Synchronizing Audio to Animations Flash

In film editor’s lingo, to synchronize, or sync, means to precisely match picture to sound. It’s a conjunction of the Greek words syn, meaning with, and chronos, meaning time. In Flash, sound is synchronized to the visual content of the timeline. Flash sync affords several options for the manner in which the audio component is related to animation on the timeline. Each of these sync options is appropriate for particular uses, which are discussed in the following section.

Types of sound synchronization in Flash
The Sync options on the Sound Panel control the behavior of sound in Flash, relative to the timeline in which the sound is placed. The Sync option you choose will depend on whether your sound is intended to add dimension to a complex multimedia presentation or to add interactivity in the form of button-triggered sound, or whether it is intended to be the closely timed sound track of an animated cartoon.

  • Event: Event is the default Sync option for all sounds in Flash, so unless you change this default to one of the other options, the sound will automatically behave as an Event sound. Event sounds begin contemporaneously with the keyframe in which they occur, and then play independently of the timeline. If an event sound is longer than the timeline movie, it will continue to play even though the movie has stopped. If an Event sound requires considerable time to load, the movie will pause at that keyframe until the sound has loaded completely. Event sounds are the easiest to implement, and are useful for background soundtracks and other sounds that don’t need to be synced. Event is the default Sync setting in Sound Panel.
  • Start: The Start Sync option is similar to an Event sound, but with one crucial difference: If it’s already playing, a sound that is assigned the Start option will stop and begin over again. A good example of the utility of this option is buttons. Suppose you have three identical buttons that play the same two-second sound on the mouseover. In practice, the sound will begin when any button is moused over. When a second or third button is moused over, the sound will play again with each mouseover.
  • Stop: The Stop Sync option is similar to the Start Sync option, except that the selected sound stops playing when the Sync event occurs. The Stop Sync option can also be used to stop a specific sound.
  • Stream: Stream sounds are similar to a traditional track in a video-editing application. A Stream sound locks to the timeline, and is given priority over visual content. When Stream sound is chosen, the Flash player attempts to pace the animation in sync with the sound. However, when animations either get too complex or are run on slower machines, Flash will skip or drop the frames as needed to stay in sync with the Stream sound. A Stream sound will stop once the animation ends (at the end of the timeline) or, more specifically, when the playback head reaches the last frame that includes the waveform of the streamed sound. A Stream sound can be scrubbed; by dragging the Playhead along the timeline, the Stream sound will play in direct relationship to the content as it appears, frame by frame. This is especially useful for lipsynch and coordinating the perfect timing of sound effects with visual events.

To use sound effectively, it’s important to understand how stream sounds work. When the Sync option for a sound is set to Stream, on export or publish, Flash breaks the sound into chunks that are tied to the timeline. Although this is transparent to you, it is nearly the equivalent of breaking a single sound file into many separate files and adding them to the timeline as individual pieces but that would be a lot of work. Luckily, Flash does this for you.

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