PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds
Online Help

Contents

Getting Started
Applying Video Backgrounds
Playing Presentations with Video Backgrounds
Exporting Presentations
Video Backgrounds Content
Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started
PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds provides a way for you to play videos behind your PowerPoint slides. Normally, PowerPoint backgrounds are plain colors or static graphics based on a template. PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds enables you to replace these with any properly formatted video. You can use CrystalGraphics PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds Content, or you can use your own videos.

PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds can be used on previously created presentations as well as presentations you are creating from scratch. You can also add semi-transparent or opaque backdrops to slides with moving backgrounds to overlay the videos and, thus, emphasize the text and graphics in your slides.

In order to successfully play back PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds, your system should meet these requirements:

  • Windows 2000 or XP
  • PowerPoint 2000 - 2007
  • Pentium III or faster processor recommended
  • 10 MB of disk space for PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds Player
  • 60 - 150 MB of disk space per volume of PowerPlugs: Backgrounds Content
  • 32 MB VRAM (128 MB VRAM recommended)

PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds seamlessly installs into PowerPoint using a standard installation program. After installation, it works right inside of PowerPoint, so you never have to leave PowerPoint to apply video backgrounds to your slides . PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds is fully compatible with the real-time 3D rendered effects of PowerPlugs: Transitions and PowerPlugs: 3D Titles.

Applying Video Backgrounds
When PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds is installed, several new commands are added to PowerPoint. They include:

  • Add Video Background ; Use this to select and apply a video background to one or more slides.
  • View Show with Effects : Use this command instead of PowerPoint's View Show to play your slideshow with video backgrounds displayed.
  • Pack with Effects : Use this to export your presentation if you wish to play it using video backgrounds on another PC.

These commands appear on a toolbar that is floating when you first install PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds. (You may dock the toolbar if you prefer by dragging it to the PowerPoint toolbar area.) They also appear in PowerPoint's menus as Insert>PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds; Slide Show>PowerPlugs View Show with Effects, and File>PowerPlugs Pack with Effects.

To select and apply a video background, pick Add Video Background on the floating toolbar or PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds from the PowerPoint Insert menu. A dialog box (shown below) appears which allows you to select and preview a video clip to be played as the background for the presentation.

You may locate video clips in different folders using the folders and subfolders controls. Using Current Folder, select a folder that contains videos you wish to use. PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds will read all of the videos in that folder and create thumbnail images of them, displaying them in the gallery window. Use the Subfolders pane to navigate to different folders containing video content. Your most recently used video backgrounds can be located using the My Favorites folder.

You can preview a video by clicking Show Large Preview. Pressing Delete Video will remove the thumbnail image display from the gallery window, but will not delete it from your computer. You can redisplay deleted thumbnail displays of videos by reselecting the folder in Current Folder.

After you select the video background, you can select the following options:

Speed
Normal speed will play the background video at the speed at which it was recorded. Slow will play the video in slow motion. Static will freeze the video on the first frame. Normal is checked by default.

Loop Video
If Loop Video is checked, the clip will loop continuously, with the first frame playing after the last frame. This is checked by default.

Backdrop
A Backdrop in PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds is an opaque or semi-transparent shape that you may apply to the slides in your presentation; the backdrop inserts 'behind' the text and graphics on your slides, and 'in front of' the video backgrounds. The resulting effect emphasizes the text displayed on your slides. You should use a backdrop if you wish to make visual elements stand out from the video background, but still show the moving background.

You can select from a number of backdrop styles by clicking on the Select Backdrop Style tab. Each style features a different shape and/or shadow. There are 24 backdrops included with PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds. The default is a simple rectangle, and it is checked “on” by default.

You may also set the backdrop's level of Transparency between 0% (opaque) and 100% (invisible) and you can use the color control to select the backdrop color.

Applying the Background

After selecting the desired video and options, you can click Apply and the video clip will be assigned to the background on only the currently selected slide or slides. (If you are using PowerPoint 2000, the only option available is Apply to All. The Apply option is disabled because Microsoft had not yet implemented this capability in this earlier version of PowerPoint.) Click Apply to All to have the video clip background display on all the slides in your presentation.

To remove a video background that you have previously applied, select the “No Video” thumbnail and click Apply (for one slide or a selected group of slides) or Apply to All (to remove all the video backgrounds in your presentation).

