In my previous blog post, I wrote of presenting to an Aviation-based convention, APEX, held in Seattle the second week of September, 2011. This was an important time for aviation and travel, given it coincided with 10th anniverary of the events of 9/11, and their aftermath, which continue to impact on travel.
This is especially so in the USA, where commercial aviation remains vigilant about repeat events, while trying to make travelling by airliner as comfortable and pleasant as possible, in the current circumstances. It’s not an easy ask, but technology appears to be coming to the rescue, up to a point, by its introduction to the cabin environment of everyday technologies, such as wifi, iPads and other sources of entertainment to while away the hours. It’s as if a return to the fun days of commercial aviation is possible, before the introduction of budget airlines and tight security.
I had such issues in mind when I constructed my presentation on fear of flying for aviation personnel for the APEX conference , which I delivered at the convention, September 12.
As my previous blog entry describes, I was the first of three to speak in the late afternoon session, which allowed me to set up my equipment during the coffee break.
This included setting my iPhone 4 on a nearby table so as to video record my presentation for later editing.
That’s now complete, and the result is on my page on YouTube.
Now I get many notes in the evaluations of my Presentation Magic workshops, or indeed any presentation I do using my presentation magic “style”asking how and why I did what I did.
So, I decided I would do a Director’s Cut version of my APEX presentation here on this blog. Those in the aviation industry who watch the video will likely not be interested in the same things as presenters wishing to learn more of my presentation concepts, so it’s here in this blog where I’ll ask you to follow along.
You can do this in one of two ways:
1. Just watch the video through from beginning to end (it’s roughly 38 mins) and let it wash over you as if you are a member of the intended audience.
2. Or, you can open it in a separate window and keep this page open as I take you through each element on a timed basis, using the time elapsed in the YouTube video as the key.
3. Or you could do 1, then 2, and see the video twice. Hence, the reason for calling it the Director’s Cut, as is done with DVDs with its extra tracks.
How was the video constructed
One of the missing elements in the current edition of Keynote 09 is a timeline, an easy way to edit resultant videos so as to play as a standalone video or on a service like YouTube. When it exports it as a video, Keynote either allows the viewer to manually advance each element of the video, or it allows for a fixed timing for each build and slide. This has its uses but not with the video I wish to show you.
For this, I had to step away from Keynote and use an editing software. I could have used iMovie or Final Cut, but instead I chose software which I find more intuitive and that’s ScreenFlow 3 from Telestream, the same people who provide Flip4Mac to allow viewing of .wmv movies on Macs seamlessly.
Intended initially to help software developers make videos of to show users how to best employ their apps by showing the workflow on the screen, I find it has applications to help make up for Keynote’s shortcomings.
To record my presentation, I simply placed the iPhone on its edge, having made sure the camera captured the physical area in which I would be presenting. I switched it on as the session started, then moved into frame for the introductions.
At the conclusion of my presentation, I synched the iPhone with my Macbook Pro, at which time the 3GB or so video was imported into iPhoto.
From there it could be dragged into the ScreenFlow 3 timeline, where the audio and video tracks were separated. I needed to do this because my Keynote file also contained movies with sound which needed to be mixed with the live sound so as to capture the audience reaction to what I was showing.
My intention was to cut back and forth between the live presentation featuring me centre stage with the projected images behind me (see below), and the movie of my Keynote file, once it was exported in Quicktime format.
All things considered, the Quicktime output does a good job of preserving the embedded video files and maintains the sharpness of the fonts, pictures and build styles and transitions, as long as you don’t overuse compression protocols. I actually allowed the Quicktime movie to be in DV-PAL format despite the resultant size, which was then imported into ScreenFlow 3. The resultant file was more than 4GB.
I could have extracted the audio and video from this Quicktime file, which woud have left two audio and and two video files. This is not the sort of production I do everyday and I wanted it up on YouTube quickly, so I left the Keynote video intact, with both audio and video. In future efforts, I may change the workflow and separate the tracks, but the issue of keeping all the material synchronised is a serious challenge.
The decision one needs to make in producing this kind of video is when to cut away from the live presentation to the Keynote presentation and when to cut back. It needs to be done smoothly with consideration given to any transition styles, just as one would with Keynote or Powerpoint.
