Learn From Lisa Blog

How to create full-screen video backgrounds in Prezi

This weekend I ran across Greg Meadows‘ post in the Prezi group on LinkedIn. He was talking about adding a video to the canvas and had given it a go. In his example, he imported a video into his Prezi as a media file, then placed items on top. This worked, but with two shortcomings:

1. The video didn’t autostart when the Prezi loaded.

2. It didn’t loop continuously; so the video had to be the length of the presentation. (This would be a large file!)

I quickly realized that this was totally possible (and here’s where my Flash video experience comes into play) — since you can embed SWF files into Prezi, you could sneak a video in via a SWF instead!

So I tried it. Here’s my sample — it’s saved as a Reusable Prezi so you can play around with it if you like.* 
*Just remember that I licensed the video for my own use, if you want to use it yourself for a public presentation, you’ll have to license the video from VideoBlocks

Here’s how it’s done. You’ll need Flash Professional to create the SWF.

1. Save your video as an FLV or F4V.

I downloaded a looping HD video from VideoBlocks (“Disney Video Screen Advertisement in Times Square”), and converted it from MP4 to FLV using Adobe Media Encoder CS6 (included with Flash Professional). I saved it at it’s full resolution (1920 x 1080) at 24 frames per second, with a datarate of 912 Kbps, using the VP6 codec.

2. Import into a Flash (FLA) file and embed onto the timeline (embedded video).

From the File menu, choose  –> Import –> Import Video…

Then choose to “Embed FLV in SWF and play in timeline.” (Note the warning in the dialog box — only recommended for short clips with no audio!) Click Next.

Then, choose Embedded video and check all options (Place instance on stage, Expand timeline if needed, and Include Audio (I keep this checked since my looping video does not have audio. I’ve found smoother playback if there is an audio track along with the video. If your video has distracting audio, you may want to consider removing it in your video editor and adding a silent audio track).

3. Export as a SWF. (File –>Export..)

4. Import your SWF into Prezi, and place your frames on top!

The video will start automatically when the prezi loads, and will loop continuously. You can then add your frames on top of the video.

This can be a very cool effect, if it fits your content. But keep in mind that it could be very distracting if the background is too busy. (You can be the judge of the video I used in the example). 🙂

Some other things to be aware of:

– I haven’t fully tested this on the iPad, so there may be some issues with playback.

– If you zoom in too close to the video, it may disappear when you zoom in to the final Prezi. This doesn’t seem to happen in the editor, only during presenting. If I made the frame slightly bigger, it solved the issue.

– As with any Flash SWF placed in Prezi, it can be hard to select it again once it’s placed. Even dragging a selection marque (CMD-SHIFT drag) I wasn’t able to select the video again. The only solution I could find was to start over with a new Prezi. So, that brings me to my final suggestion —-

BE SURE TO SAVE A COPY of your Prezi as you’re working, so you can jump back to a previous version if anything goes wonky!

Hope this helps you out, and you do something really awesome with it.

// Lisa

Posted in: Code Examples, Ideas, Prebuilt Players, Prezi, Training, Web Video News

Leave a Comment (3) ↓


  1. Florian Lapiz November 7, 2014

    Thanks a lot for the great tip. Unfortunately Prezi does not longer support animated swf Files. I hope there is coming soon a solution.

  2. Wes November 13, 2014

    Can;t get these to autoplay 🙁


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