Let me now review the process of streaming linked Shockwave audio and MP3 audio files with Director 11. Streaming is the process of adding the audio data to a buffer or cache until enough of the data has been stored in that memory cache so that it can play back without being interrupted. The advantage of streaming audio playback is that the user doesn't have to wait as long. They don't have to wait for the entire audio file to download before it starts to play back. Now, Director will stream only linked audio files. Linked files are not actually within the Director, the dir files, so it keeps your Director files smaller and more efficient. You will only link Shockwave audio and MP3 audio files for streaming. Director streams sounds that have been compressed with either of these two compression formats. Now, to create an external Shockwave audio file requires some special tools. Let me review that process. I'm assuming that you know how to create an MP3 file for streaming. Now, if you have the windows version of Director, you can select Extras from the Main Menu, Convert WAV to SWA and you'll notice here in this dialog that you can choose a folder for these converted files. Now because these assets are linked and they're not a part of the Director file, you need to be very careful where you're saving them. The ideal place is the same folder where this Director file resides. So to add a file for conversion, click on the Add Files button, browse to the location of your WAV file. So only work with WAV files, will not work with MP3 files. You can't covert MP3 files to Shockwave audio, but you can WAVs. Click on Open, you have a Bit Rate settings. 160 down to eight. I'm going to choose one in the middle. Accuracy Normal or High. Convert Stereo to Mono is usually a good idea and then Prompt Before Overwriting Files. I'm going to click on Convert and Director goes ahead and converts that WAV file to a Shockwave audio file, a specialty audio format. Now, if you're on the Mac, you'll need to use Peak or one of the other sound editing tools that are available in Support, Shockwave audio. You'll not be able to convert your audio files to the Shockwave audio format on the Mac. Now, I should point out that converting WAV files to the Shockwave audio format or the SWA format does not compress files that have already been compressed with the IMA technology. IMA is a compression codec that yields about four to one compression. Compare that with SWA or MP3, which is better than ten to one compression. Now, to stream a linked Shockwave audio or MP3 sound in Director, select from the Main Menu, Insert, Media Element, Shockwave audio. That'll bring up the SWA Cast Member Dialog where you can play the file. Make sure that it plays and everything sounds ok. Here is your link address. Remember; that should be in the same location as your Director file. Notice the default here is the Macromedia website. But if you click on browse, you can browse to the location of your SWA file. There's the file that I just created using my Windows version of Director 11. Select that, click on Open and notice that this link address changes. It's in my Director 11 Project Folder. I can set my volume and my sound channel. Remember that there's up to eight virtual sound channels. Now, these are not, these first two are not the physical sound channels in the Score. More on that a little bit later, but you can choose any virtual sound channel there. And then the preload time is a little bit tricky. Let me define this for you. Now, what you're doing here is you're specifying the size of the stream buffer. This is the amount of time that Director attempts to load. So the sound data will play for this specified time right here in seconds. So in other words, Director will load about 15 seconds of the audio file before it will really start to play. It will keep 15 seconds in the memory buffer. This will prevent gaps in sounds that play over slow or interruption-prone Internet connections. If you find that you're getting a lot of choppy sound, increase this number. Let us start off with the lowest number possible and then test your playback. Then Click OK. Notice that there is my SWA sound cast member. Now, you're going to make two mistakes if you make mistakes here. The first is you'll forget that although this looks as if it is a cast member, this is a linked asset and you must keep track of this stream to SWA file that this icon represents. Second mistake you'll make is that you need to, to play this back, you'll need to drag this onto one of these Sprite channels, not on one of the audio channels, dedicated audio channels here. In fact, notice that it won't even let me, Director will not let me drop this into one of the preset audio channels. Instead, this is just a Sprite place holder right there that represents the sound object that's linked, in this case, to my hard drive in the same folder as this Director file. You'll also want to extend this audio file through all the frames in which the sound should play or you can come up here to the Tempo Channel. If you don't see your Tempo area, open up the Effects section of the Score, double click on the Tempo Channel and you have a setting here, Wait for Cue Point and you'll notice that actually I've got two versions of this file there and Director picked up both of them and I can set that from next to end. So what will happen here, go ahead and delete that one, is that Director will wait right here in Frame 47 or so until this entire audio file that's being linked and streamed is finished playing. So that will conclude this section of the tutorial on Working with Audio in Director 11. That brings us to the next section of this tutorial, Using Digital Video in Your Director 11 Projects.
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