Up to a point, the decision is made for you. At the beginning, you have your opening slide where you’re being introduced, then cut to you making your opening statements with the same opening slide behind you, then cut to the slideshow again once the first slide makes its appearance.
It’s actually not quite as easy as it sounds as I wanted to use some of ScreenFlow’s built in transitions to make the appearance a little easier on the eye, rather than just cut back and forth. This means careful timing so as not to cause a disjuncture or rupture of the sequence, nor loss of information on the Keynote builds I used.
Let’s just say that it required quite a few “undo-redo” commands before I was happy with the outcome. This wasn’t easy, since the more small Quicktime movie files built up (rather than two long videos), the more ScreenFlow began to act flakily, crashing frequently, something I am still working with its helpdesk team to resolve. In essence I had scores of small Quicktime movies from both the Keynote video and the iPhone video littering the timeline, and it’s likely these choked ScreenFlow. Trouble was, rather than falling over early in the export of what I thought was the finished product, it fell over right at the end, often after a half hour of processing, only to have me start again. Very frustrating.
In the end, I firstly exported the Screenflow audio track only, then the video only using Voila’s Screencasting ability. The irony here is I had to use a screenmovie (Voila) of a screenmovie (ScreenFlow 3) to achieve the final product! I then used Quicktime Pro to bring video and audio together in synchrony.
So, let’s go to the YouTube video now, and I’ll walk you through a timeline of what, how and why I did what I did, including errors which I would correct if I gave the presentation again. This way we all learn.
00.00: This is the slide I created by using the brand slide I was asked to use throughout my presentation by APEX management. I used it only once, because it made no sense to use it elsewhere. I saw some other presenters staying with it, but then others merely used their own presentation stacks which they had clearly used for other conferences or sales meetings.
While I’m being introduced by a member of the APEX Education Committee, I’m actually fiddling around with the Macbook Pro on the ground, tweaking a few things. I left this out of the video 😉
00:27 I use one of ScreenFlow’s transitions to open the live video coverage. I had positioned my iPhone so as to capture a fairly wide shot yet with me in the centre, with the screen behind my left shoulder. I actually placed some marks on the floor so as to remember where I ought to stand most of the time, especially when I played videos and needed to be out of shot temporarily.
If you look at the first time I’m shown, you’ll see my Macbook Pro on the ground infront of me (it has an Incipio black cover so as to not draw attention to the Apple logo. If people think I’m using Powerpoint to achieve my effects because it looks like I’m using a Lenovo or Dell laptop, all the better!).
Also, you’ll notice my iPad sitting in landscape mode in an iKlip holder attached to a music stand. This is my vanity monitor setup, with Doceri software allowing me to see what’s on the screen behind me, and to go into presentation mode at the tap of a button on the iPad screen. In my right hand, is my Kensington remote for controlling the Keynote show.
00:46 At this point, having read the bio I had supplied her, the session moderator asks this aviation audience if anyone has a fear of flying. To her and my surprise, quite a few hands go up, and I’m already thinking ahead about my content and if it will need any alterations on the fly given the audience composition.
I thank the host, and launch into one of three different introductions I had rehearsed, depending on the size and composition of the audience, as well as the tone set by the moderator. I rehearsed these out aloud in my hotel room to hear what sounds good, and to make sure the words come out clearly, given the audience might be surprised at my Australian accent. This is especially the case as the audience was a very mixed one culturally, a point I’ll come back to later on when I discuss a potential faux pas I made.
Notice how the brightness of the screen behind me washes out much of the slide due to the iPhone 4’s mediocre camera quality, hopefully improved in the iPhone4s, just released. This is why it was necessary to edit in the actual slides from Keynote.
01:12 An unrehearsed element here, where I acknowledge the number in the audience who have identified as having a fear of flying. It’s possible I might call on them later in the session to discuss some of my ideas in a workshop style, but frankly time is so tight (I have 30 minutes allotted to me) it’s unlikely.
01:17 At this point I launch into my prepared and rehearsed presentation with accompanying slides. Because fear of flying is an almost undiscussable in the aviation community, especially this one which is about the positive passenger experience, I knew I had to make the subject palatable rather than scholarly. An academic presentation would be for a different audience. This audience needed to be convinced it was a worthwhile topic, and that if they understood it, there could be financial gain for them.
