Apreso for PowerPoint

Quick look

Video and audio tool for presentations

Price: $199

Phone: 703-948-3032

Online: www.apreso.com

Apreso for PowerPoint

Henrik G. de Gyor

Microsoft PowerPoint files are about as common at business presentations as tables and chairs. But no matter how glitzy you make your charts, they're still just colors and words on a screen until you add the most important part: yourself.

Apreso for PowerPoint, from Anystream Inc. of Sterling, Va., records images of the presenter and drops them into a side window within PowerPoint.

If you're giving a presentation to a group of people, some of whom can't make the meeting, you can let them view the presentation later. Instead of just looking at the slides, they can watch you, too: all your body language, plus any questions you answered during the original presentation.

If you don't need video, you can record an audio file to go along with the presentation, which has the advantage of making the completed file size smaller.

The GCN Lab tested Apreso with a standard Web camera from Logitech Inc. of Fremont, Calif., and standard computer microphones. Using just this entry-level equipment, we were able to build a really nice video to accompany our PowerPoint presentation. When one of the users at a conference asked a question, I could answer it and make that part of the file to go along with the slides.

Obviously, your mileage may vary. Better equipment will produce better audio and video quality, but you can make a professional presentation with a very basic setup.

Sharing Apreso presentations is easy. You can save them in a variety of formats so users don't need the Apreso software to view later. You are limited only by the file size, but most PowerPoint presentations with video can fit on a CD-ROM. We recorded for about 20 minutes and did not fill up even a fourth of one disk.

The software comes with a component called Apreso Online, which lets you share your presentations online. Although the service is free at the time of this review, the company might begin to charge for providing it in the future, according to the Web site.

Adding the human touch to PowerPoint is a good thing. It ensures that you are sharing not just dry slides but dynamic presentations.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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