Ah, if one day soon Apple’s Keynote could achieve these effects…

Every so often, I come across a marvellous brief movie that looks like it could have been produced using either Keynote or Powerpoint. When that happens, it reminds me of how these two popular software bundles are slowly moving closer and closer to professional production level competencies usually found in much more expensive and specialised video technologies and used in advertising or television studios, and high-end video production houses.

Below you’ll find an Australian-based Google video, released this past week, discussing YouTube’s penetration into the Aussie psyche. It’s a powerful short presentation (Do you like the Aussie accent? Reminds you of your Garmin GPS?) using many effects that make it look like it could be Powerpoint or Keynote, but if you know these softwares you’ll also see that only some of the effects are possible currently. But it certainly gives one hope that sooner or later, Keynote (I hope) will be able to achieve these effects, and very soon. (Perhaps most effects could be achieved now, but with huge effort).

If you think you recognise the software that Google used, please let me know in the comments section. Then I can communicate it more effectively to Apple’s Keynote team!

One more point: The comments make for interesting sceptical reading. Me, I’m far more interested in the movie conception and production qualities.

UPDATE: (September 22, 2009). A commenter writes the video has been taken down by the user. This WAS true. But a new version replaced it the next day, and can be seen below. I don’t know of the difference between the two – perhaps a statistical correction or removal of some copyrighted info.

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16 responses to “Ah, if one day soon Apple’s Keynote could achieve these effects…

  1. It looks like it was produced in Flash.

  2. A very nice piece of work AND very useful in marketing services produced with Keynote. Like you, almost every advertising clip that catches my eye always prompts the thought, “I’ll bet I could probably do that with Keynote.” The challenge is the keeping record of what is seen plus finding a time slot to test the possibilities. Every day I see 10-20 spots that beg, “Let’s try that!”
    I’d agree with Harvey it’s likely Flash, but I’m not skilled in Flash, knowing neither it’s possibilities nor it’s limitations.

  3. @Wayne – how you get better with Keynote or Powerpoint for that matter is seeing ads or presentation made using Flash (@Harvey) or other tools and trying to emulate them as far as you can with your preferred presentation tool. This is how I informed the Keynote team of my desires for the next version!

  4. Absolutely Les!
    I’ve told people these things for years. Anyone can draw when they learn how to ‘see’. Back in Art School, we studied each other & shared. Want to learn how to edit? Don’t just watch a TV show, study and question, “Why did they do it that way? Can I apply that to my work?” Rent a DVD?, always listen to the Directors comments if available.
    I’ll sure each of us with a passion for Keynote, observe the output of other apps, then see how far we can push ours.
    Again, thanks for all you do in communicating back to Apple.

    PS You’re up early.

  5. As a guy making his living making Keynote-created pitches to manufacturers, I will say ‘good catch, Len.” This is indeed a lucid, on-point graphical presentation — just the tiniest bit outside what is readily achievable in today’s Keynote. It’s a great piece of work.

  6. I am going to say Apple Motion instead of Flash. There are numerous “Apple” interface gems like the Safari browser, iCal calendar and the “reflective glass” look. A Mac user created this and the few Mac animators I know prefer Motion to Flash.

  7. I’m going to disagree. I wouldn’t describe that as a good presentation. It is very polished and smooth, but I don’t think it works to edify the viewer.

    Of course, that may have been the point. Perhaps Google simply wanted to impress the audience with a lot of fast figures without giving you time to absorb their import. In that case it probably served its purpose. There was plenty of eye candy and the hard numbers were soft pedaled, sometimes they were only spoken. The overall impression was that YouTube had many high percentages in its favor, whatever they were.

    For my audiences I would have done this quite differently. I possibly would have brought up each figure to the fore and talked about it then pushed it to the back and left it on screen as the next data point came to the front. Eventually there would be a row of figures standing in the background representing each topic. The background figures might be deemphasized compared to the foreground but they would all be very readable.

    The problem is that showing a set of numbers in sequence is a sure way to make them difficult to remember let alone compare to one another. People are good at comparing two things separated by space. We are not so good at comparing two things separated by time. By leaving all the numbers up at once the viewer could compare them at will.

    Try a simple experiment. Have someone read you a list of ten numbers and ask you whether the third was larger than the seventh. Now look at the list and try to answer the same question.

    For my own taste it had too much irrelevant motion and useless graphics. It kind of reminded me of a USA today chart brought to life. But I think I’m in the minority on this. Modern TV commercials seem to cut from scene to scene every few seconds. It is as if they are desperate to keep you watching. This just hurts my brain and makes me switch off the box.