So I started off by taking a one-down position, making fun of myself for having chosen potentially the wrong profession to be in, by focussing on two times in history when fear of flying was not at all unusual, and thus not requiring the services of a clinical psychologist.
As you’ll hear, the first was during the barnstorming days in early aviation when it really wasn’t that safe to fly.
01:37 I needed to get this group onside very quickly given their expected defensiveness, and so early on I introduced a visual joke, using aviation terminology to catch the audience off guard: “If you were offered a seat on the wing, they really meant it!”
This generated a little laughter, as if the audience wasn’t sure if they were meant to laugh at such a serious, academic and potentially dry subject, but as they got into the talk, you can hear how they loosened up, hopefully with me giving them permission to have a chuckle. This is part of the engagement process, keeping your audience expecting more fun or surprises ahead.
01:49 Note how the picture of the wingwalker is framed like an old photo album, using one of Keynote’s border features including album corners. You’ll see the picture dissolve into full colour, because it’s actually a very modern photo. I had tried to find an original photo from the barnstorming days, but failing that I located a modern one, and using an effect from software called FX Photostudio Pro (which came with one of the recent Mac software bundles), I used a supplied filter to give it an aged look.
The use of a fullscreen, high-res photo which then dissolves into a full colour image gives the audience an immediate sense that this is not your usual Powerpoint. It keeps me central as the main generator of words and ideas, and informs the audience from the get-go that this will be a highly visual presentation, accompanied by my commentary.
I do this in almost all the presentations I give no matter what the subject. Those opening moments are crucial in setting the mood and expectations for what is to follow in the next 30 minutes.
02:00 At this point, I head into some rehearsed storytelling, attempting to establish the long history of treating fear of flying, starting with the first flight attendants, who were in fact, nurses. This likely comes as a surprise to many in the audience, and I personalise the story by focussing on a groups of flight attendants (FA), and at…
02:07… I single out Ellen Church as the first FA and tell a little of her story. Note please how I do NOT use a laser pointer to locate her on the slide. I dissolve to a second slide – a duplicate of the first – but where the second slide is altered in both sharpness and contrast, leaving a cut out of the subject in high contrast so the eye is drawn there. I also use a shadow effect to outline her with a glow so as to be absolutely sure where your attention goes. I believe it’s important early in a presentation to have these effects to train your audience to expect their attention to be directed by the story you are telling.
How I actually created this effect in Keynote is interesting. I used Keynote’s “Mask with shape” feature to create the cutout of the subject from the first slide which was then pasted into the second slide, and the two slides are then dissolved. To the audience it appears as if the subject has materialised from the slide, which is the intended effect, and they are oblivious to the fact two slides were used. This is not easy to achieve in Powerpoint, because its “dissolve” transitions do not come close to Keynote’s underutilised and underestimated “dissolve”.
02:30 I continue to establish the story of FAs and their initial employment to help nervous flyers, thus establishing that fear of flying is as old as flying itself, and thus there is a body of knowledge about the subject. However, I still need to make the connection to current understandings of fear of flying, and why it is still a relevant subject in 2011, despite the vast improvements in aviation safety and comfort.
03:10 The slide has been on the screen for long enough, so it’s time to give the audience more things to please the eye and ear, yet remain true to the story I’m telling. At this point, I introduce the audience to a new ABC TV show which is due to start in two weeks from my presentation (September 25) called, PAN AM, based on the defunct airline during its halcyon days in the 1960s, when commercial aviation was still glamorous and exotic.
With the video I am hoping to hit the audience with some emotion – nostalgia for the “good ol’ days” – and at the same time, demonstrate Keynote’s seamless segue to video, something those using older versions of Powerpoint struggle with. Note at…
03:13… my choice of transition, the droplet, to convey a change in time, much like you see in movie dream sequences, or when directors wish to convey a memory or scene change an actor is experiencing. What you see and hear is the video of the exported Quicktime of my Keynote file, with no resolution loss at all.
03:37 The edit here is a bit too sudden, when the actress says, “You’re famous now”, and if I were to re-edit the movie, I would soften the transition.
04:04 I am back centre stage to bring my first point home: the notion of there being a time when it was normal to have a fear of flying, because indeed it was a risky time to fly, and not at all irrational, thus not requiring the services of a clinical psychologist.
