Table of Contents




The slightly over $20 solution to the video projector.
by Shepard & Bernard Gorman

It's hard to find any institution that doesn't see many computer-based presentation packages like Microsoft PowerPoint, used virtually every day. One would probably be hard-pressed to not find a computer at any but the smallest of businesses or schools. But not every room has the capability to display computer output to large groups. How does the average presenter remedy this?

A video projector and a laptop computer make a nearly unbeatable solution for multimedia lecture presentations. However, the price of this combination however, can be daunting. The cost of good laptops with DVD recording capabilities, and excellent multimedia tools has dropped to under $1000. Likewise, the prices of video projectors have tumbled in the past few years from an initial cost of $2,000to $3,000 to the $800 - $1000 price range. While this is great news it still out of the financial reach of many institutions and most individuals. We’re going to suggest a solution which will bridge the last step so that only minimal, inexpensive equipment will be needed during presentations.

The solution can be found in the tactic that millions of consumers prefer in the living rooms and bedrooms. ( Got your attention?) The deal is the combination of a DVD player and a TV set. This is obvious to consumers until they become instructors, when they completely forget this tactic. Usiing this new combination will require no animal testing, heavy equipment or a new supply of dental floss. However, you might want to buy extra batteries for the remote control.

While some effort is needed to get started, our approach is inexpensive, highly portable and easy to save. Neither the DVD player nor the TV need be expensive. In fact, our experience has shown that some of the least expensive DVD players, are much more tolerant of many types of DVD disks and, therefore, far better suited for this purpose than the very expensive ones. Carefully shopping catalog, on-line and pre-holiday door-buster special sales, you can locate these kinds of players for under $20 (after going through the incredibly annoying rebate process.)

Almost any medium to large TV with component audio and-video ( red, black yellow) input will do. If you want to get fancy, sets with S-video inputs are better. These aren’t difficult to find, with most TV sets made in the last seven or eight years qualifying. An expensive HDTV set is not only unnecessary, but probably unwise for this purpose. A 27 inch TV is more than adequate for presentations to groups up to about 40 and should be available from many sources for under $200 in the eventuality that an institution does not have one readily available.

Once the hardware is in place how do we place content onto the screen? In fact, this step takes about the same time to explain as execute. As is usual in our electronic world there are multiple ways to accomplish this well. The assumption here is that the reader had already has a computer PowerPoint presentation that has been reviewed and especially checked for spelling. It's so embarrassing to see the misspelled words take on a semi-permanent life in large type.

The assumption we’ll also make here it that you have access to a computer with DVD recording capability and some inexpensive video recording software.. The research for this article was done with a 512G RAM, 1.8MHz Win XP computer running Ulead DVD Movie Factory 3 and Nero Ultra Version 6. (DVD Movie Factory 4 and Nero 7 should work the same way. They both were being shipped as this article was being written and will be reviewed at a later date.)

The steps for the actual transformation are fairly easy:

1. Instead of simply saving your PowerPoint file , use the Save As .. pull-down and save the file as a JPEG. Answer "Yes" when PowerPoint asks whether each slide should become a separate file. Saving the presentation files to their own separate folder will make the process much easier.

2. Open the folder with the JPEG's and rename each of the first 10 files from Slide 1 to Slide 01, Slide 2 to Slide 02., etc This step will make sure that the slides are entered in proper order in the presentation.

3. At this point we can transfer to JPEGs to a DVD in one of 2 ways.

A. Here’s the cheapest method.

1. Open Nero Burning ROM to the DVD menu, and chose "Data Disk"

2. Add the JPEGs from the folder and burn the disk.

Disks made this way , will display on many DVD players that have video file capabilities. The slides will show with a default presentation duration that depends on the individual player, but usually is about 5 seconds. Since almost no one could or should talk that fast, the judicious use of the "Pause" button to advance slides is in order.


2. On the next screen, choose DVD when it asks for output format.

3. From the "Add media" panel (top left) choose "Add Slideshow"

4. Follow the on-screen prompts to add all of your JPEGS

B. Here’s a slightly more expensive way.
1. Open DVD Movie Factory 3 , selecting Create Video Disc and click DVD on the media choice menu.
2. On the next screen, choose DVD when it asks for output format.
3. From the “Add media” panel (top left) choose “Add Slideshow”
4. Follow the on-screen prompts to add all of your JPEGS
5. Make certain they are in the correct order. If not, use the Arrange” tools in the lower part of the menu and to rearrange them.
6. Increase the slide duration to 60 seconds or more.
7. Choose music and transitions if you must. (They are awfully
distracting and pretty cheesy for most purposes.)
8. Click “OK”
9. Check the “Create Menu” button and then click “Next”
10. On the next screen chose the menu background and click any text to change it.
11. Click “Next”
12. Preview the slide show in the player, then click “Next”
13. On this screen click on “Options”. It's a good idea to change the name of the disk and save the folder with the JPEGs as a "personal folder"
14. Save the project so you can modify it later if you like. Remember
DVD recording isn't precise and some DVD writers like some brands and/or types ( + or - ) of discs better, so its possible that you may have to re-record the project to another disk. Until you know your equipment, saving the output to a hard disk file can save you time later and take only one more short step now.
15. Click “Output” and go for a cup of coffee while the program adds the menus, encodes and burns a disk ( You can alos go for a potty break, but don’t smoke. It’s unhealthy, disgusting and we hope that you disk turns into a coaster if you do light up.)

Similar recording can be done with Nero Burning ROM, Pinnacle Studio, Roxio Easy Media Creator, or Adobe products. We suggest the use of a Ulead program here because we are much more familiar with their product line.

The second method looks more harder, but we know only takes about it 2 minutes more than the first one and gives you considerably more control over the look and feel of the slideshow.

In all probability, you now have your slideshow presentation on a DVD that can be placed into virtually any inexpensive DVD player and displayed on any TV using the Pause, Chapter Forward and Chapter Reverse buttons on the DVD remote control to control the speed of the presentation.

The steps above can be used to place more than slides from a presentation package onto a DVD. In fact, any sound or video clip image that can be seen on a computer screen can be placed onto the disk. Irfanview is one great, free tool that makes image capture and manipulation easy. Video authoring packages like DVD Movie Factory 4 or Pinnacle Studio 9, make it rather easy to add captured photos, images or a particular computer screen or music onto the same DVD. Once the content is on the disk it’s portable, easy to copy and it can be presented in virtually any locale with a DVD player and TV screen.. We’ve tried this in just about every kind of classroom with the exception of the college swimming stadium. It works!

Last Update:06/26/2007


Copyright © 1999 - 2012 PC Lifeline