Director can handle a variety of different audio requirements and needs in your projects, so let me devote this section of the tutorial into going into more detail about how to work with audio in Director 11. Director can handle audio as either internal or linked assets. You can determine whether a sound is internal or linked when you import it. Each type of sound has advantages for different situations. Standard Import is the default. Notice that if I choose file, import, that brings up the Import Files dialog. Let me browse to the location of my audio files. This pit AIFF. And you'll notice that down here the base of the dialog is a Standard Import, which is the default. This makes all the selected sounds internal sound cast members. There's an advantage in that in that you don't have to keep track of this sound file. Let's click on the add file, add button there and now let's, that moves it down here into the list, the import list. Standard Import will allow me again to incorporate this audio file into my actual Director file so I no longer need to keep track of it. The other option, link to external file, makes all the selected sound files linked. In other words, they're not part of the Director file. They're linked when they're needed. The advantage here is that your Director files will remain smaller. The disadvantage, and this is a big one for my beginner students, is you'll need to keep track of this audio file if it's linked. It's not exported or published with the Director files, so you need to keep track of it. The best way to handle this is to create a folder, put all of your linked files in that folder and then make sure that that folder is attached to the project when you publish it or you take it along with you. If you're burning a CD-ROM, you'd include that folder on the CD-ROM. If you're building a web page, you would put the linked assets up on your web host, but you need to keep track of it. That's a disadvantage. Let me go ahead and import files using both settings. There's a third setting, by the way, and that is include original data for editing. This lets you edit the original sound files in Director using an associated audio editor. But if I choose link to external file and then click on the Import button, Director brings this file in and you'll notice that the icon when it's linked is a little bit different than the icon when it's a Standard Import. Let me do a standard import so we can compare the differences. File, import, let's import the exact same file. This time let's choose Standard Import options. And let's first add it down there to the list and now let's click on Import. There we go. And it bring it in. Now, you'll notice there's a little bit of a difference in the icon of the speaker that represents a sound file or an audio file. It might be easier if I look at this in List View. You may notice that there, for this second pit audio file, there's a little folded, in the upper right-hand corner, it's like a piece of paper that's folded over. That's a very subtle cue that that's a linked asset. It's not actually in the Cast Window here. The other thing you want to do after you import either as a linked or a Standard Import is to go ahead and play back the audio file. Open up the Property Inspector, select the audio file in the Cast Window and click the play button. And that'll cue it up and then start playing it. You want to make sure that it plays back here in the Property Inspector. If you have any trouble, it will definitely not play back when you place this in the Score. Let's go back and try the linked asset as well. Do this for all files as soon as you bring them in, all audio files. Just play them here in the Property Inspector and make sure the playback is ok. Let me say a few more words about the way Director handles internal sound data differently from that that's linked from an external file. Director stores all the sound data for a audio file that you import using the Standard Import method and it becomes internal into the Cast Window like this one right here, this first pit that doesn't have the folded right upper edge. It handles this sound data differently than the linked file. That would be the pit underneath it. First off, it will load the internal sound completely into RAM before playing it. After an internal sound is loaded, it plays very quickly, therefore. This makes internal sounds best for short sounds such as sound effects, beeps, and clicks, and button sounds or sounds that recur frequently in your movie. For the same reason, making a large sound file an internal sound isn't a good idea because the sound will probably use too much memory and use the memory very inefficiently. Now, in contrast to the internal sound cast members, the linked audio files are not stored in memory. Instead Director keeps a reference to the sound files location and imports the sound data each time the sound begins playing. Because the sound is never entirely loaded into RAM, the movie uses memory much more efficiently. Also, Director will stream these linked sounds. Steaming is a process where Director begins playing the sound while the rest of the sound continues to load from its source, whether on a disk or over the Internet. This can dramatically improve the downloading performance of your large music files. So linked sounds are best for longer sounds such as voice-overs or non-repeating music. So it turns out that this ability of Director to stream your large sound files is pretty important, since it will dramatically improve the downloading experience of your visitors. Director can stream the following sounds: QuickTime, Shockwave audio, MP3 sounds that are linked from a URL, as well as QuickTime, Shockwave audio, MP3, AIFF and WAV sounds that are linked to a local file. Director imports AIFF and WAV sounds, both compressed and uncompressed AU files, Shockwave audio and MP3 files. For best results, use sounds that have eight or 16-bit depth and are sampled at a rate of 44.1, 22.05 or 11.025 kilohertz. Let me now move on to the next movie and talk more about how to set your sound cast member properties using the Property Inspector.
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