Creating Islamic Presentations
Tools, techniques, tips, and resources
 
How a PowerPoint slide appears in RealPlayer streaming from the Net
 
 View sample RealMedia presentations: Islamic and General (full-screen viewing recommended)
(You need the free RealPlayer to view these presentations)
 
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0 Introduction
Summary   Detail 

Purpose 

  • The purpose of this guide is to provide step by step instructions to teachers, lecturers, and anyone else on creating effective PowerPoint presentations with audio narration, and converting them to RealMedia presentations that can be played anywhere in the world through the Internet with the free RealPlayer.
  • Although the process may appear to be daunting at first, it is actually quite easy to prepare a presentation.  You first have to plan your presentation, design the individual slides, record your narration (i.e. actual delivery of the presentation), and finally convert the narration into a RealMedia file.  That is all there is to it.  This guide will explain each step in more detail.
  • Any person with basic experience of using Windows software such as Microsoft Word will be able to perform the steps and create the presentations.
  • A PC with sound card and a microphone, Microsoft PowerPoint 97 (part of Office 97 suite), and RealPresenter plugin (available from the website below for a minimal charge) are required.   Other tools for the power users may include image editors and sound editors.
Techniques  Tools (essential)   Tools (optional) 
 
1 Why create Islamic presentations in this way?
Summary   Detail 
  • A voice-only lecture suffers from the disadvantage that it can only engage the ear.  On the other hand, although a typical video recording of a lecture is more appealing it does not add much substance to the knowledge being imparted.  A slide show with background narration is a good mix that provides information to the audience both through voice and still images and text.
  • As a survey conducted by the Ohio State University indicates, use of PowerPoint presentations increased the extent of learning achieved by their students.
  • In particular, it is usually a challenge for teachers and educators to capture and hold the attention of the younger audience when imparting religious education.  It is likely that they will find this mode of imparting education more appealing.
  • For the reasons identified above and because the final presentation is a compact electronic file, it can be ideal as a component of Islamic distance learning courses distributed on CDs or through the Internet.
  • Once converted to the RealMedia format, the presentation can be played at will through the Internet from a server without having to download the complete file.  This would make it readily available to even those with slower connection speeds round the clock throughout the world.
  • The potential is immense.  However, nothing will happen unless people like you take the initiative and invest some of your time to become comfortable with this method of creating content.
Opinion 
 
2 Planning your presentation
Summary   Detail 
  • You need to plan your presentation as you would any other talk.  However, this time think of how you can supplement your verbal messages with text, clipart, screenshots and use of backgrounds and colour.
  • Although PowerPoint 97 allows powerful animation and sound effects, they are not captured during the RealMedia conversion.  You are advised not to use them.
Techniques 
 
3 Designing PowerPoint slides
Summary   Detail 
  • PowerPoint 97 comes with some templates, and some others are available free on the Web (see below).  Choose one that would be visually appealing and suitable for the topic being discussed.
  • Although PowerPoint 97 allows powerful animation and sound effects, they are not captured during the RealMedia conversion.  You are advised not to use them.
  • Refer to the RealPresenter Plugin accompanying documentation (in Acrobat format) and review the table showing the various slide sizes with the corresponding size of the RealPlayer screen when playing back the slides.  Choose one that is acceptable.  The example presentation on Ghadir Khumm used a custom size of 27.26cm by 18.95cm.
  • Ensure the font sizes are large enough to be visible.  Remember the RealPlayer screen is smaller and there is a loss of quality due to compression.  Smaller sized fonts may be hardly visible.
  • Clipart, screenshots or other images may be pasted into the slide.  See below for information on how these can be imported into PowerPoint from other external sources.
  • Test out the look and readability of the slides by converting them at regular intervals, before the narration process, into RealMedia files and opening these in RealPlayer.  See step (6) for details.
PowerPoint techniques  Techniques with images 
 
a Where can I get Islamic and other clipart?
Summary   Detail 
  • Some general clipart is included in PowerPoint, and more can be incorporated from the Microsoft website.  This, and other sites that are sources of Islamic and general clipart are listed below.  Please ask permission, if required, before using these images.
  • To add an image from a web page into PowerPoint, first save it by right-clicking on it within the browser and choosing the option Save Picture As....  Then, in PowerPoint, choose Insert ... Picture...From File and choose the file you just saved. 
Islamic clipart  General clipart 
 
b How can I add screenshots from other software?
Summary   Detail 
  • With the required image being visible, press the Print Scrn button with or without Alt to capture the image in the PC's memory.  Then choose Paste in PowerPoint to obtain the image.  It can then be cropped or resized as required. 
  • You may wish to use an image editor program to resample the image at a different resolution for better output.
Tools
 
c How can I add Arabic text from the Al-Islam.org site?
Summary   Detail 
  • Follow the instructions on Al-Islam.org - Viewing Guidelines to download and install the Karbala TrueType font on your system.
  • Go to the page on Al-Islam.org with the required Arabic text.  Simply copy and paste the Arabic text required and change font name and size as appropriate in PowerPoint.
Techniques and resources
 
d How can I add transliteration to the text in my slides?
Summary   Detail 
  • Follow the instructions on Al-Islam.org - Transliteration Viewing Guidelines to download and install the Al-Arial TrueType font on your system.
  • Instructions on how to enter transliteration text in Microsoft Word are available, please email us.  This text can then be copied and pasted into PowerPoint slides.
 
