Editing Audio in Flash Flash

Although Flash was never intended to perform as a full-featured sound editor, it does a remarkable job with basic sound editing. If you plan to make extensive use of sound in Flash, we recommend that you consider investing in a more robust sound editor. You’ll have fewer limitations and greater control over your work.

Sound editing controls in Flash
Flash has basic sound editing controls in the Editing Envelope control, which is accessed by clicking the Edit button of the Sound panel. (As you may recall from previous sections, you must first select the keyframe containing the sound, and then open the Sound Panel by choosing Window➪Panels➪Sound.) The Time In control and the Time Out control, or Control Bars, in the Editing Envelope enable you to change the In (start) and Out (end) points of a sound, and the Envelope Handles are used to create custom Fade-in and Fade-out effects.

Setting the In and Out points of a sound
A sound’s In point is where the sound starts playing, and a sound’s Out point is where the sound finishes. The Time In control and the Time Out control are used for setting or changing a sound’s In and Out points. Here’s how to do this:

  1. Start by selecting the keyframe of the sound you want to edit, and then access the Sound Panel, either from the menu by choosing Window➪Panels➪Sound, or from the contextual menu, with a right-click/Ctrl+click on the keyframe.
  2. Open the Edit Envelope dialog, shown in Figure below, by clicking the Edit button of the Sound panel.
  3. Drag the Time In control and Time Out control (located in the horizontal strip between the two channels) onto the timeline of the sound’s waveform in order to define or restrict which section will play.
  4. Use the Envelope Handles to edit the sound volume, by adding handles and dragging them up or down to modulate the volume.
  5. Click the Play button to hear the sound as edited before returning to the authoring environment. Then, rework the sound if necessary. When you’ve finessed the points and are satisfied with the sound, click OK to return to the Sound Panel. Then return to the Movie Editor and save your work.

Applying effects from the Effect pop-up of the Sound Panel
You can apply a handful of preset fades and other effects to a sound by selecting the effect from the Effect pop-up of the Sound Panel. (For many uses, the Flash presets will be more than sufficient, but if you find yourself feeling limited, remember that more subtle effects can be created in an external sound editor.) Flash’s preset effects are described in detail here:

  • None: No effect is applied to either of the sound channels.
  • Left Channel/Right Channel: Plays only the right or left channel of a stereo sound.
  • Fade Left to Right/Fade Right to Left: This effect lowers the sound level of one channel while raising the level of the other, creating a Panning effect. This effect occurs over the entire length of the sound.
  • The sound-editing tools and options of the Edit Envelope, which is accessed from the new Sound panel.

    sound-editing tools and options of the Edit Envelope, which is accessed from the new Sound panel.

  • Fade In/Fade Out: Fade In gradually raises the level of the beginning of a sound clip. Fade Out gradually lowers the level at the end of a sound. The default length for either effect is approximately 25 percent of the length of the clip. We’ve noticed that even if the size of the selection is edited with the control bars, the duration of the Fade In/Fade Out will remain the same.(Thus, a 35-second sound clip with an original default Fade In time of 9 seconds, still has a 9-second Fade In time even when the selection’s length is reduced to, say, 12 seconds.) This problem can be resolved by creating a Custom Fade.
  • Custom: Any time you manually alter the levels or audio handles on this screen, Flash automatically resets the Effect menu to Custom.

Creating a custom Fade In or Fade Out
For maximum sound-editing control within Flash, use the envelope handles to create a custom fade or to lower the audio levels (or amplitude) of a sound. In addition to creating custom fades, the levels can be lowered creatively to create subtle, low-volume background sounds. Here’s how:

  1. Select the keyframe of the sound you want to edit.
  2. Access the Sound Panel by either (a) right-clicking/Ctrl+clicking the selected frame and choosing Panels➪Sound from the ensuing contextual pop-up, or (b) proceeding from the menu with Window➪Panels➪Sound.
  3. Click the Edit button of the Sound Panel to open the Edit Envelope control. Click the envelope lines at any point to create new envelope handles.
  4. After handles have been created, you can drag them around to create your desired volume and fading effects. The lines indicate the relative volume level of the sound. When you drag an envelope handle down, the line slopes down, indicating a decrease in the volume level, while dragging an envelope handle up has the opposite effect. The Edit Envelope control is limited to eight envelope handles per channel (eight for left and eight for right).

Other controls in the Edit Envelope control
Other useful tools in the Sound tab warrant mention. See below for their locations.

  • Zoom In/Zoom Out: These tools either enlarge or shrink the view of the waveform, and are particularly helpful when altering the In or Out points or envelope handles.
  • Seconds/Frames: The default for viewing sound files is to represent time in seconds. But viewing time in frames is advantageous for syncing sound with the Stream option. Toggle between viewing modes by clicking either the Seconds or Frames button at the lower right of the Edit Envelope control.

The Loop control
This control appears on the Sound panel, yet a measure of its functionality occurs in conjunction with the Edit Envelope control. The Loop numeric entry field is used to set the number of times that a sound file will loop (or repeat). A small looping selection, such as a break beat or jazz riff can be used for a background soundtrack. A short ambient noise can also be looped for an interesting effect. To test the quality of a looping selection, click the Edit button, which will take you to the Edit Envelope control where you can click the Play button for a preview of your loop. If the loop isn’t perfect, or has hiccups, use the Control Bars and envelope handles to trim or taper off a blank or adversely repeating section

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