Lights, camera, action
But does it have to be PowerPoint?
If you are only creating basic ‘bullet point’ style presentations then the most significant functional advantage that Opus Presenter has over PowerPoint is that you can create your presentation in number of different independent playback formats. These include a stand-alone application (i.e. an EXE file), a video or Flash (SWF) playback file and a standard consumer DVD disc. Each of these formats has different inherent capabilities which will effect the options that Opus presents to you when you create the presentation. This plethora of playback options allows you to produce a raft of different formats types that cover all bases when you get to the ‘stand-alone’ stage. The ability to stick the presentation on a pen drive as a fully stand-alone application should make an Opus presentation more portable - and you can always take a DVD version along as a backup.
The real power of Opus Presenter comes when you want to add interactivity, essentially taking your presentation to the next stage. By adding buttons, check boxes and giving interactive control of the show to the user you can turn the basic presentation into an automated ‘pitch’, using the rich media facilities for the additional content that you add when giving the presentation personally. And you can even go further than this by using the Pro version’s scripting features. The underlying programming methodology is object orientated with scripted actions associated with each object. These can be kicked off either by user interaction or timers. You can both access and amend the automatically generated scripts as well create your own in the C++ like scripting language (OpusScript) using either the built-in editor or your external editor of choice. While you probably wouldn’t want to do this straight off, it does give a route to customising or expanding the functionality of anything you create using the package.
If you take the original preparation of the presentation as just the first stage in a longer development cycle, one in which you incrementally add sophistication to your project as required, then building on your previous efforts using Opus Presenter looks very much like an alternative to PowerPoint that is suitable for grown-ups. Also, as Presenter is part of a larger family of multimedia development products you can see it as part of an open ended development system allowing you to recycle code and functionality rather than have to constantly re-invent the wheel.