Guide to Use of Sound in Director

Stephen Wilson, Conceptual/ Information Arts Program, SFSU

Sound formats

Wav is the Windows standard for recorded digital sound and is now understood by macintosh. Thus it is the most recommended for work in Director.
Aiff is the mac standard for recorded digital sound

Quicktime(mov) sound-only movies are very flexible and can be used in Director via quicktime movie controls.

Midi (mid) is the international standard for storing note based synthesized music. It is not a digitized recording but rather a sequence of note values and instrument notations which are synthesized on midi instruments.  It is highly compressed.  (Must be converted to be used in Director 8)

Mp3 is highly compressed, high quality (Must be converted to be used in Director 8)
RealAudio (ram) is a streaming format.  (It is purposely hard to capture on local computers in order to protect copyright.  It cannot be captured without specialized software)
Windows Media Player (avi) is another streaming format.

Sampling Rates and Bit Resolution

Digital sound recording can be captured at various levels of quality.  Sampling rates indicate how many snippets of the analog sound wave are captured per second.  They are measured in kilohertz (khz-thousands of samples per second)  Customary values include 11.025 khz (AM quality) , 22.050 khz(FM), and 44.100 khz (CD quality).   There is a calculable trade-off between quality and file size.  44khz samples require 4 times the file size as 11khz samples.

Sound quality is also affected by bit resolution - for example 8 or 16-bit resolution.  Bit resolution refers to how many nuances can be differentiated in each sample.  8 bit = 256 variations; 16 bit = 65,536 variations.

You can also pick whether to record in mono or stereo (2 channels)

Sampling, Composing, and Capturing Sound

Director has no sound creation capabilities except a rudimentary recording function (Insert media element).  You must either capture sound from the web (for example, public domain sound archives) or use specialized software to create and edit sound.

Sampling and editing software (for example, SoundEdit, Peak, Deck, Pro Tools, Sound Forge) include flexible tools for recording and processing sounds.  You can mix several tracks, apply filters and effects, etc.  You can then save in various formats.

Sequencing software allows you to create midi compositions by chosing notes and instrument defintiions and arranging via standard or non-standard musical notation.

Speech synthesis software allows you to convert standard ascii text into speech generated with synthesized voices.  (Requires special xtra to use in Director)

You can get sound into the computer via the microphone, the earphone output on a tape or cdplayer, or via the internal cd player in the computer.  Newer macs need special sound digitizing usb hardware to take the sound signal in.

Methods by which Director refers to sounds

Methods by which Director plays sounds

Samples of Lingo to Control Sound

These examples assume that you have imported sound into Director into cast members called "greeting" and "heartbeat" via the link to external file or direct import.  (The members could be named anything you want.  Also the examples show mouseUp scripts, the scripts could be placed anywhere Lingo goes - for example on enterFrame, etc.) Sound channels can be on any channel 1-8.  You need to keep track to where you put sounds; they are not visible in score.  8 sounds can be playing simultaneously.  If you start playing a sound in a channel that already has a sound, it will stop it and start the new one.

Play, stop, pause a sound

play a sound  (can be on any channel 1-8)

on mouseUp
    sound(1).play(member "greeting")

on mouseUp

Pause and start a sound  ( no need to specify name of sound - already determined when started playing in particular channel - picks up where paused)

on mouseEnter

on mouseLeave

Check if a sound is still playing before playing it again. Check if a sound is done before going to next section of movie.

 Check if a sound is still playing before playing it again. For example at the frame at the end of a repeating section of the movie.  Soundbusy (channel) = 0 if done or 1 if still playing

on exitFrame
    if soundbusy(2) = 0 then
         sound(2).play(member "heartbeat")
    end if

Check if a sound is done before going to next section of movie. 

on exitFrame
    if soundbusy(3) = 0 then
       go frame "section2"
        go frame "section1"
    end if

Start a new sound when sprite reaches a particular position

Check where your animation is - for example the sprite 4 has reached the right edge of the screen.  Play a new sound.  Assumes a different sound is already playing in channel 3
on exitFrame
   if sprite(4).loch > 600 then
       sound(3).member = "greeting"
   end if

Control the volume and fade-ins and outs

Change the volume of a sound to low when entering a graphic sprite - back high when leave.  Volumes can have any value 0-255

on mouseEnter
    sound(4).volume = 128

on mouseLeave
    sound(4).volume = 255


Fade a sound to a particular volume level over a certain length of time. Start playing when enter frame.  Fade to volume level 20 over 5 seconds.  (time is given in miliseconds - thousnadths of a second)

on enterFrame
   sound(6).play(member "heartbeat")
   sound(6).fadeto (20,5000)

Set the sound level for all sounds
on startMovie
  set the soundLevel = 200

Playlists. queues for sounds

You can setup a playlist.  When a sound finishes in a particular channel it will start playing the next sound.  One simple way is to use the queue command to add sounds.  A more complex way involves setting up Director lists. This is very flexible allowing particular start and end times.  (See the book for details)
Queue 3 sounds into a sound channel

on EnterFrame

Each time you stop the sound.  The next play would start the next sound.  The other advantage of queues is that there is no delay in the sounds starting. 

sound(7).play()   -- starts greeting
sound(7).stop()   -- stops greeting
sound(7).play()   -- starts heartbeat etc

Currenttime of a sound

Check where you are in a sound and do something such as change the image  Currenttime reports current time of playing sound in miliseconds.
Make various sprites visible as the sound proceeds. Assumes you have started the sound playing already in some channel.  You need to check for a range of times because the script may not executed when the sound is exactly at a particular place.  You would stretch this to the script channel in every frame of a movie section so it would be checked all the time.

on exitFrame
   set cur = sound(2).currenttime
  if cur < 2000 then sprite(11).visible = true
  if cur > 2000 and cur < 6000 then sprite(12).visible = true
  if cur > 6000 and cur < 9000 then sprite(13).visible = true

Change frequency - rateshift

Rateshift is undocumented feature that lets you change the pitch of the sounds.  the number after the rateshif parameter indicates the change from normal in semitones.  It can have value from -12 to +12.  The example would shift heartbeat to a higher pitch.
sound(1).play([#member: member("heartbeat"), #rateShift: 41]


Timing Delays in Director

Often you want short delays before the next event happens.  For example, if you flash text on the screen you must give time for the visitor to read it.  Lingo moves so quick it might not be visible.  This is the Lingo routines to introduce a delay.  It uses a function called the timer.  Once you start it, it keeps track of how many ticks (60ths of a second)  have passed.  You use a repeat while command to stop Director in a loop until the timer has gone the length of time you want.  In this example it shows sprite 4 and then waits about 90 ticks (approx 1.5 second) and then makes sprite 4 invisible and shows sprite 5.
on mouseUp
   sprite (4).visible = true
   repeat while the timer < 90
   end repeat
   sprite(4).visible = false
    sprite (5).visible = true