Recommendations for Outside Speakers
Computer Presentations PART A – Bringing your own laptop
Bates College does allow visitors to campus to use their own laptops for presentations. We recommend you read this guide and are very comfortable with using your own computer. Our technical staff can not be responsible for problems with your presentation when you bring your own laptop. If you are bringing your laptop, here are a few things for you to keep in mind.
What type of video does your computer output, DVI or VGA? A DVI connection is found on some newer machines, but the predominant connection is still VGA. Bates College only uses VGA connections. If you have a DVI output, you will need to provide a DVI-VGA converter.
You will also need to understand how to be able to output video from your computer. Most PC’s have a key combination that tells the computer to output the video. Typically, these keys include the Fn button along with an F key. For example, on a Dell laptop, you press Fn-F8 to output to a projector. It is your responsibility to know how to do this on your computer.
Some computers use proprietary outputs. For example, MacBook computers use either a min-VGA or a mini-DVI cable to output the video. You need to know if your computer uses one of these cables. If so, it is your responsibility to bring one along with you. We will not provide you with the cable you need.
Matching the computer output to the resolution of the display is an important factor in getting the display correctly presented on the screen. Check your computer’s user manual for the correct way to do this for your particular computing equipment. Bates uses the the XGA standard, which is 1024×768. Many laptops however use a much higher resolution. It is good planning for you to make sure you know how to set your computer to XGA resolution.
Finally, you want to make sure you turn off any energy settings or screen saver settings for your computer. Many laptop computers are set to turn off the screen after a short period of time, even when plugged in. You do not want this happening during your presentation. You may also want to review your desktop picture. Is it something you want the entire audience to view?
PART B – Using an installed computer
If you have decided to use a computer provided by Bates, we have taken care of the items discussed in the previous section. However, you still have some work to do. First, you will need to communicate with us to confirm we have the same software that you plan to use for your presentation. For example, if you created a presentation in Keynote, you will not be able to open the file at Bates, as we only use PowerPoint.
Be sure to take a “hard copy” of your presentations, namely on a CD or thumbdrive. Include on your CD:
- All of your presentations
- Associated files to your presentation, such as:
- Video files
- Audio files
- Data files
- Photos used, that may be linked to your presentations.
- Other files, maybe HTML or website references.
Test your presentations, independent of your network, on a standalone computer using only your primary memory storage and your CD backup to make sure that all of your content is available to your presentation. Check that the videos play, the audio works and the links to HTML document can be found by your presentation software. Often when creating a presentation on a computer that is connected to a LAN, the presentation software will “link” to the original file stored somewhere on the network. This link may need to be redirected to your local storage item. When you name your presentation file, we suggest you include your last name in the filename, and a unique title pertaining to your talk. It is not unusual for an event to have multiple presenters who all name their talk so similarly that when they are transferred to a common computer one can not distinguish one presentation from another. By using your last name and a specific title, the presentations may be easily arranged in sequence for the event.
- VHS. Although VHS has been supplanted in the past few years by DVD, there is still a wealth of educational programming available on VHS tape. VHS also has the benefit of being fairly easy to create, record, and duplicate. Compared to DVD, VHS does not have very good picture quality. When blown up on a very large screen, the image will appear to be fairly grainy and low quality. One advantage of VHS over DVD is the VHS tape can be cued to a particular spot before the presentation, and can be inserted into the VHS player and played immediately from that spot.
- DVD. DVD discs can be of two different varieties; DVD-ROM and DVD Video. DVD-ROM discs work the same as CD-ROM discs and are intended to hold computer files. They are not for use in regular DVD players. DVD Video Discs are the current standard for commercial distribution of pre-recorded video material. They have also recently become more popular for home recording, as computers with DVD-R drives, set top DVD recorders, and Mini DVD Camcorders have become more affordable. Standard DVD discs provide very good quality video that should look good even on fairly large screens. Because the discs are random access, you can jump to any pre-defined chapter instantaneously on the discs, much like skipping between songs on a CD. It is important to remember that different areas of the world encode their DVDs in a different format. With very few exceptions, our DVD playback equipment on campus will only work with Region 1 or Region 0 (aka “Region-Free”) discs encoded in NTSC format. Discs from other countries that use a different region, or that use the PAL or SECAM format are generally not supported and if one of these discs are required for your presentation, you may need to make prior arrangements to test compatibility or to locate a different copy of the video. If your DVD is not a commercially prepared DVD, keep the following tips in mind:
- If you are making the disc in a set top DVD recorder or DVD/VHS recorder, make sure the disc is finalized in the recorder. This has to be done in the unit that made the recording.
- If you recorded something on a DVD Camcorder, that disc must be finalized as well.
- There are many different “flavors” of recordable DVD’s: DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, and DVD-RAM. Although newer players are capable of handling all of the formats, to ensure the widest compatibility, we recommend recording your disc in the DVD-R format if at all possible.
Audio Reinforcement is the system that will help you be heard throughout the presentation space. As a presenter you should be clear with whether you feel you need to be reinforced. If the audience is struggling to hear you while you present, the effectiveness of your presentation is greatly diminished. Microphones types are detailed below.
- Lectern- Typically a Gooseneck Microphone. These types of microphones do not handle well (noisy when moved) so set up the mic and leave it in position.
- Hand- held- Wireless are more convenient, but both wired and wireless handle well. This is a good microphone to use if you are moving around and don’t need to use your hands for other things.
- Lavaliere- Clips to your clothing so that your hands are free. This type of microphone takes some adjusting to get in the right location to pick up your voice. Also, it will pick up noise from clothing rubbing together or from jewelry that is hanging around your neck. This type of microphone has a transmitter (called a body pack) that is about the size of a deck of cards. If you are using this type of microphone you will need a place to attach the body pack to your clothing. This can be a belt or pocket, however a dress without pockets or a belt will have no place to attach the body pack.
What to do when you get here
Schedule a time to get orientated – this is the most important thing! You can even schedule this before you get to campus. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL 15 MINUTES BEFORE YOUR PRESENTATION! Learn how to use the system properly
- If the system is an installed fixed system, become familiar with how you select sources and control more constant features like lighting, volume and the screen.
- Fixed systems for the most part are controlled through an interactive touch panel.
- Whenever possible do a dry run, or at least a brief display test with your materials. Simple changes may need to be made, for example changing the display settings on your laptop so that they are compatible with the data-projector, if you plan on using a PC that is integrated into the AV system, be aware of what operating system it is, what version of windows it is running, and if the font that you are using is supported. Otherwise your materials may open, but have been reformatted.
- Call in advance with any questions, or to get contact information. Our staff is available until 6 PM and will be happy to answer any questions.