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Part III: Animating with Flash > Sound: The Fifth Dimension

Chapter 13. Sound: The Fifth Dimension

by Robert Cleveland

In this chapter

Understanding Sound Formats

Using Different Sound Sources

Importing Sounds into Flash

Synchronizing Sound to Animation

Using Flash Audio in Director and QuickTime

Troubleshooting Sound

Did You Know?

Sound has been an elusive component on the Web until recently. Some early "pioneers" would load up small audio loops into their HTML pages, and these loops would often fire up well after the page loaded, and usually without warning.

Flash 5 has improved sound integration, not just over the good old HTML days, but over previous versions where, even as early as the last version, sound seemed to still be an afterthought. At the same time, Web-based audio made a quantum step forward with the introduction of the now-mainstream MP3 format very nearly part of the cultural lexicon now thanks to its popularity in distributing music with impunity online.

Alas, the world still is not a perfect place when it comes to handling music. Flash still has quirks when precise synchronization is required over a long presentation, and although MP3 has significant advantages over other formats, the same tradeoffs in size versus quality exist.

Many developers, unfortunately, don't make it to the sound chapter, opting instead for simple, looping MP3 background noise that spruces up the presentation just briefly. But that is changing. Some developers are discovering that short, well-placed audio clips that identify interactive action inside a movie, as well as small voice-overs during a presentation, can have a dramatic impact.

Handling sound in a logical and calculating manner can mean the difference between a movie that is valuable to watch and hear and end-user eyerolls that occur just before they move on.



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