Playing Presentations with Video Backgrounds
When you're ready to run your slideshow, you should use the PowerPlugs View Show with Effects command which appears on the Video Backgrounds toolbar, or PowerPlugs: View Show with Effects in the PowerPoint Slide Show menu. If you have other PowerPlugs products installed, such as PowerPlugs: Transitions, you may use the View Show with Effects in that application's toolbar, too.

Tip: When you play video on a computer, it will generally run more smoothly when you play it at a smaller size. For example, a video that is recorded at 640x480 will run more smoothly at that resolution than it will if its run full screen on a high resolution monitor at 1600x1200. If your computer does not play PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds sufficiently smoothly, we recommend that you reduce the resolution of your slide show playback (Use the Slide Show menu Set Up Show option). For example, most presentations will look good and run smoothly at 800x600 resolution. Reducing color depth from 32 bit to 16 bit (in Windows Display Settings) can also increase video performance, but the reduced color fidelity may be noticeable.

If you start your slideshow using PowerPoint's View Show or Slide Show or F5 , the presentation will play, but the video backgrounds will remain static. If you haven't applied any video backgrounds and you press View Show with Effects, there's no harm – your slideshow will run as if you had used PowerPoint's Slide Show command.

Exporting Presentations
When you want to play back a presentation that includes Video Backgrounds on a computer that does not have PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds installed, use Pack With Effects. With this, you can pack up your enhanced presentation and take it "on the road" or send it to someone else for viewing. (The destination machine should have PowerPoint 2000 or above installed.) Like PowerPoint's Pack and Go (PowerPoint 2002 and earlier) and Pack for CD (PowerPoint 2003 and later), Pack with Effects will gather together everything you need to play the presentation, and write it into a single folder, which you can copy onto a CD or DVD.

Here's what to do:
Open the presentation you want to pack.

Select Pack with Effects command which appears on the floating palette below. The equivalent command, “PowerPlugs: Pack with Effects” is also located in the PowerPoint File menu.

  • Select the 'maximum compatibility' option if you are unsure of the hardware and software specifications of the destination computer.
  • If you know that the destination computer has PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds installed, then you can select the “minimum file size” option.
  • Select the 'Custom' option when you are very familiar with the specifications of the destination computer.

If you pick Custom, you will be asked to fill in this form:

If your presentation uses PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds and if either PowerPlugs: 3D Titles or PowerPlugs: Transitions installed, you will be asked two additional questions about the destination computer (see dialog screenshot below).

The destination system must have PowerPoint 2000 or later installed to play Video Backgrounds.

Answer the questions about the destination computer. (You can determine the DirectX version on a Windows PC by selecting Start, then Run, and type in “dxdiag”. The version will be listed on the System tab.) If the destination PC does not have PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds installed, Pack with Effects will include the PowerPlugs Player and the appropriate background video files. If it does not have the correct version of DirectX, this will be packed.

If you are using PowerPoint 2002 or earlier, you will then go through the PowerPoint Pack and Go wizard. Respond to each prompt; in most cases “Next” will be sufficient. Click the 'Finish' button. The following dialog box will display:

If you are using PowerPoint 2003, you will see the following two screens pop up and close automatically. Please do not try to click on them or try to fill in any information. PowerPlugs will automatically fill in the required information and then it will close the dialog boxes.

Note: If using PowerPoint 2003 with Pack with Effects, DO NOT change information in the following dialog boxes.


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If using PowerPoint 2003 with Pack with Effects, DO NOT change information in these dialog boxes.
Pack with Effects intercepts these dialogs to route resources and elements pertinent to the presentation to a single location. This is done so that you will have all the necessary files centralized when you proceed with burning a CD, copying onto a ZIP drive, or sending the files to others so they can play your enhanced presentation on their computers.

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If using PowerPoint 2003 with Pack with Effects, DO NOT change information in the dialog box pictured above.

Once the files have been placed in the location / folder you designated in the first Pack with Effects dialog, the packing process is complete and you can burn the contents of this folder onto a CD to play it on another computer. PowerPlugs Pack with Effects will display the following dialog and you can click the OK button to close it:

Video Backgrounds Content
CrystalGraphics offers 9 volumes PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds Content, which are very high quality collections of professional video background clips modified specifically for use with the PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds Player. Each volume contains 25 unique, high-quality, video clips in the WMV format (640x480, 15 fps). Visit the PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds gallery to see samples of the video clips included in each Video Backgrounds Content volume(s).

