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Subject: Re: FLASH: Syncing Sound + other lame questions
From: Marc Hoffman
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 18:55:37 +0000 (GMT)

At 10:26 AM 11/30/98 -0500, you wrote:
>the drum track is
>4 bars that loops and the synth tracks are supposed to come in 'over' the
>drum track when a button is moused over.
>Is there anyway to sync the synth tracks to the drum track?...
>Also, what is the best way to set the drum track to loop? in a frame
>action, (on the last frame to go to frame 1) or in the sound tab (loop =
>100 etc)?...

Hi, Bill.

The correct way to loop is to use the sound tab loop feature. Looping
frames will just restart the sound, either on top of itself or, if you stop
the sound before repeating it, you will get glitches in the sound.

As for your first question, I cannot think of a way to layer a second sound
and have it sync to an already playing sound. You could create a sound
that has them both in sync, and on mouse rollover substitute that sound for
the drum track. Or, you could compose your sound tracks so the rhythm is
carried by the drums and the synths are just swells of sound that can be
layered over. They can even have internal rhythm as long as it isn't
dependent on being tightly synced to the drum track (with a good sound
editor you should at least be able to make the loops all the same length,
within a small fraction of a second). To help make the effect smoother,
after you set the number of loops in the sound tab, shape the amplitude
(double-click to add nodes to the sound wave, and drag them up or down) to
create a fade-in over the first loop or two.

For an example of this sort of sound layering, go to
http://www.jps.net/dartfrog, go to the Audio Playground, click on the
ying-yang symbol (which will start the rhythm track) and then, once the
flute player appears, click on him, too. The flute plays over the rhythm
track and sounds okay, but to get the rhythms really tight, the user must
learn when to click on the flute (there's about a 1/2-beat delay between
mouseclick and the sound starting).

Part of the problem is that you can't count on frames to play at a constant
rate; it varies on graphic content and processor power. So if you put a
2-second sound in a 10fps timeline, it won't necessarily play in 20 frames,
but sound will always play at its original pitch and speed. Theoretically,
if two sounds of the same length are started at the same time, they should
be in sync, but I wouldn't count on that, either. Sound management is
definitely not Flash's greatest strength.

As for file size, use the shortest sounds you can get away with, sampled as
low as 11kHz if the quality will hold up, at 8-bit if possible (more likely
you'll need 16-bit and/or 22kHz), definitely keep it mono (use sound
properties amplitude controls to move sounds within the stereo field), and
then loop those sounds. As with other symbols, the number of loops and
instances of the same sound does not add appreciably to file size, but
every second of a new sound symbol adds a lot of bytes.

For a non-Flash solution, you could create your sounds in midi, embed them
in their own html pages, and have Flash load those pages (Get URL) into an
invisible frame that would play them. Jim Curry makes great use of this:
http://home.twcny.rr.com/jcurry/fsopen.html. The trick there would be to
make sure the midi files were present when needed (I'm not sure how to load
a midi file without having it play; I imagine there's a way). MIDI files
are tiny compared to .wav and .aiff.

Hope this helps. Send a URL when it's ready for visitors!

Marc Hoffman
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  FLASH: Syncing Sound + other lame questi, william myers

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