What is Live Video in Keynote?

Apple’s Fall software updates are often dominated by updates for their mobile and desktop operating systems. However, this year, the often-overlooked iWork suite also got a significant update. Pages, Keynote, and Numbers are still used less than their illustrious counterparts from Microsoft and Google, but they continue to include unique features that make them a compelling alternative. Live Video in Keynote is one such feature. Here’s how it works.

What is Live Video?

Live Video is a new feature in Keynote that allows you to add a placeholder on a slide for a live video feed. On an iPhone or iPad, that live video feed uses either the front or rear camera. This is useful for adding a “talking head” to your presentation when you need it, or for showing something on a table like a book or an artifact.

On a Mac, you have more options. You can use the built-in webcam on your device, but you can also connect additional cameras like a USB webcam or a document camera to use as a part of a multicamera setup. You can even connect an iPhone or an iPad to your Mac and do a live screen share demonstration, all without leaving your onscreen presentation. Best of all, Live Video only appears on the slides that you want it to appear on.

How to Use Live Video on iPhone or iPad

  1. Open a Keynote presentation
  2. Tap the plus button (+) in the toolbar and then select Live Video
  3. Drag the video window to move it around the screen
  4. Resize the window by dragging on a corner with a blue dot
  5. Drag the green dot in the top left-hand corner to adjust the corner radius

Once you have things where you want them, tap the paintbrush (formatting tool) to make more adjustments. You can zoom in and out of your video with the Scale slider, and change the shape of your video window from the Mask options.

On the iPad, you can use the front or rear camera for Live Video.

If you would prefer to use the rear camera on your iPad, tap “Default Camera” and then tap the plus sign to add a new source. Name your source, “Rear Camera” and tap the icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the preview window to switch to the camera on that back of your device. If you want, you can add two sources at once so you can have the front and rear camera in your presentation.

How to Use Keynote’s Live Video on a Mac

  1. Open a Keynote presentation
  2. Click the Media button in the toolbar and then choose Live Video, or go to the Insert menu, and choose Live Video
  3. Click and drag the video window to move it around the screen
  4. Resize the video window by clicking and dragging on a corner with a white square
  5. Click the and drag the green dot to adjust your corner radius

Once you have things where you want them, select your video by clicking on it and make further adjustments in the right sidebar under the Live Video options. You can zoom in and out of your video with the Scale slider, and change the shape of your video window with the Mask options.

Make sure to connect your iOS device to your Mac with a cable for Live Video to work

When Would You Use Live Video?

As an instructional tool, I think that there are a lot of interesting options for using Live Video while presenting with Keynote. For instance, when you connect an iPad to a Mac, you have the convenience of being able to stay inside of Keynote while showing an app or a website. There is no mirroring or switching apps, it is all done from inside of Keynote.

You could also use your iPad as a document camera. Simply open the Camera app on your iPhone or iPad and position it above the book or document you want to show while presenting. If you prefer, you could use the IPEVO Whiteboard app to annotate on top of a live video feed, all from inside your presentation.

Keynote for Mac also lets you record your presentation. This means you can make a screencast of your presentation while zipping through your slides and jumping in and out of Live Video as needed. What’s more, your Live Video feeds are classed as objects on a slide, so you can use Magic Move and other animations to move your video around the screen as needed.

Of course, you can do similar things on an iPad. The front camera can show the speaker as they present their slide deck. This can be a great way for students to practice giving an oral presentation. They can also use the screen recording feature in iOS to record their presentation.

Using both the iPad cameras could be useful to show the teacher on the front camera and a science lab or perhaps the annotation of some text on the rear camera. You could even do an interview with one person on the front camera and one on the rear camera, (h/t to Mathew Pullen for that idea!). Paul Tullock also has a fun idea on how to present a Live Video with Memoji!

What Else is New in Keynote?

As it happens, Live Video is just one of a number of new features that have been added to Keynote this Fall. Also new is the ability to host multi-presenter slideshows. This lets you have multiple people controlling your slide deck. There is a new chart option, including audio graphs for those with vision impairments which plays a tone to represent the different data values on a chart. Instant translation is yet another new feature. It will let you translate selected text into one of 11 different languages.

I know that Keynote is not the go-to tool for a lot of people, but there is a lot to like about this software. If you haven’t played with it in a while, I would encourage you to dive in and take another look.

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