Provides: Automates video production of PowerPoint/Keynote presentations
Developer: Singular Software
System Requirements: OS X 10.6, Intel processors only, Final Cut Pro 6.0.6 or 7.0.3, Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 or newer
Review Device: iMac 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 13” Macbook Pro
Price: $249.00 (30 day trial available)
Availability: Out now
Presto is one of those amazing bits of software that works like you imagined computers worked when you were a kid. You load stuff in, hit a button, and bing! You get the desired result. I’m exaggerating only slightly here; with only a few kinks, Presto takes movies of people giving PowerPoint/Keynote presentations and produces professional-looking composite footage that highlights both the speaker and the slides.
The software requires some prep on your part; you need two cameras (one to shoot the speaker, the other to shoot the presentation), which you then sync in FCP or Premiere Pro (they helpfully recommend using PluralEyes, Singular’s multicam syncing software, for the job). Step two is to open the FCP file (not a rendered movie, the .fcp file itself) in Presto, and convert your PowerPoint stack into a series of images. Once all the elements are in place, you hit a button and the software gets to work.
Presto matches the image files to the footage of the screen, then syncs that up with the presenter. So instead of a poorly lit projection on a screen with a tiny person next to it, you get a close up of the speaker with a vibrant, easily-readable image file next to him.
I put Presto through a rough test, giving it an hour-long video featuring four presenters who moved around onstage rather than standing behind a podium, and host who didn’t have slides between each of them. Much to my surprise, the software did an incredible job of tracking the presenters’ faces, placing them to the side of the slide, and timing when the slides changed. There were only one or two instances where it chose to insert a slide in the wrong place, and these were easily corrected in the Presto screen.
From here, you can send the file back to FCP to tweak it, add credits, or do whatever editing you wish. You can also output it directly from Presto, but I ran into sound sync issues when I used this. Back in FCP, Presto keeps the footage and slides on separate tracks, letting you tweak them to your hearts content.
Unlike Pluraleyes, which is dead useful for anyone who shoots multicamera footage, Presto fills a very specific niche for people shooting PowerPoint presentations not just as archival copies, but in a way that highlights both what the speaker is saying and the content they’re showing the audience. You could do it all by hand, of course, but the beauty of Presto is that it automates the process, and does it well. If your job requires a lot of this kind of work, do yourself a favor and download the 30 day free trial, because Presto only does one thing, but it does it very well.