Making Movies with Keynote

Did you know you can make movies with Keynote? Keynote for the Mac has a Record Slideshow feature that makes it easy to record your presentation and then export it as a movie. All you need is a headset. I use my iPhone earbud and it works just fine.

Simple slideshow
Simple slideshow

The first step is to build your slideshow. In this example there won’t be any narration, just background music. I found a royalty-free music clip at Vimeo’s Music Store – Once and Forever by Leon Ayers, Jr.  It cost me $1.99. The music is a simple piano melody that has a nostalgic mood and runs just over 2 1/2 minutes – perfect for this slideshow. I used the Document panel in the Document sidebar to define how the slideshow will be set up. It’s set for self-playing. The Audio panel is where I choose the music file to be used in the slideshow and define how it will operate (play once or loop).

The toughest part of this type of presentation is setting the timing for your slides so that the slideshow and music end at the same time. I used the Animate panel to set the transition (fade through color) as a 3-second transition with a 6-second delay. It took several tries to get the timing set. Even so, the music runs out before the last slide fades but that’s okay.

Once everything is the way you want it, you are ready to record your presentation. Make sure the first slide is selected then choose the Play > Record Slideshow command from the Keynote menu bar. The recording screen appears and fills the entire screen.

Recording Screen
Recording Screen

The white box below the slides displays the speaker notes for the current slide. This is where you would enter your script so that it is easy to read as you record the presentation. In this case it isn’t necessary. The X icon at the top right corner of the screen will get you out of this recording screen and back to the normal Keynote screen.

Recording Toolbar
Recording Toolbar

The recording toolbar is located at the bottom right of the screen. To begin recording click on the red dot icon. Click it again to stop the recording. With a self-running presentation, there is no need to manually change slides. For normal presentations, you can use the forward arrow button or click the image of the next slide at the top of the screen to move forward. For this “music only” presentation I turned off the computer’s microphone by clicking the slash/mic icon so the recording wouldn’t pick up outside noise – like my dog barking.

Once you have recorded your presentation, you can see how it looks by choosing the Play > Play Recorded Slideshow command from Keynote’s menu. If everything looks good, use the File > Export To > QuickTime command to convert it into the appropriate movie format. Here’s the result . . .

If you want to include narration, take advantage of the speaker notes to make notes on what you want to say. You could write an actual script if you prefer. You can use your Mac’s builtin microphone to do the narration, but a headset is a better option. I use the earbuds that came with my iPhone. That microphone works great for me although it does pick up Bubba’s barking.

If you flub the narration – and you will – you have two options. First is to stop recording and use the Play > Clear Recording command to remove it, then start again. If you are comfortable editing video clips in iMovie, keep the recording going and narrate that slide again. Once you’ve exported the recorded presentation to video, use iMovie to cut the flubbed section out.

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