Downloading and Working with Digital Media
Our PowerPoint presentations, images and video reports are a great way to inform people about the work that ADRA is doing around the world. These resources are great for teachers, pastors, ADRA Ambassadors, Pathfinder leaders, and laypersons alike. If you are new to showing media from your computer don’t worry, we will get you up to speed on that.
First, let’s take care of a few frequently asked questions.
Why not just send the videos out on DVD?
DVDs are fast becoming a technology of the past. DVDs are in the standard definition video format and don’t look the best when played on today’s monitors. You may have noticed that many computers sold today do not even come with optical disc players! Older DVD players may not even connect to monitors sold today. DVD’s cost a lot to produce, package and mail out. We have also noticed that a large percentage of the DVDs that we mail out does not make it to the right person and tend to “get lost”. By providing our video library in a digital format, that can be easily downloaded at any time, we are able to provide high-quality HD videos and PowerPoint presentations, “on demand”.
I don’t have a high-speed internet connection.
Video files by nature are quite large and you will need a high-speed internet connection to download them properly. If you do not have a high-speed connection at your home, we recommend contacting someone in your church that has a fast connection to the internet to help you with the download. If there is no one in your church that has fast internet please contact us with a list of the videos you would like to use in your presentations and we will mail those to you on a thumb drive.
Which is the right file for me to download?
You will notice that we are providing three different versions of every video: an HD version, an SD version and a PowerPoint version. Which one you choose should be determined by what device you plan to use to play the video. For all videos uploaded after May 2018, the three file versions will be a High Definition MP4 version and two PowerPoint versions where the video has been embedded into the PowerPoints. One will be for projectors that only display in the 4×3 aspect ratio and the other is for projectors that display in the 16×9 aspect ratio.
Choose the high definition (HD) version, if you are planning to just have a small group gather around and watch the video on your own computer or tablet. You would also want to choose the HD version if you are planning to transfer the file to a thumb drive and play it on an HD TV Monitor. (Most new TV Monitors have a USB input that allows you to plug in a thumb drive and play a video right from the thumb drive.) The third most common use for using the HD version would be to connect your computer to a video projector and project to a large screen. If this is your intended use, the one thing to be sure of before the day of your presentation is that your projector is capable of projecting in high definition. Some of the older projectors are only able to show standard definition. In that case, you will want to download either the SD version or one of the PowerPoint versions. This HD version is in the MP4 file format and will play from PC’s as well as MACs, whereas the Macs may not be able to read the videos that are embedded in the PowerPoints.
Standard Definition Letterboxed
If your school projector is an older model there is a good chance that it is only capable of playing standard definition video. In that case, you will want to download this version of the video. We have taken our HD videos and down-converted them into a standard definition video program. As all of our videos have been shot and edited in the widescreen 16×9 aspect ratio, we have embedded this format into the more common 3×4 aspect ratio of SD video in what is called the “Letterboxed” format. What this means is that in a dark room, the video will look properly formatted in widescreen, even though your projector may not be capable of projecting in 16×9.
Here is a good option if your projector is only able to show the standard definition 3×4 aspect ratio. We have embedded a high-quality Windows Media Player file inside a small two page PowerPoint presentation.
The first page can be showing on the screen while you introduce the video and then the second page will show the video. The one thing that you should be sure of before choosing this method is that you have PowerPoint installed on the computer you will be using on your presentation day. You may also want to run a test to make sure all of your equipment connects and works together correctly. Some newer laptops may only have an HDMI output to send video and audio. The older projectors will not have HDMI in and you will need to pick up an adapter. Audio may be another concern. The HDMI cable will carry the audio signal, but this may not be set up to pass through to your PA system. A stereo mini-plug out of your laptop to your PA mixer may be the best solution. We recommend having your church set up a permanent AV solution with a small computer and new HD projector so that you will be able to show all the new video and PowerPoint presentations that come to your church in High Definition. The first time you run a video in a PowerPoint Presentation can be a little confusing so we recommend doing a practice run. In some PowerPoint presentations, the video will run automatically when you advance to the page that contains the video. Other presentations will show a black screen until someone clicks inside the black frame. Simply advancing the PowerPoint with the arrow button on the keyboard or remote control WILL NOT start the video. It will only take you to the next slide. Be sure to do a test run to get this right!
Here is a screenshot from our video download center at Jumpshare. The page that you are taken to should look something like this and you will be given three options to choose from.
Avoid clicking on the “Download All” button. There is no need to download all three versions of the video. Pick the one that works the best for you. The file name that has the “SD” in it is the Standard Definition video. The file that has the “HD” in it is the High Definition video. The file that has the “PP” in the file name is the PowerPoint version. Double click on the thumbnail of the file that you want and you will be taken to a second screen where you can download just that file. Just click the blue download button in the top right corner.
Is it possible to preview the video before I download it?
Yes. You may preview all of our downloadable videos. Click here for a complete listing of our videos or pick from the carousel below. From here you will be taken to a page with a brief description of the video and the opportunity to preview it. Underneath each video will be an internet link that will take you to a page where you can choose one of the three available versions of the video to download. You will probably notice that it is also possible to preview the video right from our download page. However, you should know that our file storage service, Jumpshare, is not optimized for video streaming and may not play the videos as well as from our website which uses YouTube, a video service designed for high traffic and multiple streaming rates.
Use thumb drives for storage and transport only.
If you are using a thumb drive to transport the video files from home to your church or school computer, you may get better results if you copy the video from the thumb drive to the hard drive of the computer you are planning to use to play the video from. You may be able to get away with playing directly from the thumb drive, but not all thumb drives are created equal and results may vary. You may find that some thumb drives are slow and will cause your video to stop and stutter. The exception to this would be when you are using a thumb drive to play directly to a TV monitor that has a USB input. You will want to test your thumb drive on the monitor before presenting to your group to make sure that it plays smoothly.
Test your system!
The first time that you try and use our digital video files on your equipment, it would be a good idea to test everything out the day before the presentation. Some computers may not play the files without also downloading and installing additional software like Quicktime, Windows Media Player or PowerPoint. You will also want to make sure that the computer that you are planning to use has the right connection capability for the projector you are planning to use. Some new computers only have an HDMI output and you will need to get an adapter to be able to connect it to the older video projectors. If playing directly from a thumb drive, make sure you know how to select the right input source and video file, using the remote control for your monitor.
We thank you for taking the effort to make the transition to “digital video file delivery”. We understand that it may be a little confusing the first time you try it, but it, in the end, this new system will allow you access to our extensive video library in today’s HD format at just the right time that you may need it!
Thanks for your continued support of the work of ADRA!