At this point, I remind the audience I earlier mentioned there being two times when it was normal to be fearful of flying, and now I’m about to introduce the second and more contemporary time, which has direct relevance to the date on which I’m presenting.
04:09 I wanted to talk about the second time being post 9/11, and how companies refused to let their senior staff fly rather than drive to business appointment if they were less than 500 miles away. I needed to find a visual to represent 9/11, and did not want to show the audience of aviation personnel images of crashing planes. For all I know, they may have known victims on board the aircraft involved, and I needed to be respectful of this. The image I used contained elements of patriotism for whom I assumed would be a mainly American audience, as well as showing the WTC towers intact. As it turned out the audience was very mixed in terms of nationalities, and the patriotic image was likely unnecessary.
04:20 I surprise the audience with stories that the fear of flying business suffered after 9/11 because no one thought it strange to not want to fly in the months after.
04:27 I bring in these New Yorker magazine covers (September 24th edition) to break the previous image being on the screen too long. I created these two magazines from a single cover from a gathering of some of the best magazine covers ever which I have stored in iPhoto. I used BoxShot3D to create them, and I used the same software for some of the book images I produce later in the presentation. (I probably bring the New Yorker image in to the YouTube presentation a little too early as it seems to just hang there until I make direct reference to it at 04:45)
04:52 Having said the New Yorker cover captures the feelings of New Yorkers, I attempt to justify this assertion by telling of my time in NYC just a few days before 9/11, then tie it in to another aviation event, the collapse of Australian airline, Ansett, to whom I consulted on fear of flying. You’ll thus note that while some of the story elements seem disconnected at first, I try and pull them together with connecting elements, like my own story and memories.
05:22 After telling a personal and unrehearsed story, I return to the main story which is to show at this point that the unnecessary fears over flying post 9/11 had real consequences, and indeed tap into current fears which see people preferring to drive rather than fly despite the available safety statistics. Many people hear these statistics frequently and ignore them, but I chose a particularly interesting study (2009) which shows how driving fatalities increased significantly in the months after 9/11, ostensibly because people drove when they previously would have flown.
05:31 Notice how I display the actual article itself, located from the web, and brought in as a screenshot. I duplicated it twice more, and sent each duplicate behind the other with a shadow outline to convey it was a multipage article and lift it off the screen a little.
While the body of the article contains almost unreadable text, the article title is very clear and legible.
05:33 I needed to make my point very quickly and directly, so lifted out the main talking point using a screen shot to create a “call out” using a scaling build in Keynote. Notice how I once more fade the actual article so as to direct attention to the main point. This too was done using two duplicate slides, with the build-in set to appear automatically after the transition.
Notice too how the enlarged quote ends on the third line with the word “about”.
In fact, the line continues but I wanted the words that appear there to have greater impact. So I took another screenshot of them, and covered them in the original call out with a white shape, then built in the second call out at…
05:51 …to make my main point, that driving is still a more dangerous proposition than flying, and here’s the evidence. The other thing to note is that the only time I ever read a slide to an audience is if
1. I am reading a direct quote from pictured source,
2. The presentation is being recorded and it’s possible the viewing audience will see the slide on a poor resolution monitor so it helps to read it,
3. The auditorium is very big, and those at the back will be challenged to see even large font words.
06:15 I now return with the audience to a current understanding of fear of flying and why those in the aviation industry need to understand it more. I do it by reviewing a seminal 1982 research paper (displayed) produced for the Boeing Corporation, a major presence at APEX whose executives had presented in the morning educational sessions, along with rival Airbus.
Once more, I don’t just cite it, but show it, something which required some effort to track down, having long ago lost my original signed copy given to me by one of those mentioned in the article, Dr. Al Forgione of Boston, one of the first to run fear of flying group programs in the USA.
06:37 If my memory serves me correctly, it was Al Forgione who suggested the then CEO of Boeing, Bill Allen (not Paul Allen whom I mistakenly named in the video) wanted to know more about the subject for personal reasons, not just commercial ones.
06:53 “The most telling part of the report”. At this point, I have once more duplicated the slide, enlarged and relocated the image, and used Keynote’s Magic Move transition to give a Ken Burns’-like movement to the slide. One could do this with a move and scale build on the o Continue reading