If you already have a wide selection of video clips (or even one incredible video background clip you are completely happy with) and don't necessarily need more, you can purchase the PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds Player software only which includes a Demo sampler of the nine volume collection of video clips.

These Video Backgrounds are royalty-free, but not copyright-free. The video clips are original, copyrighted video material created by professional and talented animators who focus on creating moving backgrounds for broadcast television. You may not give or sell these video clips to anyone else. However, you may use them in your PowerPoint presentations royalty free.

PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds provides an option to import your own video files. Browse / select a folder which contains the video files you want to import.

 

PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds will import all the supported video files present in that directory. Once your video file is imported, you can use PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds' “Add Video Background” to preview and/or add your video clip(s) to your slide(s). Then, simply select the desired video, click 'Apply' and the video clip will be assigned to the background on only the currently selected slide (the 'Apply' option is available to users of PowerPoint 2002 or higher); or click 'Apply to All' to have the video clip background display on all the slides in your presentation.

Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my graphics card will support my presentation that has been enhanced using PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds, and possibly other PowerPlugs products, such as PowerPlugs: Transitions and 3D Titles?
Generally speaking, there are no special video graphics hardware requirements when playing back presentations that have been enhanced with Video Backgrounds. If you also used other PowerPlugs effects, such as Transitions or 3D Titles, to enrich your PowerPoint presentation, we recommend graphics display hardware with ample video memory to ensure that PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds, Transitions, and 3D Title effects display properly. Although special graphics hardware is not required to run PowerPlugs, the playback quality and visual experience is better when graphics hardware that supports 32MB or more of video memory (video RAM or VRAM) is present (and Microsoft DirectX 9 or above).  To determine the amount of Video RAM configured on your system, right mouse click on the Windows desktop and select Properties>Settings. Click the “Advanced” button, then select the tab labeled Adapter. Note the “Memory Size.” This is the amount of video memory (RAM) that accompanies your graphics display adapter (video card).


Can PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds be run from a network / virtual drive?
No. PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds must be installed onto the local hard drive of an individual PC and run from that PC regardless of whether the host application, PowerPoint, is running via a network or virtual drive.

How much do updates cost?
Updates of the PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds Player software are, at this time, free. You can check the current version available and download free update patches, if any, available on our CrystalGraphics technical support pages any time you want to. It's our pleasure to serve you!

Support

What technical support services are available if I am having problems with PowerPlugs: Video Backgrounds?
CrystalGraphics provides the following technical support service options to its customers:

  1. Free, unlimited access to our technical support Web pages
  2. Free technical support for registered owners of CrystalGraphics software (via email or telephone) during the first 30 days after your purchase. You can get custom answers via email or call us toll-free at 866-454-4556. For customers calling from outside the U.S. and Canada, please dial +1 866-454-4556. Telephone-based technical support is available Monday through Friday, 8:30AM - 1:00PM Pacific Time.
    Note: Some locations outside the U.S. may not be able to connect directly to this toll-free number. In this case, please call +1 408-496-6175, extension 271 and leave a message that includes your name and contact information such as your complete email address and a phone number (include your country & city code numbers) along with a description of the problem you are experiencing. A technical support representative will make every effort to promptly return your call and assist you.
  3. Paid tech support – for tech support requests beyond the 30-day “free” period – see below for options:
    Option #1: You can buy technical support on a per incident basis. With the per incident option, you buy telephone-based technical support in 15 minute increments or per individual problem or incident when communicating electronically (i.e. fax and/or e-mail support).  Price: $40 per 15 minutes.
    Option #2: You can buy a block of technical support time (or number of incidences). The minimum block of time you can purchase is two hours (or the equivalent of 8 incidences if communicating via electronic mechanisms, i.e. fax or e-mail). Technical support purchased in time blocks costs less than technical support purchased on a per incident basis. However, the block of time purchased must be used within a 12 month period.  Price: $100 per hour, minimum 2 hours.
    Option #3: You can buy a 12-month technical support contract. The technical support contract provides you with unlimited telephone-based technical support or electronic incidences, and free software updates if any updates ship while your contract is active.  Price: $250 per yea

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