Videos in Presentations

To Link or to Embed – This is the question…

PowerPoint presentations often contain videos clips. Hence, a frequently asked question is whether to link or embed?

Yes, I know it sounds simple, but there is more than meets the eye. It is not one or the other, it is more like: on the one hand, and the other, meaning; it depends!

Before discussing the dependencies, we first need to understand the differences between linking and embedding.

Just like any other item, when we link a video to a presentation, the source is an external file. It can be a video on YouTube, Vimeo, a file on our local network or computer, or any other website for that matter.

However, when a video is embedded, it becomes an inherent part of the presentation, which means the source is no longer relevant.

Although the differences are quite straightforward, to decide whether to link or embed requires understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each method:

Linking a video

Advantages

  • The video does not affect the presentation’s size.
  • The quality of the video remains intact.

Disadvantages

  •  A linked video clip requires constant access to external platforms (YouTube, Vimeo, website, or other). Therefore, you will need a high bandwidth internet connection that is fast enough to run the clip smoothly.
  • Changing folders, uploading the presentation to a USB, or sending it by email – if the clip comes from an internal file or source, the video might not run.

 

Embedding a video

Advantages

  • Solves all linking-solution problems. When embedding a clip, it does not matter whether or not you have an internet connection; the video is ready to play any time because it is an integral part of the presentation.

Disadvantages

  • Substantially inflates the presentation’s size.
  • If you plan to send the presentation by email, size is an issue. You will probably need to use a compression solution to reduce the clip to a reasonable, workable, and send-able size.
  • Usually requires a high-resolution source, to look good when played in full-screen mode.

Few more points to consider:

  • Copyrights – do you have the rights or permission to use the clip? If you are unsure, you may want to be on the safe side and link rather than embed. Also, remember to attribute and give credits.
  • Where will the presentation take place, and with what computer? Not all PowerPoint versions read all video formats, possibly causing codecs difficulties. In this case, perhaps, it is better to link (placing the video in a folder and then saving it to the presentation’s folder).
  • Computer capabilities – high resolutions graphics require powerful computers.

As you see, there is no right or wrong, and every presentation should be discussed separately. Sometimes, I have two versions for the same presentation; one linked, the other embedded.

Confused? My advice is that if you have any reservations on this one, your best bet is to consult with an expert.