    This is not to throw stones at this presentation entirely. As I said earlier, it may have been intended to come out just like this. My audiences are a small subset of the general public and the whole point of my presentations is the quantitative content so I use far less motion.

    I’ll second the idea that this was made with Flash. Probably some of the graphics were created elsewhere (Illustrator and PS) and imported to Flash.

    A side note. Flash is compiled to a small file size in order to travel easily over the web. Keynote is rendered on the fly during the presentation unless it is exported to QT. Perhaps some of that rapid, jiggly motion could have been accomplished in Keynote as long as the result was rendered to QT. I don’t know of any other way to force Keynote to render the presentation in advance. I would think that Keynote would have a problem smoothly animating a few dozen objects simultaneously.

  8. @John. Your comments are well spoken and supported. For myself, I was looking beyond the marketing hype for the effects themselves. Animating several objects on a KN slide worries the KN team from my time spent with them, and I got the feeling they won’t assist in the process in future updates. Unless it’s smooth, it’s not included. That’s not to say that future improvements aren’t going to happen but I don’t think this type of improvement is high one the priority list. These presentations come along and help us refine, confirm and perhaps extend our own abilities to offer persuasive presentations. I think there are few universals here. Although with 95% of the population presenting as they do, you’d think so!

  9. Hi John,

    I”ll follow in counterpoint to your assessment of the effectiveness of the presentation. My first comment went to the visual effect employed.

    I think there are different data presentation methods appropriate to different usages. And, part of reaching some degree of ‘professionalism’ in making presentations is to discern in advance and tailor your work to hit the right formula for your audience and application. My work is almost always aimed at making deal presentations to CEO-level viewers. The intent is to convey a sense of the goals, opportunities, and payoffs associated with my proposition, and to reach a point where there is enough positive receptiveness to the general concept to enter into more detailed discussions.

    In my usage it is actually better to leave ‘impressions’ of numbers rather than to linger over detailed comparative values, better to spray sound bites that lengthy discourse, and better to paint broad strokes rather than to attempt to etch narrow points into the minds of my viewers. I generally create a 7-minute fast-moving pitch designed to present the business proposition, and to then swirl through all of the wonderful, positive aspects that would derive from the viewer getting involved.

    I think what you say is dead-on regarding the presentation of detailed information. My need, though, is more infotainment — spraying and enthusiastically delivered message out with just the right cloud of loose data points to assert the vast benefits.

    So again, form my view (from my usage) I think this is a great presentation as it creates and presents very interesting, positive message and floats enough general bits of corroborating data to bolster its case along the way. It left me quite impressed with many aspects of Aussie YouTube with which I was previously unfamiliar. And, it was always quick enough to hold my interest.

  10. … and yes, I saw a half dozen killer effects I would love to be able to simply include in my own Keynote projects. :-)

  11. Thanks @Jack for the spirited offering that helps us understand that each presenter needs to consider their intended audience. Sometimes, you know who you’re targeting and how to best achieve bullseyes; other times, to continue the animal metaphor, it’s a pig in a poke. The Aussie Youtube under discussion perhaps had an intended audience in its creation, and is now sitting on YouTube itself as a proof of concept. I strongly suggest readers stay on YouTube and search for and his take on the GFC (constructed for his qualification in media studies). I’ll be using it in a Presentation Magic workshop shortly.

  12. “Impressions.” Good choice of words Jack. I’m saving that one!
    I’m reminded of an old line, “I waltzed her around before I discovered she didn’t even want to dance.”
    Brevity is best. If you MUST present numerous facts, do so. Just make it palatable for the viewer. What is remembered will be what is of value to them.
    It doesn’t matter that they remember everything, just those things they care about. Knowledge rarely moves us, emotion always does.

  13. After Thought
    This YT piece might even be possible using Kinemac.

  14. “This video has been removed by the user.” Too bad, never got to see it.

  15. @leavesamark: I have replaced the first video with another I found, date of upload is September 15 (original was September 14)

  16. Well spotted Les – really stunning techniques used in this piece. What was interesting to me was that on a first look-see, I tired of it after about two and a half minutes. Too many points, too overtly commercial to hold my attention. Contrast that with Xplane’s ‘Did You Know 4.0′ which is simply informative, although not quite as visually slick.

    On my second viewing, I was paying attention to the technology from a dissect-y, can-I-use-this perspective. Really, really nice. I hope the elves over at Keynote are paying close heed.

    Thanks for bringing this beauty to our attention Les.

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