind the old façade, it has kept on updating its collection of effects. From prankish sounds (give the farts a miss in your PPTs) to cool sound effects, this site has a good collection. With the tiny sound clips you can add sound effects to your buttons or transitions. Sound clips fall under royalty-free and free sounds.
Free Movie Clips for PowerPoint
Shake a few trees and a sound effect will pop out. On the other hand, free videos are dominated by the giant redwood that’s first on this list…
There’s plenty to choose from the world’s largest reservoir of free videos. It is so big that other videos websites often host their collections on YouTube itself. You just have to do three things – think about the right kind of video to showcase on a slide. Then, search YouTube to find the aptest video. Finally, download the YouTube video and embed it in your presentation.
Remember, Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 makes it easy to insert a YouTube video. If you didn’t know it yet, you can also use the Insert Video field to search for a video from within the PowerPoint itself.
If you are thinking of an educational PowerPoint slide, then try the Internet Archive. Okay, try it for everything else too because it holds classic full-length films, alternative news broadcasts, cartoons, concerts, and many other archival materials behind its vault doors.
The 1654 videos pale in comparison to YouTube but do check it out if you are lookingfor historic videos under a Creative Commons license.
Try the Pixabay search engine for free public domain resources of all kinds. No attribution is required. The collection is small, but the videos relate to specific stock footage categories. Scroll down to the foot of the page to filter by category. They include everything from Animals to Vacation.
You will find that most of the assets are hosted on Vimeo and therefore are high resolution.
Pexels has borrowed a leaf from the Pixabay playbook. They have a growing database of full-HD or at least HD quality that you can edit or change for personal and even for commercial projects.
Again, no attribution is required. Pexels has a good site search followed by neat tagging which makes it easy to find the right video.
A community of videographers upload their work and you can grab them for free. Videezy is a site for free HD stock videos and other kinds of footage. Do check the license under each video before you use it in your presentation. Enter keywords or browse by category to find the clip.
Add Comic Strips for Humor
I would pick cartoons from Dilbert to add a bit of fun to my somber business slides. But Scott Adams would drag me to court for using cartoons without his permission. The burden to add that spice of humor at exactly the right place in your slides falls on these free comic strip sites which all use Creative Commons licenses.
Randall Munroe is the first name that pops up when we think of free webcomics and cartoons. His work is licensed under a “use it but don’t sell it” Creative Commons license. The comics are a sarcastic take on the world with some geekdom thrown in.
Now, if you are wondering what the title of the website means – don’t. According to Randall, it is just a word with no phonetic pronunciation.
This weekly comic strip needs an acronym. But then, you wouldn’t bother enough to find out what a manatee is. I have always found a Tumblr blog difficult to search, so I follow the tags instead.
The webcomic has been created by Hugh D. Crawford and his yen for dark humor. All his work is under a Creative Commons License and needs appropriate credit.
Cartoons about anything and everything. The important distinction is that they are separated into neat categories like Art & Culture, Business, Education etc. Total them all up and you have 980 ways to draw a chuckle from your audience. Feel free to use them with a Creative Commons license.
Animation and ClipArt for PowerPoint
I wouldn’t use animations in professional PowerPoint slides too much. But animations can do their duty in educational slides inside the classroom. Animations and GIFs are not for memes alone. They can be instructional if used with the right context. Look at the idea of software instructions with explainer GIFs.
If YouTube has a lifetime of videos, then GIPHY has the market for animated GIFs. Look past the funny GIFs you send with WhatsApp at the thousands of instructional animations on the site. Or just try the useful search engine on the site. I just searched for “internal combustion engine” and guess what – I got nearly 7000 hits!
You can’t stop Reddit when it is on a roll. Searching for just the right GIF can be a chore, but at least try it once on this sub-Reddit which houses educational GIFs of all kinds. Take a glance to the right and there are two sub-Reddits called gifrequests and makemeagif you can tap for some friendly assistance.
Surprised? Wikipedia is a rabbit hole for information and nearly 40 million freely usable media files hosted on Wikimedia. Supporting many of their pages are explainer GIFs under a Creative Commons license. For instance, try this comet impact GIF next time with a space topic.
If you want a hypnotic look through animated GIFs on Wikipedia try the WikiGifs project by Joel Franusic.
The clipart hasn’t outlived its usefulness yet. So, continue your hunt for more free clipart on the web.
Did We Miss a Favorite Site?
The internet is chock a bloc with graphic freebies. The human problem is laying our hands on the right one at the right time. And with the boss breathing down your neck for the Monday morning presentation, speed becomes a vital factor for an impressive presentation.
Let’s hope these ready at hand resources give that bit of breathing space to let your inspired mind flow.
What kind of media clips do you use with your presentations? Do you prefer free resources or does your company help you access paid stock libraries for presentation assets?
Image Credit: Christian Bertrand via Shutterstock.com
Originally written by Saikat Basu on July 3, 2009.