Recording in sync

Add sync sound (synchronized sound recording) to your projects by narrating the movie into a microphone as you record it. The movie is recorded in the stereo format.

Recording equipment

Having the right audio equipment makes a big difference in the quality of recorded audio.

Computer with sound card
The sound card installed with your computer acts as a digital recorder for audio.

If possible, avoid using the inexpensive microphone packaged with your computer. Also, use a proper microphone cable and a stand to hold the microphone while you are recording.

Microphone preamplifier
A preamplifier boosts the signal of the microphone. The microphone input of your sound card probably includes a preamplifier, but it is most likely of poor quality. When purchasing a preamplifier, you can choose a small mixer or a stand-alone version. Mixers let you connect several microphones and devices to one location and adjust their volumes independently. Stand-alone preamplifiers are considered better than mixers at filtering out unwanted noises.

 The speakers that came with your computer are probably good enough for recording purposes. You can change some of your speaker settings if required. However, if you are working on a laptop, use standard desktop computer speakers instead of the built-in laptop speakers.
Note: In Microsoft Windows, the speaker settings are located in the Control Panel.

Headphones are important because when the microphone is on, speakers can cause distracting feedback. Additionally, it is best to use closed-ear headphones that prevent leaking sound (which can be picked up by the microphone).

Media players
Any software that can play audio files on your system.

Recording software
A wide range of recording software is available. Important software features include editing functionality (to fix mistakes), music and sound effect options, and the capability to create the file format you require (such as mp3 or WAV).

Recording area
After you have acquired the necessary audio equipment, the most important action you can take before recording is an obvious one: find a quiet place to record. Try closing doors, turning off any unnecessary computer equipment, turning off or lowering lights, turning off phone ringers, beepers, and pagers. Inform your coworkers that recording is in progress.

Tips for recording audio

Follow these tips to ensure that you are recording the highest quality audio possible.

After you have acquired the necessary audio recording equipment, ensure that it is set up properly. First, plug your microphone into your mixer or preamplifier, and then plug the output of that device into your computer sound card's “line in.” Plug your headphones into your computer. Then, set the volume on your mixer or preamplifier. Begin speaking to test the volume levels, and carefully raise the volume until it shows just under zero.

Sound card settings
Open the software application that controls the sound card. The sound settings are located in the Control Panel. Select the recording source (Line In) and adjust the volume to 100%.

You control the actual recording level with your mixer or preamplifier.

Audio recording software settings
Start your audio recording software. Change the settings as necessary. Note that mixers and preamplifiers do not have sound-level controls, so you rely on the meters when recording. While recording, ensure that you do not exceed zero on the meters, or the sound will be distorted.

Microphone placement
Positioning your microphone correctly can make a big difference in the finished audio file. First, get close to the microphone (within 4 to 6 inches), so any other nearby sounds have less chance of being recorded. Don't speak down to the microphone; instead, position it above your nose and pointed down at your mouth. Finally, position the microphone slightly to the side of your mouth, because this can help soften the sound of the letters S and P.

Microphone technique
Have a glass of water nearby so you can avoid “dry mouth.” Before recording, turn away from the microphone, take a deep breath, exhale, take another deep breath, open your mouth, turn back toward the microphone, and start speaking. This trick can eliminate breathing and lip-smacking sounds frequently recorded at the beginning of audio tracks. Speak slowly and carefully. You may feel that you are speaking artificially slowly, but you should be able to adjust the speed later by using your audio recording software. Finally, bear in mind that you don't have to get everything right the first time. You can listen and evaluate each recording and rerecord if required.

Audio editing
Editing sound is similar to editing text. Listen carefully to your recording. Delete any extraneous sounds and then use the options available in your software to polish the track. Add any music or sound effects you require. Make sure you save your audio track in the correct format (mp3 or WAV files).

Adding audio files to Adobe Captivate
When you are finished recording the audio file, add it to the Adobe Captivate project.

Additional feedback
After you add the audio to the Adobe Captivate project, listen to it again. Play the project as users normally would. Finally, ask others to preview the Adobe Captivate SWF/audio file. If necessary, edit the audio file again.

