A presentation on Social Media in TV using Prezi

I was recently asked to give a talk on Social Media and how to use it in television by the recently launched The Talent Manager – it’s a great new company set up by TV training experts DV Talent that gives television freelancers a central database to store their CVs and update them regularly so that all their potential employers can see them. I’ve worked for a few TV companies recently (helping them with social media) and I used to work in television so this was a really interesting challenge.

I was on a panel with Peter Heneghan, Social Media Ambassador at Channel 4, and Olly Lambert the documentary film maker, so no pressure there then…. Peter Heneghan talked about using Twitter hashtags and the importance of choosing one carefully and publicising it wherever possible. Channel Four’s recent Dispatches on artificially high-priced tickets on ‘fan-only’ websites used the hashtag #TicketScandal and flashed it on the screen during the programme itself. It trended on Twitter and is still attracting new tweets. Olly Lambert talked about what it was like to direct a reality documentary series (The Family) when one of the family members was seen by viewers as ‘bullying’ another and became upset by the criticisms of her behaviour on Twitter. He also talked about his very funny, and popular, Edit Suite Stories Facebook group. The gist of his talk was that great content will always find its own audience, but he has also experimented with hashtags on Twitter and found them very useful as a way of encouraging debate.

As we were having a panel discussion with brief presentations I decided to try out a new tool, Prezi, to make my own presentation. It is cloud-based presenting and the site itself is very easy to use and find your way around. To create a new presentation, just click “New Prezi” on the site once you’ve registered and logged on. 
If you’re used to Powerpoint or similar tools, Prezi is a bit disorientating at first. You will see a blank page where you can add text boxes, links, images and Youtube clips using a strange blob-shaped controller at the top left of the screen. This is your Master document where all of your images, text and clips will be displayed at once.

Images can be any size, and you can zoom in and out when viewing them in the presentation. Rather than adding ‘slides’, you set a path on one main screen using the Path command which will put your images, text, Youtube clips etc in order. These will then display as ‘Slides’ at the bottom of your edit screen, so you can see whether the order is correct.

When you present, the viewer pans from one ‘slide’ to the next on the same screen: the best way to make use of this is to zoom. There are some great example Prezis on their site which will show you some dramatic ways to do this.

Prezi worked very well for my presentation and once I have mastered the best way to make use of its graphic qualities I would use it in preference to Powerpoint, I think. You can download it and store it on a memory stick which works on Macs and PCs, or access it on any computer connected to the Internet – hurrah for the cloud! If you have created a free Prezi account, be aware that you cannot make your Prezi private.

One other issue is that it’s not currently possible to create an audio track to play with the presentation (except by some fairly complicated workarounds) so you are out of luck if you want to make this a stand alone web presentation with an audio commentary.

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