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Chapter 15. Deeper into Shockwave > Shockwave Audio (SWA)

Shockwave Audio (SWA)

Shockwave Audio (SWA) isn't part of Shockwave per se; it's a separate technology that can be incorporated not only into Shockwave movies but also into any network-savvy Director production. SWA is essentially a sound-only compression standard, which varies from other standards in that it's optimized for the demands of streaming playback from an online file (although it works just as well from disk). It offers extremely high compression rates: A SWA file can be up to 176 times smaller than the original file. But just as important, SWA files can be played back as slowly as 8K per second, which makes SWA a feasible option for low-bandwidth connections. An additional plus is the host of Lingo commands provided solely for managing SWA files.

Generally, Shockwave audio files are stored external to the movie. The movie then streams the audio when required. Internal sound, though not streamable, can also be compressed with the same Shockwave compression. This yields a smaller overall movie and decreases the download time. Streaming Shockwave and Shockwave-compressed internal sounds require different methods of implementation. The following sections cover them both.


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