Set audio recording preferences

Audio files present the common challenge of balancing quality against size. The higher the sound quality, the larger the file size. The more you compress a sound and the lower the sampling rate, the smaller the size and lower the quality. Adobe Captivate lets you control the way sound is recorded and compressed based upon your input and output requirements.

Creating audio in Adobe Captivate is essentially a two-part process. You record audio in WAV format, and then Adobe Captivate converts the WAV file into an mp3 file. When files are in WAV format, they have a degree of flexibility. You can edit and adjust them “downward,” compressing them into mp3 files uniquely tailored to their playback scenario.

When working with audio, keep your users in mind. If a user is likely to access the Adobe Captivate project by using a dial-up modem, use a higher compression/lower sampling rate, such as 56 Kbps. However, if you are distributing the project on a CD-ROM, you can use a lower compression/higher sampling rate, such as 144 Kbps. In the best development case, experiment to find the optimal balance between sound quality and file size for your users.

Using Adobe Captivate, you can record an audio file for a single slide, group of slides, or for the entire project.

Note: For slides with unique audio files, the Timeline of the slide is stretched to meet that of the audio file. However, audio files for a project are cut short if they exceed the project Timeline.
  1. In an open project, select Audio > Record.

  2. In the Record Audio dialog box, configure the following according to your preferences:
    Record the audio file for the entire project.

    This Slide
    Record the audio file for the selected slide.

    Record the audio file for a group of slides starting with the selected one. To finish defining the range of slides included in the group, enter a slide number in the To field of the Record Audio dialog box.

    Movie Preview
    The recording window displays a Preview panel where you can view the project as the audio gets recorded.

    Continuous Play
    Select this option if you want the file to play until the end of all the selected slides or the end of the project.

    Preview Pane
    You can preview the slides as they are being recorded in this panel.

    Captions and Slide Notes
    Use these options when you want to record voice-over narration that matches the caption text or slide note text. Read aloud the text that you have added to these areas when recording audio.

    Record New Audio
    Click to begin recording audio.

    Play Audio
    Click Play Audio to play the audio file after you have completed the recording.

    Stop Audio
    Click Stop Audio to stop playing the audio file.

    Edit Audio
    Click to open the Edit Audio dialog box, which lets you make the following changes to the audio file:
    • Select portions of the audio file and copy them.

    • Delete portions of the audio file.

    • Insert silence.

    • Export to podcast to save the file in WAV or mp3 format.

    Click to open the Audio Settings dialog box, which lets you set recording device and audio quality.

    Input Devices
    Specifies the type of device you are using to create audio. The options available in your computer are listed in the menu.

    Encoding Bitrate
    In the Encoding Bitrate area, you can select the bitrate at which audio encoding must be performed. Select one of the following options based on the audio encoding quality you require:
    CD Bitrate (128 Kbps)
    Specifies the amount of audio information (in Kbps) that will be stored per second of a recording, which is of CD quality.

    Near CD Bitrate (96 Kbps)
    Specifies the amount of audio information (in Kbps) that will be stored per unit second of a recording, which is of a near-CD quality. By default, this option is selected.

    FM Radio Bitrate (64 Kbps)
    Specifies the amount of audio information (in Kbps) that will be stored per second of a recording, which is of FM radio quality.

    Custom Bitrate
    Specifies the amount of audio information that will be stored per second of a recording, which is of a user-defined quality. You can drag the slider bar to set the required bitrate.

    Encoding Frequency
    The sampling frequency that is used when the audio file is published. Encoding frequency is the sampling rate of the audio file. The higher the frequency, the better is the quality of the published audio file. However, the increase in quality also results in an increase in the size of the audio file. For normal audio files, a lower frequency might not change the quality of the audio file significantly. However, for higher quality audio files, like those for music, a higher encoding frequency is desirable.

    Note that the encoding frequency does not affect the file that is recorded. Adobe Captivate records and stores all audio files using the encoding frequency of 44.100 KHz.

    Encoding Speed
    The speed at which the encoder converts the WAV file to an mp3 file. Higher encoding speeds might reduce the quality of the final output. The speed of publishing the project might increase when you choose a higher encoding speed.