Techniques and resources
 
4 Narrating your presentation: recording audio to the slides
Summary   Detail 
  • Before you begin, check your microphone to make sure it is connected and the recording levels are set properly.  Keep the microphone volume near to maximum but still a little short of it for optimum voice recording.
  • Test the quality of recording by starting the Sound Recorder (Start - Programs - Accessories - Multimedia - Sound Recorder) and recording a test audio clip.  If it doesn't play back satisfactorily, then refer to the documentation accompanying your sound card and troubleshoot.
  • Ensure you have any aide memoires handy that you may need while delivering your talk.  You can keep other applications open at the same time, such as a Word document that you may wish to refer to in mid-narration.  When you wish to refer to this document, press Alt-Tab to switch to it from PowerPoint.  When you do this, the recording by PowerPoint will continue uninterrupted.  Once you are ready to return to look at your slides, press Alt-Tab again. 
  • To start narrating your presentation, choose Record Narration from the Slide Show menu in PowerPoint.  A dialog box will appear.  Ensure that Link Narrations is checked - this is essential.  Next, click on Settings... and ensure that you choose CD Quality 43 kb/sec, 16 bit mono.  You may wish to experiment with other options but this one was found to be of the right quality.
  • Click OK and make sure that the Maximum Record time now indicated is enough for the duration of your recording. 
  • Click OK and the first full-screen slide will appear.  The recording has started!
  • Begin speaking into the microphone, and click anywhere or press any key (except ESC) to advance to the next slide.  Always leave silence of around 2 seconds on either side of a slide transition.  This ensures that in the final RealMedia file the slides change at the right time and narration for one slide does not 'run into' that for the next slide. 
  • Continue speaking and advancing throughout your presentation.
  • When you are finished with all of the slides, click Yes when asked if you want to save the slide timings.
  • Click Yes to review the timings.
  • PowerPoint will show your presentation in Slide Show mode, with the number

  • of seconds for each slide listed.
 
5 Testing your complete presentation
Summary   Detail 
  • Before you convert your PowerPoint presentation to RealMedia, it is a good idea to test the final, narrated presentation. Follow this procedure to make sure the narration and slide timings are to your satisfaction.
  • Choose View from the Slide Show menu. Your narrated presentation opens and begins playing. Listen to the narration and make sure it sounds fine. Also check the length of time each slide appears on the screen. 
  • If you need to re-record the narration, simply follow the steps for recording a narration again.
  • If you are dissatisfied with the narration for only one particular slide, do

  • the following: 
    a) Select Slide Sorter from the View menu. 
    b) Select and cut (CTRL+X) the slide you want to change. 
    c) Open a new, empty presentation. 
    d) Paste (CTRL+V) the slide into the presentation. 
    e) Record the new narration. 
    f) Select and cut the slide, and paste it into your original PowerPoint presentation. 
  • Advanced users: Remember that audio for each slide is recorded individually in separate WAV files (try double clicking on the speaker icon at bottom right of any slide).  These can be 'post-produced' if needed using a suitable sound editor.
 
6 Converting to RealMedia format
Summary   Detail 
  • If you haven't already done so, then download and install the RealPresenter plugin.
  • Open your PowerPoint 97 narrated presentation.
  • From PowerPoint, choose Publish to RealMedia from the Tools menu.
  • The RealPresenter Plug-in wizard will start.
  • Choose Internet for Target Audience.

  • (The RealMedia presentation is recorded using a 5 Kbps Voice audio codec 
    and a 11 Kbps video bitrate, for a 16 Kbps approximate total bitrate.  Alternatively, choosing Intranet, the RealMedia presentation 
    is recorded using a 16 Kbps Voice Wideband audio codec and a 84 
    Kbps video bitrate, for a 100 Kbps approximate total bitrate.  This is only suitable for presentations to be used from the hard disk or across a fast Local Area Network.) 
  • Next, specify the file name and location for the RealMedia file to be created.
  • Next, enter the Title, Author and Copyright information for the presentation.
  • After reviewing the details, press Next and the complete narrated PowerPoint 97 presentation will be converted to a compact RealMedia file.  This process will take a few minutes.
  • Once converted, you can choose Play to try out your presentation.  You will need the free RealPlayer installed.
 
Tools and Techniques 
 
Presented by the Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project team
Created: April 1999
Last updated: April 1999