Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Voice Over in Google Slides


"How do I add voice in Google Slides? PowerPoint does it."

This question should get frequent flyer miles. For so long my canned response was to use Screencastify or SnagIt (RIP) to record a video of the Slides presentation. To do this, students had to be good at using the Screencastify shortcuts to get a clean project without doing video editing. Sometimes this proved to be difficult for students as they could use a keyboard shortcut to pause the video. This typically caused confusion as to when they were actually recording. This was a frustration for a classroom of students that were fairly new to using Screencastify. There is certainly a learning curve when it comes to creating a good quality recording.

Autoplay Saves the Day

Google added a few features earlier this year that makes the process of creating a voice over in Google Slides much more palatable. By palatable, I mean that users no longer have to record the entire Slides presentation as a video. They no longer have to wonder whether or not the video is paused when they need to take a break. They can now record each slide separately, insert the video into the Slides presentation, and even trim the beginning and/or ending of each recording if needed. Let's check out the process.

The first great option was to be able to use videos directly from Google Drive. No longer is it required that you use YouTube to host video. This is important as YouTube is not accessible by users under the age of 13 according to Google's privacy policy. However, Google Drive is considered a "core service." Core Services are accessible by all students with parent permission. So when students use Screencastify, the video is uploaded directly to their Google Drive account in a Screencastify folder. This allows the student to quickly make the video accessible to viewers and insert it directly into a Slides presentation. 
click image to view these features in more detail
The next awesome feature that Google added was the ability to autoplay videos in Slides. When the slideshow begins, the student can make the video automatically start. This is a great option as the video can merely be used for the audio. To do this, I resize the video to a very small box and move it to the corner of the slide. Now when the slide is viewed, all links are clickable, animations do not have to be timed, and the audio will start immediately when the Slide is accessed. (Only in presentation mode.) 

The last great option that Google included was the ability to trim the beginning or end of your video. So if a student makes a mistake or takes too much time at the beginning or end of a recording, it can be trimmed off instead of re-recording the entire presentation. This will reduce the need to continually re-record. If a student stumbles at the beginning of the video, they don't have to stop the recording. The user can catch his/her breath, start speaking again and trim off the mistake at the beginning. (This feature is not in my video below, but you can see how to trim video by clicking the Google Slides Video Options banner.)

Public Display

These features will work well for public displays. Maybe there is some signage on a television for a special event? Maybe you want to send out a message to families? By using the public link, you can automate your Slides presentation to automatically start and change Slides. In the next video, I talk about considering the length of your audio in each Slide. You'll want to make sure that your messages are fairly similar in length. Otherwise, you'll end up with long awkward pauses between each Slide. This would be a good tip for student projects when they are ready to publish as well. 



Let me know how it goes. Send your samples my way. I'd love to see how students like this workflow over the old method of recording the entire presentation. I love to hear feedback!