    Calibrate Audio Input
    Click to display the Calibrate Audio Input dialog box. You are prompted to read a sentence into the recording device if you are using a microphone. Adobe Captivate uses the sample recording to detect optimal recording sensitivity levels. It is important to calibrate your recording device for optimal sound quality.

    Fade In and Fade Out
    Set a time, in seconds, for the audio file to fade in and fade out at the beginning and end of the project.

    Lower Background Audio Volume On Slides With Additional Audio
    Automatically reduces the background audio volume on slides that have individual audio files assigned, such as voice-over narration.

    Loop Audio
    The background audio file replays continuously.

    Stop Audio At End Of Project
    Stops the background audio when the project ends.

Calibrate microphone

If you are recording audio for a project, you must set the microphone or recording device to the correct recording level. This process is called calibrating the recording device. Adobe Captivate can detect optimal microphone and recording sensitivity levels automatically.

Note: Adobe Captivate must be able to detect a recording device before trying to calibrate. Check that a microphone or recording device using “line in” is connected to your computer properly and is turned on before calibrating.
  1. In an open project, select Audio > Settings.

  2. Click Calibrate Audio Input.

  3. To set the correct recording device level, read the following sentence into the microphone until the red recording window becomes green:

    “I am setting my microphone recording level for use with Adobe Captivate.”

  4. When you finish, click OK.

Record audio

If you have a microphone connected to your computer, you can record audio to be included on a slide. You can use audio for many types of narration or instruction.

  1. In an open project, select Audio > Record from the main menu, and select one of the available options: This Slide, Project, or Slide.

  2. If you want to set recording options, click Settings and make the necessary changes. Depending on the type of recording (voice-over, music, and so on) and the desired playback (within an EXE file, over the Internet, and so on), you may need to adjust audio settings.

  3. (Optional) If you have created text captions or slide notes that can be used as a script, add them to the fields in the Captions and Slide Notes tabs.

  4. Click Record New Audio to begin recording.

  5. Speak into the microphone or recording device. Or, if you are using a line-in device (such as a CD) or a system file, run the file you want to record.

  6. When you finish, click Stop Audio.

    The audio is converted to mp3 format.

  7. Click Play Audio to listen to the recording.

  8. (Optional) If you want to add silence or adjust the volume for the audio file, click Edit Audio and use the options to change the settings.

  9. When you finish, click OK.

Record audio while creating a project

Adobe Captivate lets you record an audio track at the same time you record a new Adobe Captivate project. This can be a very efficient way to create a full-featured project quickly.

The following procedure describes how to record audio while creating an Adobe Captivate project about an application.

  1. Open the application you want to record. (You must do this before recording.)

  2. Prepare your recording equipment.

  3. Open Adobe Captivate.

  4. Select File > New > Project.

  5. In the New Project dialog box, select the Record tab.

  6. Do the following:
    • Select a recording mode

    • Select the window you would like to record

    • Customize the other available options.

  7. In the recording window, select the type of recording, and choose the type of audio input from the Audio menu.

  8. Click Record New Audio.

    If this is the first time you are recording audio, a dialog box appears asking if you would like to test audio levels. Click Yes to calibrate the recording device for optimal recording. Follow the instructions and when you finish, click OK.

  9. As you record the project, speak into your microphone or recording device to create an audio sound track. For example, you can explain the actions you are taking or read the text on captions.

  10. When you finish recording, press the End key (or other designated key) to stop recording.

    The slides are generated and your new project appears in Storyboard view. The audio files you recorded are assigned to the correct slide and saved as individual mp3 files. You can view the files in the Library.

    Note: If you need to pause the recording process, press the Pause/Break key. To restart project recording, press the Pause/Break key again.

Record audio for objects

You can record an audio file to use with buttons, highlight boxes, click boxes, or text entry boxes. Recording audio requires some basic equipment.

Note: You can also add existing audio to text entry boxes, captions, slides, slidelets, and so on.
  1. Right-click the object to which you want to add audio, and select Properties.

  2. Select the Audio tab.

  3. Click Record New Audio .

  4. When you finish recording, click Stop Audio.

  5. To listen to and test the audio file, click Play Audio.