What is TV overscan?
Wikipedia defines it as:

Extra image area around the four edges of a video image that may not be seen reliably by the viewer. It exists because television sets in the 1930s through 1970s were highly variable in how the video image was framed within the cathode ray tube (CRT)

With the advent of digital television and new viewing technolgies such as Plasma, LCD and LED, understanding how TVs overscan your DVD is not as important as it once was.  These TVs use newer connectors and often have 0% overscan—showing the complete image.  But how many millions of older TVs still overscan the image?  Your guess is as good as mine, but even some of the best HDTVs of today may still overscan a video image by as much as 20%.

That begs the question: What happens to text or images that are around the outside edge of a slide when you convert PowerPoint to DVD?  In many cases, when watching on a TV, you will not see this part of the video.

Here is an example of a PowerPoint slide that contains some text completely outside of the 20% boundary indicated by the second set of dotted lines (the interior set of lines).  In video circles, this is called the “Title Safe Area”.
PowerPoint to DVD demo slide showing text problems.

As you can see above, “Tips and tools for creating…” is completely outside the 20% boundary and in danger of being cut off by a huge number of televisions.  The last two letters in the larger text above it, “Widescreen Presentation” will also be left unseen by anyone who has a TV that overscans by 20% or more.

How to defeat video overscan issues when converting your slides.
When creating your PowerPoint presentation, make sure to keep any text away from this 20% boundary.  Graphic elements and some images may be acceptable along the edges, but text is NOT.  You don’t want to leave your audience guessing about what you are trying to say, do you?

Here is an example of a slide that has all text positioned correctly inside the title safe area.PowerPoint DVD image that shows a correctly made slide.

As you can see, not only is the text inside the usable area, relevant images are as well.  If there was a caption beneath the graphs at the bottom, we’d want to move the graphs even further inside the safe area to avoid losing the text below the image.

What if your 300-slide PowerPoint show is already completed—incorrectly?
Our PowerPoint-to-DVD service is able to “fix” this problem for you.  During the video editing process, we can shrink your slides slightly and create a new background to fill the newly created space around the edges of your slides.  In most cases, it will look exactly as you intended.  In fact, the second image above was created from a slide that was originally built incorrectly—containing some of the text outside of the 20% safe area.

We will discuss other PowerPoint-to-DVD tips in subsequent articles.  In the meantime, if you have the need for any of our services, please contact us here.