How to create play list presentations now that HDD recorders are dead - serious question!


Novice Member
llo. As someone new here, I hope this finds itself in the correct area of the forum (none of the headings seemed to fit exactly what I want to ask but this seems to be the nearest)!

I've in the past compiled audio visual presentations on the hard drive of my (now deceased) HDD recorder for screening to friends as small scale social events. These presentations were quite long (up to 10 hours) and consisting of a continuous stream of video, audio / slide combinations etc. This was possible previously by means of inputting video, audio and jpg photo slides through the S-Video and phono inputs of the HDD recorder in real time recording (sending the source material first via a vision / sound mixer, to add audio and / or vision fades and simple processing etc. to the source material as it was recorded). Any permutation of the video, audio and photo slides could make up the final result, depending on what was combined with what. The several hour sequence was recorded to the hard drive in chunks, with the chunks then chained together as a play list on the hard drive, producing a continuous 10 or so hour compilation. The chunks were burned / stored on several DVD discs burnt from the HDD, available for re-loading if I wanted to re-screen the compilation again at any point.

As HDD recorders are no longer being made (and most recorders there are these days seemingly not having suitable separate audio / video inputs either), I'm wondering what equipment I now need to be able to put together these sort of sequences. I'm not really a technical expert at all and so any help and suggestions would be very much appreciated! I don't understand standalone hard drives, PVRs etc. (even if these were suitable for doing what I want them to anyway).

Thanks in advance!


Distinguished Member
Your method is quite old fashioned and similar to how programs were made in the 90s, with clips assembled in a linear format - albeit normally to tape.

PowerPoint might well work for you, but some video editing software will give you more control and would probably be faster in the end, as could export directly to DVD.

Using some video software, you could put together playlists - or timeline sequences as they are most commonly known, with stills, video and audio all assembled onto a time line, complete with any transitions, effects and titles you would want to add. You could then stitch these timelines together into longer sequences and then output to the PC's hard drive, DVD etc.

Have a look at Premiere Elements, Sony Vegas etc. These should give you the control you require and are quite easy to learn. To get your footage into the system in the first place, you will need a video capture card. These can be purchased from about £10 up to £350 or more. More expensive cards have more on-board processing, so rely less on the host PC and generally do a much better job. A fairly modern PC will be required as the centre of the new system, as high powered as you can afford, as the faster the machine, the faster you will be able to create your files.


Novice Member
Thanks very much for the detailed reply. I may well come back to you at some point for further info, if that's OK. Yep, my methods of doing things are quite old fashioned but (until I needed to change it) it worked well and so I stuck with it.

Two initial questions though. Firstly, can Powerpoint compile a very long presentation (say, 10 hours), to run as an automatic screening, comprising maybe a dozen or so slides (repeated at intervals) accompanied by music and / or speech, plus maybe a couple of hours of video footage (no repeated elements)? Secondly, can this presentation be fed directly to a TV set? The material will not be HD and a standard old fashioned 4:3 set from the '90s is what it will be displayed on.


Distinguished Member
Hi Tellyvision.
Not a problem with long presentations, and PowerPoint 2007 and newer can handle very large video files. However, you have to be careful with the video format and codec, as some files don't run that well. MP4 is fine for PowerPoint 2013, but does not play reliably on older versions. This may make putting the videos together a pain, as you may have to re-encode the files.

To output directly to an old TV, you would need a video converter. These are only £30 or so, and take the VGA - or HDMI output, and turn it into a format suitable for the older TVs. Ideally, this would be RGB via the Scart input, but could also be composite or S-Video.

There are other options designed for media playback as well. Have a look at Pro Presenter - designed for the church market. This will import videos, pictures, titles etc. and allow you to build playlists. I use a package called Video Mill, which again is a playlist based program. Neither of these allow you to edit, but do a good job of playing clips out.

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